The Buffalo Bills officially suck again, and I'm contractually obligated to write a recap post about their ridiculously ugly, 22-9 loss at the hands of the Miami Dolphins last night. Let's get this over with, shall we? Five observations coming right up.
No. 1: Did Miami's offense look way smoother and more efficient than Buffalo's last night? If you came away with that impression, one of the key reasons was that Miami could run the football, while Buffalo couldn't. Miami accumulated 125 rushing yards at 5.2 yards per carry, while holding Buffalo to just 54 yards at 2.8 yards per carry. That, as much as anything, is why the Dolphins had a significantly more efficient evening on offense than the Bills did - they had genuine balance. I miss the Bills offense that could run at will on anyone. Don't you?
No. 2: Ryan Tannehill sort of wiped the floor with Kyle Orton in the matchup of quarterbacks last night, didn't he? The two players were polar opposites in the face of the blitz, and that served as the key difference in their evenings. I don't have numbers in front of me, so I'm speaking purely anecdotally here, but on several first-half occasions, Tannehill beat Bills blitzes to pick up huge chunks of yardage through the air. Orton, meanwhile, either threw the ball into the dirt or to the sidelines (taking a safety on one), had a Dolphins player jump a hot read and drop a pick, or just curled into a ball and took a sack. So yeah, that was fun to watch.
No. 3: Speaking on that last, you can expect Bills opponents to continue to blitz the ever-loving hell out of Orton over however many more games he starts before the Bills are finally out of it and EJ Manuel is put back into the lineup. How many consecutive weeks now have we seen a handful of plays where Orton doesn't effectively climb the pocket or throws the ball away instantly as soon as a free rusher is spotted? Orton was excellent in his first few games at the helm, but the book is out on him now, and I'm not sure he's good enough to respond in any meaningful way. He has been rather bad these last two weeks.
No. 4: You wouldn't know it by the final score, but Buffalo won the turnover battle last night, forcing two themselves while not turning the ball over at all. They turned those two Dolphins turnovers into one measly Dan Carpenter field goal. Last week, they forced one Kansas City turnover and kicked a field goal on that one, too. In two must-win conference matchups, then, the Bills scored six points on three forced turnovers. That's pathetic. Not that we couldn't see that coming, though; it's been a problem all season. Even in Week 8, when the Bills scored 20 points off of turnovers in a 20-point win over New York, but needed a whopping six Jets miscues to make that happen.
No. 5: When the Bills introduced Doug Marrone as their new head coach in a January, 2013 press conference, they billed him as an old-school coach with a new-school approach: a blue-collar, throwback personality that would run a modern, tempo-based offense and use analytics to be on the cutting edge of the way the game is coached. 26 games into his Bills career, the Bills are 11-15 under Marrone, who made several more ultra-conservative situational calls on Thursday night that, taken as a whole, make him seem like the antithesis of cutting edge and analytical. The only thing modern about Marrone's tenure in Buffalo to this point was the packaged-play, up-tempo offense that he and Nathaniel Hackett brought with them from Syracuse - and the tempo aspects of that had been nearly completely abandoned by the end of his first season. I think I'm done with Marrone, you guys. It's just a matter of time before we're being sold on the merits of the next Bills head coach, in my opinion.
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