The last time we saw this Buffalo Bills team was on Monday Night Football where they suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Tennessee Titans. This was two weeks ago though, as last week they had their bye week. Looking back to last year right before the bye, the Bills suffered another heartbreaking loss to the Arizona Cardinals and when they came back from it they went undefeated the rest of the year. This game has major deja vu vibes from week two of this 2021 season, the Bills had just suffered a loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and their next opponent after the loss was the Miami Dolphins. The Bills will be looking to once again bounce back with a win over the Dolphins, here is what to expect come Sunday.
In the last meeting between these two teams, the Bills and Josh Allen continued their dominance against them winning 35-0. In this game against Miami, Allen completed 17-of-33 passes for 179 yards with an average of 5.42 yards per attempt, two touchdowns, one interception, and had five rushing attempts for 35 yards. Although they shut out the Dolphins, this would go on to be Allens worst performance so far this season. Since this game, Allen has increased his completion percentage, increased his yards per attempt to between 7.51 and 12.12, and has had a passer rating above 100. With the receiving core Allen has with Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley, Emmanuel Sanders, and Gabriel Davis going up the Dolphins defense at this point is a mismatch. So far the Dolphins defense is 30th in getting teams off the field on third down and have allowed the third-most pass yards with 297.1.
Not to mention, the run defense for Miami is allowing 4.2 yards per carry, and although the Bills aren’t focused on the run game Devin Singletary is averaging 5.2 yards per carry and is another player this defense will have to try and contain. This Dolphins defense’s foundation is based on turnovers, yet only have nine, and this Bills offense has been efficient in not turning the ball over. An area to monitor for this Bills offense though is the offensive line, in the game against the Titans, the offensive line allowed three sacks and eight quarterback hits. In addition, something to monitor is rookie Spencer Brown is dealing with a back injury which could cause a line shift come Sunday, which could allow the Dolphins to get to Allen if there are some communication issues at the start. This should be a game where Allen puts up over 300 yards and three touchdowns, as just the prior week the Dolphins defense allowed Matt Ryan to throw for 336 yards. As well as if the Dolphins can’t slow the run game down when the Bills use it, both Singletary and Zack Miss will have success just as they did the last time.
The Bills defense will be looking to replicate its success as well from the first meeting where they only allowed 145 passing yards and 71 rushing yards. They also dominated the turnover battle by creating three of them. In a way though this offense will be somewhat different from the first game. Over the last two weeks, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has looked better than he did in the first two weeks of the season. Tagovailoa against the Jacksonville Jaguars completed 33-of-47 passes for 329 yards and two touchdowns, then the following week against the Atlanta Falcons he completed 32-of-40 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns. Not to mention now the college connection between Tagovailoa and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle has finally started to get going as of late but this will be touched on more later.
Although with all the success Tagovailoa is having, the Bills know his weak points on that offense, and it starts with the offensive line. This is why they blitzed him and backup quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, heavily. The heavy blitz approach not just with the Bills defense but in general Tagovailoa has not been able to counter and leads to a bulk of his interceptions. With this Bills defensive front with guys like A.J. Epenesa, Jerry Hughes, Star Lotulelei, and Greg Rousseau it should be expected they will do the exact same thing again against a Dolphins offensive line that has allowed 17 sacks so far this season. This Bills defensive line has had a quarterback hurry percentage of 14.5%(third in the NFL), a pressure percentage of 28.5%(fourth in the NFL) so the Dolphins offensive line will have its work cut out for them.
The key matchup to watch this time around is cornerback Taron Johnson going against Jaylen Waddle. As mentioned above Waddle has really started to emerge as Tagovailoa’s top reliable target. Between the last two games, Waddle has 17 receptions and two touchdowns. For the Bills it will be Johnson covering him, so far this season Johnson has 33 tackles, six passes defended which lands him as the 12th best cornerback in the NFL according to PFF. With how the Dolphins have started to use Waddle in more creative packages Johnson will have to make sure he doesn’t get caught off guard by these, but with how well Johnson and Waddle are playing it will be a fun matchup to monitor.
Ultimately the Dolphins haven’t been able to figure things out on offense or defense while the Bills as a whole are one of the most complete teams in the NFL. Not only that but the Bills want to show that they are still one of the best teams in the AFC and that they are going to learn from the Titans loss but also come back even stronger. The Dolphins also have the rumors of the Tagovailoa and Deshaun Watson trade circulating around the team as a distraction. This will be another “get right game” for the Bills as they secure the home victory of 35-10.
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