Bills @ Dolphins: Highs and Lows

First, a guessing game.  Total yards: Bills 415 Dolphins 175.  1st Downs: Bills 24 Dolphins 15.  I can keep going if you’d like.  If you didn’t see the game you’d think the Bills routed the Dolphins.  Sadly, they were on the wrong end of the 21-17 loss in Miami.  One stat I didn’t give you was Turnovers.  That one was Bills 3 Dolphins 1, and that played a huge role in the result.  Naturally, there weren’t a lot of highs from the loss today but the few are ones that you can hang your hat on.  Let’s take a look.

Highs

Josh Allen
The big ticket item, the one we all came to see.  I considered not putting him on the high list today, to be honest.  He left a lot of throws out there.  He missed two would-be TD throws (one to Jones and one to Foster).  The Bills ended up with a FG and a missed FG on those drives that included the two throws, so that is 11 points left out there.  But at the same time, every time Allen missed a throw he would come right back with a dart.   Both of his touchdown passes were beauties.  Last week I was disappointed that Allen fell under 100 yards rushing after the two kneel downs at the end of the game thinking that he might not get another chance at it.  Silly me.  135 rushing yards today for Allen, averaging 15 yards per rush.  The best rushing game of the year for a Bills player belongs to Josh Allen.  As far as the last play goes…it could have been a better ball, but that is not a scrub on the other side of that route.  Clay needs to come down with that.  As McDermott mentioned, if they have a chance to win the game, they need to win the game.

Zay Jones
The coming out party for Jones continued down in South Beach.  Jones made great catches at some important times for the Bills, including his 2 touchdown grabs.  There is some serious chemistry brewing between the Bills young WR and the Bills rookie QB.  Jones is one of the only bright spots for this weak receiving group.  Let’s hope that he can build on this success going forward and be a big part of this offense for years to come.

Matt Milano
The young linebacker seems to show up every week.  This week he had 8 tackles, 2 of them for loss.  He also added 1 hit on Tannehill.  Milano is quickly becoming one of the anchors for this defense and he will be there for years to come.  He is quick to diagnose plays and is often in the backfield.  His one blip was a questionable pass interference call.

Lows

Penalties
Here we go again with the penalties.  The Bills aren’t good enough to overcome penalties.  But yet…they were one drop away from overcoming them today.  Like I said last week, when Rex Ryan was the coach people were screaming that discipline was an issue.  Well, it clearly still is.  The issues mainly are up front.  Wyatt Teller especially had a rough day with 3 holding penalties to his name.  The lack of talent up front was on display today in the name of penalties.  Only 4 weeks remain for the Bills to get this straightened out.

Referees
I present to you, Exhibit A:

I present to you, Exhibit B:

Josh Allen is not going to get calls from the refs.  Let’s be honest, hit to the helmet, hands to the face and roughing the passer applies to the Bradys and Rodgers of the world, not to the Josh Allen’s.  Maybe someday.

Offensive Line
Too many penalties from this unit and not enough holes for the running backs.  When Shady did get his yards he was bouncing outside.  The loss of Bodine early clearly impacted this unit as they were forced to go back to their disappointing opening day starter of Groy.   Aside from the WR unit, I am looking forward to Beane overhauling this unit in the offseason, it certainly is required.

Special Teams
Nothing special about this unit.  Maybe changing punters four times in one year isn’t the best idea considering it has an impact on more than just hangtime, such as holding for kicks.  A missed extra point, a missed field goal, a muffed punt, a half blocked punt, and a weekly block in the back penalty.  Another bad day for Danny Crossman’s unit.  I have been on the fire Danny Crossman train long before it even left the station.  Gotta do it McDermott!  What was up with Isaiah McKenzie today?  Literally tripping over himself on returns?  It was his first bad day at the office.  Looking forward to seeing him rebound next week.

Jerry Hughes
Jerry earned this down is for this postgame reaction, which was caught on tape.  Regardless of if the referee in question did what Jerry is accusing him of, under no circumstances can you handle yourself like this.  I cannot imagine McDermott, or the league, will take well to Hughes verbally threatening a referee after the game.

Final Thoughts

This was a tough one to swallow for fans, and I can imagine it was a tough one to swallow in the locker room.  Remember last weekend when the Bills and Sabres could not lose?  Oh happy day.  But there was a lot to be happy with today, in both games since returning from injury Josh Allen has shown considerable growth in many areas that are essential to his development.  In 10 years, will we remember that Charles Clay dropped a TD pass on the last play of the game and the Bills are now sitting at 4-8 instead of 5-7?  Probably not.  We will be talking about the next amazing thing that Josh Allen just did with his arm…or apparently his legs.

Bonus:  Check out this amazing reaction from Brian Daboll that I posted after the game.

 

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