Line Of Scrimmage Play will Be Critical Against The Bills
One positive from the Miami Dolphins opener against the New England Patriots was their offensive line held their own, especially in pass protection. With 4 new starters including two rookies, the Dolphins only allowed 1 sack and 5 quarterback hurries. That’s a far cry from a year ago when the Dolphins offensive line got pushed around week after week. It became unbearable to watch. On Sunday, the Dolphins offensive line didn’t open up consistent running lanes, and with more work that should get better. The young rookies, Austin Jackson, and Solomon Kindley showed the game doesn’t appear to be too big for them. The Patriots like to move people around on defense and confuse the offensive line and for the most part, they did a good job. Jackson didn’t allow a sack or pressure on Sunday. Not bad for a 21-year-old, who needs time to develop it was a step in the right direction for him.
Now on Sunday come the division rival Buffalo Bills with one of the better defenses in the league and quite frankly have more talent on the defensive line than the Patriots. This will be a different test for the offensive line. In the two games the Bills-Dolphins played, it was quite a difference in the two games with the play of the offensive line. In the first game, the Dolphins held their own against the Bills, and frankly, if it wasn’t for a couple of turnovers I believe they would have won the game. However, in the 2nd game, it was a different story because the Bills dominated the Dolphins offensive line with their stunts and confusing looks upfront. I frankly think the Bills overlooked the Dolphins in the first game because of how badly the Dolphins started the season getting blown out and the Bills started to have success and sometimes when you start to have success you underestimate the lesser competition. It’s going to be critical for the offensive line to be on point with their communication and assignments on Sunday if they have any chance to win. Just like the New York Jets, the team the Bills beat on opening, the Dolphins have 4 new starters on the line and they will try to confuse their new lineman, who hasn’t had a lot of game experience. The Jets offensive line was overmatched against the Bills defensive line and it’s going to be important for the Dolphins to be up to the challenge. If the Dolphins can do this they could have a chance on Sunday.
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However, the Dolphins are also going to half to have a much better performance from their defensive line, who got overmatched against the Patriots. Like the offensive line, the defensive line underwent a lot of change this offseason, but they have to step up this Sunday against the Bills. The Bills, just like the Patriots, have most of their offensive line back from last year and it’s a good unit. The Dolphins have to do a better job of setting the edge and also staying in their lanes as they will face another running quarterback in Josh Allen, who came off a career day throwing for over 300 yards and led the team in rushing. I would expect the Bills to use Allen’s athletic ability with the read-option just like the Patriots used with Cam Newton. The Dolphins were totally off their game with it and it’s not going to get any easier with another athletic quarterback in Allen.
Allen is 3-1 against the Dolphins in his career and so far seems to have their number in his short career. The Dolphins have to keep him from running around and when they have a chance to tackle him they have to bring him down or it will be a long day and that’s where the defensive line is going to be the key. They must win their one on one battles and get pressure. As good as Allen played on Sunday, he fumbled twice and he missed a couple of wide-open receivers. Those are a couple of areas of Allen’s game that are weaknesses. He is inconsistent with his accuracy and he fumbles a lot. Last year he fumbled 14 times and last Sunday he fumbled twice. If the Dolphins can get to Allen they might be able to force some turnovers.
This offseason the Dolphins invested a lot of money and draft picks on improving the offensive and defensive lines. The offensive line did a decent job last Sunday while the defensive line totally failed to show up. Games are won and lost in the trenches. It’s how you beat the Patriots in this division. The Bills are coming off a wild card appearance last year and are looking to take AFC East. The way you beat them is winning the battle in the trenches that’s how teams are able to beat them. They have a much improved skilled position group on offense, but if you are able to win the battle against their offensive line it could cause some inaccurate throws from Allen and throw his game off which could lead to some turnovers by trying to do too much. The offensive line will be tested again as well and if they can hold their own against the Bills they could have some success.
I know it’s the second game of the season, but it’s also the Dolphin’s second game in the division and if they want to compete with the Patriots and Bills they have to show how tough they are in the trenches. Last Sunday had mixed results against the Patriots. Are the Dolphins going to improve or show they have more work to do? It could go along way to see if the Dolphins are going to be able to contend in the AFC East. How the Dolphins play in the trenches on Sunday is going to determine who wins the game because games are won and lost in the trenches.