Week 2 Bills at Dolphins Recap

Last week, there were issues defensively stopping the run against Cam Newton and the Patriots. This week, there issues defensively against the pass…from Josh Allen? Yes, Josh Allen. The guy who usually beats teams with his legs. Last week against the New York Jets, Josh Allen got his first 300-yard passing game. It only took one game later for Allen to record his first 400-yard passing game. Now, the Buffalo Bills’ record with Josh Allen as their Quarterback against the Miami Dolphins is 4-1.

In Week One, both sides of the ball did not give Miami a chance to win. However, in week two, the Dolphins offense actually gave them a chance to win, regardless of Preston Williams’ dropped pass on 4th and goal with 2:05 left in the 3rd quarter. Thankfully with a rare 3-and-out by the Dolphins defense, they forced a punt and ran a 10-play, 44-yard drive which resulted in a touchdown run by Jordan Howard. Ryan Fitzpatrick was turnover-free on Sunday, going 31/47 for 328 yards, 2 TD’s, 0 INT’s. Both Matt Breida and Myles Gaskin averaged over 5 yards a carry while Jordan Howard continued to struggle. The best offensive performance of the day goes to Mike Gesicki, who had 8 catches on 10 targets for 130 yards and a Touchdown where he was covered by Bills CB Tre White. He also had a one-handed catch deep down the field as he caught the ball away from his body for the first down. In an offensive system where Tight Ends are not implemented often, Mike Gesicki took advantage of a defense that was missing LB’s Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds. The offense was not perfect, but when you don’t turn the ball over, throw for 300+ yards, and have the ball for 31:05, you’d think that you would come out on top right?

Unfortunately, that was not the case this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. The Miami Dolphins were in trouble from the start, when on the 3rd play of the Bills’ first drive, Byron Jones gets injured on a play while covering Bills WR Stephon Diggs. It was later discovered that it would be a groin injury and he would not return. After that, we know it was time for 1st round pick Noah Igbinoghene out of Auburn to step up. He was the primary corner to cover Stephon Diggs, not Xavien Howard. How did Diggs do? 8 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. It looked like Diggs had at least a yard or two of separation every single time the ball was thrown at him while Igbinoghene was covering him.

After the game, Dolphins CB Xavien Howard was asked why he was not covering Stephon Diggs, and he said this:

I want to pose a question for Brian Flores and Josh Boyer, why are you not putting your CB who you gave a 5-year $76.5M contract to, and not have him cover the best WR on the opposing team? I understand that Byron Jones went down with an injury, but that is when adjustments have to be made. Of course, Igbinoghene there are growing pains in this league for rookies and he is the youngest player in the whole NFL, but his coaching staff did not put him in the best of circumstances.

Nik Needham and Bobby McCain were not much help neither. Needham also gave up a big 26-yard play to Cole Beasley in the first drive with no safety help, also committee a Pass Interference in the end zone against Beasley, which eventually set up 1st and goal at the Miami 1, ending up in a Josh Allen Touchdown Pass to Reggie Gillam (his only catch of the day). Needham and McCain also gave up a huge 46-yard play to Beasley to put Buffalo near the red zone, which set up Diggs’ 22 yard TD reception (covered by Igbinoghene).

One encouraging play on defense was shortly after Kyle Van Noy beat on a play by Dawson Knox, Van Noy forced a fumble, which Igbinoghene recovered.

The Dolphins defense played well in the 3rd, forcing 2 punts on 2 Bills drives, but that was their only quarter where they kept Buffalo in check. The third is where Miami was able to start to come back and eventually took the lead early in the 4th, keeping Josh Allen and the Bills offense on the sideline.

However, Buffalo responded on the very next drive. The first play of the next drive was a 47-yard pass to Diggs, covered by Igbinoghene. That drive eventually led to a 6-yard TD pass to Gabriel Davis(his only reception on the day). This touchdown I don’t blame on the secondary. As the pass rush had a chance to wrap Allen up for a sack on 3rd and goal to possibly force a field goal to tie, instead of being down by 4.

Miami shortly went 3 and out as the Dolphins gave up a crucial sack, on 1st and 10 after getting a first down via penalty. This drive resulted in a punt.

Though with 4:26 left in the 4th, there was a chance for the defense to get one-stop. Despite being torched in the air by Josh Allen, unable to make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket, they had a chance to get the ball back to their offense. Nope. The second play of the next drive, Allen completes a catch to Diggs where he escapes out of the pocket and completes it. It was challenged by Flores, which was eventually upheld. Although Xavien Howard was beaten by John Brown in the middle of the field, there was not any safety help as Allen fooled Bobby McCain with his eyes, making him think that he was gonna throw it to the left side of the field and then as Howard was getting beat, it was too late for McCain to recover on that final TD pass by Allen, 46 yards down the field, doing so on 5 plays, taking 1:17 off the clock.

The score was 31-20 when Miami got the ball back with 3:09 left in the 4th. A comeback would’ve been improbable at this point. Well, as I said in the beginning, Miami’s offense gave them a chance. Making 2 plays of 10+ yards to Gesicki twice on that final drive, a few receptions by Isaiah Ford, a scramble play by Fitzpatrick to inch them closer to scoring, and then an 8-yard touchdown pass to Gesicki.

But, it was too little, too late. Miami was unable to recover an onside kick as Buffalo was able to kneel it twice to run down the clock.

So what do the final results look like for what we gave up to the Bills’ offense? 8.9 yards per play, Buffalo converting 50% of their 3rd down conversions, only sacking Josh Allen once, and 524 total yards. That is not a recipe to win a football game. Although two games is a small sample size, here are the Dolphins defensive ranking through 2 games, not good.

Dolphins went into this season with excitement in the secondary with signing Byron Jones and drafting Noah Igbinoghene, but I still have questions at the safety position, I have questions on why Xavien Howard was not covering Stephon Diggs, I have questions on how the Dolphins plan to get to the QB because Josh Allen had all the time in the world on Sunday.

I’m not expecting Byron Jones to be back this Thursday night against the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the Jaguars, who were the preseason favorites to land the 1st pick in the 2021 NFL Draft are 1-1. They look like a team that is not going to let teams step all over them. They’re definitely not going to allow Miami to do so. Although Jacksonville is not at the level of Buffalo and New England, the Jaguars have scored a lot through 2 games(28.5 points per game), will the Dolphins be ready? There’s no time to dwell on this loss with a quick turnaround. There is already a low percent chance for an 0-2 team to make the postseason, but 0-3 will make that an even harder hill to climb with the schedule only getting tougher when October comes around.