Dolphins: Running into Buffalo
By Sean Denison
The last time the Miami Dolphins played the Buffalo Bills they got routed 41-14; Miami’s defense allowed Tyrod Taylor to resemble Joe Montana that day. And, once again, had Rex Ryan laughing along the way to another victory over the Dolphins.
Thus far, the Dolphins have proven that they’re the weakest link in the AFC East. In fact, in their three games against division opponents, Miami has been destroyed, being outscored 104-35. In all three of the contests, Miami was outplayed, out-coached, and handed an early deficit too great to overcome.
By every measure, this upcoming game in Buffalo is paramount for the Dolphins. In truth, you can say the same for a Buffalo Bills team who has just recently lost to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars, and have lost three out of their last four games.
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To the victor go the spoils. The Sunday winner’s season remains alive; the loser can pretty much guarantee a comfy spot on the couch come playoff time. The Dolphins—who are already 0-3 in the division, simply can’t afford a loss against another division opponent. In order for Miami to come away with a victory Sunday, they must regain the swagger they demonstrated in their two blowout victories against the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans.
Unfortunately for Miami, this game is in Buffalo and Tyrod Taylor returns under center for the Bills. As mentioned previously, the Dolphins made Taylor look like an elite passer last time they squared off in Miami earlier in the season.
But recently, both teams have been down different paths: the Dolphins—despite being crushed by the Patriots last Thursday night—have been given a little pep in their step with new interim coach Dan Campbell, and the Bills—beginning to take on their head coach Rex Ryan’s chaotic personality—have fallen deeper and deeper into the realization that, they too, are in desperation mode.
It’ll be interesting to see what game plan Miami comes up with against a Bills defense that is known for being aggressive and always gives the Dolphins headaches. The Bills rank sixth against the run and 20th against the pass. So, to simplify matters, Miami must attack Buffalo’s weakness. However, there’s a problem: it’s been proven that the Dolphins don’t have the personnel—i.e. Ryan Tannehill—to rely heavily on the passing game.
Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
As has been proven, in order to be successful, Miami’s offense must be balanced and rely heavily on their running game. Last week, the Dolphins completely abandoned the running game and we saw what happened—an inept passing attack.
To complicate matters, Miami will be without their starting right tackle Ja’Wuan James and will have to rely on backup Jason Fox. Although Fox isn’t as talented as James, he has performed on this stage before and has grown well accustomed to adversity.
Football takes intelligence, but it’s not rocket science. Miami has to run the football in order to win games. Running the ball eats up the clock, tires out defenses, and most importantly, open’s up play-action. When Miami runs, they win. When Lamar Miller get’s his touches, Miami wins. It’s that simple.
By all means, if rookie punter Matt Darr has to be MVP of this game, so be it. Unfortunately, the odds are more favorable if Miami puts the game in the hands of a rookie punter who can pin the opposition into bad field position, rather than their “franchise quarterback.”