The Miami Dolphins were humbled 35-0 by the Buffalo Bills in their first home game with full capacity since December 22nd, 2019.
After a 17-16 win on the road against the New England Patriots in week one, the Dolphins were sent a reality check from the division favorites. The Bills were not perfect, but Miami made it easy for them, Buffalo recording their largest shutout win since 1992.
Miami kept the game competitive, going into the half 14-0 down without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. In the first quarter, he left the game with bruised ribs after a tackle from sophomore defensive end A.J. Epenesa on a failed 4th down conversion. However, the Bills went down the field with the opening drive of the second quarter to make it 21-0. The Dolphins never even looked like getting back into the game.
Where do the Dolphins go from here after the Bills’ defeat?
Struggles At QB Vs. The Bills
The game started poorly for Tagovailoa, being sacked in Miami’s opening drive. This would be an omen for things to come. The former Alabama QB failed to see out the quarter. He exited the game with one completed pass out of four attempts, along with just 13 yards and twice being sacked.
Jacoby Brissett came in but failed to inspire confidence from head coach Brian Flores, recording just 169 passing yards and eight rushing yards, 0 touchdowns, and one interception. He was sacked four times for a total loss of 24 yards. Brissett earned a quarterback rating of 37.1 and had a 60% completion percentage (24 out of 40).
You have to praise the Bills defense, who recorded six total sacks. This included two for Gregory Rousseau, who spent three college seasons playing at the Hard Rock Stadium for the Miami Hurricanes. Despite this, the Miami offense was extremely poor, with rookie Jaylen Waddle catching for the most receiving yards (48). He also recorded multiple drops, a sign of his inexperience in the NFL. Myles Gaskin was Miami’s leading rusher with a measly 25 yards on the ground. This is not good enough for a team wanting to compete for both the AFC East and a place in the playoffs.
Howard Will Keep Miami In Games
Miami allowed the Bills’ highest receiver to be Stefon Diggs with just 60 yards. They still gave away two touchdowns to both Diggs and tight end Dawson Knox. Offensively, the Bills were simply too efficient and outclassed the Dolphins in every department.
This showed by their leading rusher Devin Singletary (82) running for 57 more yards than Gaskin. Both quarterback Josh Allen (35) and running back Zach Moss (26) had more yards than Gaskin. When your best rusher recorded fewer yards at home than the third-best rusher of the visiting team, you have a problem.
Sacks was also another issue for the Dolphins, with the Bills having five more than the single sack that Miami recorded. Miami did have two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. This is compared to the one of each that Buffalo recorded, but the Dolphins failed to make the most. They even limited Allen to two touchdowns, one interception, and a slender 169 yards. The reality for Dolphins fans is that the Bills didn’t need to be good or get out of second gear.
The only positive to come out of this game for the Dolphins was the performance of Xavien Howard, who recorded two interceptions. However, this ended up being for nothing. Howard is crucial if the Dolphins want to compete. Whilst they may have lost this game, they were the underdogs against one of the preseason Super Bowl favorites. They will still look to complete for a spot in the postseason, and this is just one loss. Miami can still be confident of a good season.
Learning From Silly Errors
Miami saw three fumbles from Jakeem Grant, Jaylen Waddle, and Brandon Jones, with the latter’s the only one to be recovered by Miami. The Bills fumbled just once.
Bills were 1-1 on fourth down conversions, Miami was 0-4 and saw one involve a game-ending injury to their starting quarterback. The Dolphins were also wasteful of the opportunities that were presented to them.
There was a fumble from Moss with 3:51 remaining in the first quarter. There was an interception from Bills cornerback Levi Wallace just five plays into the ensuing drive.
The Dolphins were on 3rd and six well into field goal range in the second quarter. They were at the 11-yard line with 9:58 remaining on the clock. Brissett found Jakeem Grant, who was spun around and fumbled the ball.
Howard recorded an interception just under 8 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Brissett was sacked on a second down in the following possession for a 9-yard loss, and Waddle made up for it with a 14-yard pickup on third down. The Dolphins once again couldn’t convert on fourth down, with power back Malcolm Brown failing to get over the line.
Miami managed to force Buffalo to punt in fourth down in their endzone with 37 seconds remaining. This gave them a chance of getting back into the game with one timeout left. However, Waddle fumbled the punt return. The Bills went down the field before Tyler Bass missed the field goal.
Meanwhile, an earlier drive saw the Dolphins allow the Bills to convert a 3rd and five midway through the first quarter. Allen threw a beautiful 35-yard pass and then threw to an open Diggs in the endzone. This was the difference. Buffalo capitalized on Miami errors. The Dolphins failed to do anything with the Bills’ errors.
Miami finished week two with hardly any positives. Despite this, there’s still a long way to go this season.