Buffalo Slides By Miami Despite Defensive Struggles

The Bills survive… The Dolphins? How did Miami stick around and what went wrong for Buffalo?

In what was certainly the defense’s worst performance of the season, the Buffalo Bills prevailed at home, beating the Dolphins 31-21, pushing their record to 5-1. The defense, which is usually a strong suit for Buffalo seemed a little too relaxed coming out of the bye, as they allowed a handful of big plays. Normally a few big plays here and there would not be the biggest deal for the Bills, but QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was having one his patented “Fitzmagic” games and the Bill’s defense could not seem to get a handle on him. The Bills did not want to be the first team to lose to the winless Dolphins who seem to be on a straight path to an 0-16 season with a guaranteed shot at the first overall pick in next year’s draft. Let’s look at what did and did not go Buffalo’s way on Sunday.

Solid Outing For Allen

For the first time in quite a while, the Bills offense looked better than the defense. Of course, everyone was quick to say the whole team was playing poorly when the Bills were down 14-9 at the half. Oddly enough though, if you go back and look at it, Josh Allen played great through the first two quarters with no turnovers or poor decisions. The second-year QB looked sharp the entire game but the offense got stopped short of the redzone three times in the first half, resulting in three field goals. At the rate the Dolphins were playing unusually good football, field goals were not going to be enough to prevent the upset and the Bills needed points. Allen provided by giving John Brown his second touchdown of the season and had another half of football without a turnover.

Missing Milano

It would be outrageous to say that LB Matt Milano is not important to this defense. Milano, nursing a hamstring injury, sat out against the Dolphins and showed Buffalo just how important he is. Buffalo’s run defense was so porous without him, that Milano could have gotten a contract extension solely off this visible void in the defense. Milano is the proven backbone of this defense and will hopefully assume his role as the starter when the Eagles come to town.

Tre Day

The Bills defense looked a lot tougher in the second half, specifically cornerback Tre’Davious White. White stopped a touchdown drive that would have put the Dolphins up 21-9 with a goal-line interception. Later in the half, White forced a fumble and also tallied five tackles in the game. That performance was enough to lead the Bills to victory and earn himself the AFC Defensive Player of the Week award.

Special Teams, Special Play

Miami played an excellent game and Fitzpatrick brought his squad within three, the score standing at 24-21 with only minutes left in the game. Attempting the onside kick, Jason Sanders sent a decent kick towards the Bills front line. Buffalo safety, Micah Hyde made an acrobatic leap to not only catch the ball but turn and run past every defender returning it for the game-sealing score.

Land Eagles Land

The Bills host the 3-4 Philadelphia Eagles this weekend and it will be a tough gritty game. The Eagles are banged-up, missing several of their best players but have enough studs to pull off a win. The Eagles have lost two in a row and this game is a must-win to avoid their third consecutive loss. Buffalo will have to be rolling on all cylinders to pull off the gutsy win this weekend.

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