The 2-0 Buffalo Bills flew down to Florida to take on the 2-0 Miami Dolphins for their first matchup of the season. The Bills had to take on a Miami offense with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle with a secondary missing Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Dane Jackson, and Tre’Davious White. It was the Dolphins that bested the Bills with a 21-19 victory. From the Bills loss, there were a few things to takeaway from the game.
Missed Opportunities Changed The Outcome
The Dolphins capitalized on the opportunities they were given, the Bills, on the other hand, did not. A bobbled snap on a play where Allen tried to spike the ball to stop the clock led to him having to throw the ball instead. They were in field goal range, which could’ve added three more points. There was a Gabe Davis touchdown pass that could’ve been, but the Dolphins were there to knock it out of his hands. Matt Milano had the opportunity to haul in a pick-six, but that went through his hands. Tyler Bass missed his first field goal since the December 6, 2021, game against the New England Patriots. There was also a misfire throw from Allen to Isaiah McKenzie which would’ve gone for a touchdown. The Bills had plenty of opportunities to add points throughout the game, but ultimately the missed opportunities piled up and led to the Dolphins win.
Depth Tested For The Bills
Already coming into this game as mentioned, the Bills were thin in their secondary and the injuries continued to pile up. Christian Benford ended up suffering a hand injury, leading to Ja’Marcus Ingram coming in to replace him. On the defensive line, they didn’t have Jordan Phillips or Ed Oliver. Wide receiver Jake Kumerow also suffered an injury, his being an ankle that led to him missing time. Then with Spencer Brown suffering from heat illness, it led to David Quessenberry coming in to fill his spot. Dawson Knox, and Isaiah McKenzie also had to exit in the third quarter dealing with cramps, but would both come back for the following offensive drive. Ryan Bates went down with a head injury, leading to Tommy Doyle coming in on the offensive line. Then in the fourth quarter, Greg Van Rotten, who was filling in for an already injured Mitch Morse, went down, leading to Greg Mancz having to come in. Even with all this, for the Bills to only lose by two points is an indictment to how they embrace the next man up mentality.
Bills Secondary Holds Up Well Outside Of Big Plays
Despite all the injuries, a Bills secondary with Taron Johnson, Jaquan Johnson, Damar Hamlin, Ingram, Benford, and Kaiir Elam held up well against the Dolphins’ offense. At the half, Waddle and Hill combined only had three catches for 36 yards. The Bills did this by running more press coverage on over 60% of the snaps. That is four times higher than what Hill had seen prior, and two times more than what Waddle had faced. As the game went on, the Bills ended up giving more yardage as Waddle finished with 102 yards and Hill finished with 33 but were held to zero touchdowns. What really cost the secondary was giving up big plays, for the first time since the start of the 2021 season, this was the first game that the Bills gave up three completions of 20-plus yards. The secondary played well for the most part, but their lack of starting experience also showed at times.
Josh Allen Puts The Team On His Back
With all the injuries, and playmakers missing time on offense, Josh Allen did what any franchise quarterback would do, put the team on his back. The run game wasn’t working against this Dolphins’ defense, so Ken Dorsey did what he has done well so far, and that was make in-game adjustments and let Allen take over. Allen finished the game completing 42-of-63 passes, his 63 pass attempts are the most he has had this season so far, and most a Bills quarterback has ever had. He threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 47 yards. When the plays weren’t there downfield, he did a good job of taking what the defense was giving him as he ended with an average of 6.3 yards per attempt. He had some moments where he looked off, but was able to bounce back and put his team in contention to win the game until the final second.
The Bills are still in a good spot, sitting at 2-1. They will get players back that missed time, and other players will have the opportunity to recover. Both teams gave it their all, and it made for an entertaining divisional matchup. The Bills will now get ready to head to Maryland to face the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens.