A much-needed win for the Buffalo Bills came today in South Beach against the Miami Dolphins, shutting them out 35-0.
The Bills defense stymied the Dolphins all day and consistently pummeled both Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett into submission. While the offense struggled to find consistency, they did enough to keep Miami behind the eight-ball at all times, at no point were the Dolphins in control of this game.
Below we’ll take a look at what was the most inspiring aspect of the game, the part that has some questions that need to be inquired, the player that requires a better performance moving forward, and the part of the game that was the most irksome.
Inspire: Bills’ pass rush
After two sacks of Tua Tagovailoa, and a devastating hit from AJ Epenesa that knocked him out of the game with bruised ribs, the Bills kept backup QB Jacoby Brissett under siege for the rest of the game. Pressure after pressure from every part of the Bills defense.
Rookie Greg Rousseau had his first two sacks of his NFL career, Taron Johnson started the game with a sack, with Micah Hyde ending that same series with a sack of his own to force a three and out. Both Matt Milano and Justin Zimmer notched a sack each, and Epenesa came with pressure all day long.
After a 2020 season where the Bills often struggled to get any sort of consistent pass rush, the start for 2021 could not be more different. The investments of the last two years for the defensive line are starting to pay off. Matt Milano and Taron Johnson also deserve to be mentioned as they both played lights out in the entire game. After the game, Jordan Poyer didn’t need to be asked a question about Taron Johnson, all he heard was his name and immediately responded with “he’s a dog”. The Bills’ starting Nickel CB had a great game.
Inquire: Bills’ OL
A much better performance from the offensive line this week as they kept Josh Allen clean through most of the day, but questions still remain. Dion Dawkins had a hold on a ticky-tack call, but the Dolphins ultimately didn’t have the pressure from anywhere to make life difficult for Allen and the offense as a whole. The Bills should feel more confident about the OL moving forward with this performance in terms of pass protection, but the run game was up and down, as they struggled to create holes for Singletary and Moss. Consistency is key for an OL, it’s why the Bills opted to keep all their starters from last year, but the lack of urgency to upgrade potential problem spots on the interior might lead to continued inconsistencies in the run game in 2021.
Require: Josh Allen
While a much more calm and collected performance from Allen in Week 2, there are still questions about his performance. Allen came out hot, delivering a 35-yard dime to Emmanuel Sanders early, but struggled to connect on much after that during the first half. The Bills came out firing out of halftime, ending their first series with an excellent throw to Dawson Knox for a TD to make it a three-score game. But Allen finished with less than 200 yards passing, despite better protection from his OL.
While the Dolphins have a strong pair of CBs, the Bills have more than enough options to find answers to whatever the Dolphins throw at them. While no one should be hitting the panic button yet, and Allen certainly played better than he did in Week 1, there are simply questions to be had about the consistency of his performance to start 2021, especially for someone who has MVP aspirations, and for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
It’s hard to find too many particularly irksome things about a 35-0 win over a division opponent, but the turnovers are always something to be concerned about. The INT to Xavien Howard was unfortunate, but Howard is particularly adept at finding the ball, and it was a tough INT to make. The more concerning aspect is the fumbles from the RBs. Singletary had a fumble that took a fortunate bounce out of bounds, but Moss lost his fumble early in the first quarter when Miami certainly had a chance to make plays and get back in the game. The Bills defense prevented that from happening, but turnovers will always keep an opponent, even inferior ones, in a game. Against better teams, the Bills have to be more careful with the ball.
Special mention to Fox color analyst Matt Millen here as well, as he was absolutely miserable calling the game today, including having no idea how or why Josh Allen’s rushing TD was called back.
This was a much-needed win after a miserable loss to the Steelers last week, and the Bills should feel great moving forward with their defense going against a Washington Football Team that is starting a feisty, but limited, Taylor Heinicke at QB. Hopefully the Bills offense can find more consistency, even though it faces a tough test against fierce Washington front next week,