In the analysis of Sunday’s playoff matchup between the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills, the forecasted “players of the game” won’t surprise anyone. The Bills have a laundry list of players that will draw most of the attention, such as quarterback Josh Allen, wider receiver Stephon Diggs, and linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano. It may take a while to get to Bills tight end Dawson Knox, but he presents one of the tougher matchups the Dolphins will face Sunday.
The Dolphins’ defense is one of the worst in the NFL at defending the tight end position, ranking 29th in the league and allowing 5.82 catches, 57.06 yards, and 0.59 touchdowns per game. Knox is one of the best tight ends in the league, catching 48 passes for 517 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 10.8 yards per catch. When Knox faced the Dolphins in Week 15, he tallied six catches for 98 yards and a score. The only tight end to have better games against the Dolphins than Knox was Baltimore’s Mark Andrews, who recorded nine catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Knox isn’t the only tight end the Miami defense has to account for. Quintin Morris, a second-year player from Bowling Green, only had one catch against the Dolphins, but it was a big one. Early in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins led the Bills 29-21. Allen hit Morris on a corner route for a touchdown, the first of his career. After the Bills got the 2-point conversion, it was 29-29. The Bills would go on to win that game, and the play of their tight ends was a big reason why.
Morris’ stat is uninspiring — eight catches, 84 yards, one touchdown — but the Dolphins will likely be preoccupied with all the other weapons the Bills have, which could lead the Bills’ second option at tight end sneaking by the defense and making a huge play.
The moral of the story is: don’t sleep on the tight ends. Allen and Diggs may be more fun to talk about, but the tight end matchup is lining up to be a major factor in Sunday’s game.