The Buffalo Bills went down to South Beach this weekend hoping for a win against the Miami Dolphins. Instead, they left with a 21-17 defeat in a game that was absolutely winnable. Credit the Dolphins for playing efficient and nearly mistake-free football throughout the afternoon. They were able to maintain their composure and avoid bone-headed penalties, unlike their counterparts from the north.
If you missed the game and just looked at the box score, it would appear that Buffalo dominated the game. However, that wasn’t the case, as the Dolphins were able to capitalize on Buffalo errors throughout the day—keeping their playoff hopes afloat in a crowded AFC race.
Here is how the five Dolphins we watched fared against the Bills this weekend.
QB Ryan Tannehill
His numbers certainly won’t jump off the page at you, but Tannehill made throws when he needed to make them, and he avoided the costly mistakes that had plagued him against Buffalo in the past. Tannehill completed 67% of his passes (16 out of 24) for three touchdowns and one interception. He only totaled 137 passing yards—an average of 5.7 yards per attempt—but he was able to capitalize in the red zone at key times. The go-ahead touchdown pass that he threw was a thing of beauty, as he beat Buffalo’s zone coverage by lofting a perfectly-placed touch pass to wide receiver Kenny Stills. While Buffalo’s quarterback Josh Allen had the more eye-popping day statistically, Tannehill beat the rookie in the category that matters most: wins.
RB Kenyan Drake
Buffalo held Miami’s speedy running back in check all afternoon, but Miami’s play-calling certainly helped the Bills out in that regard. Drake only carried the ball seven times, totaling 31 yards rushing on the day. 20 of his yards came on one carry, so the Bills obviously were intent on stuffing the run. All told, Miami had 20 carries for 63 yards on the day, as Buffalo’s defense did its part to keep the game in winnable territory. Drake scored the game’s first touchdown on a swing pass, which was the second consecutive play on the drive where the Bills had allowed the Miami back to come out of the backfield unchecked. He caught two of four targets for 13 yards and that lone touchdown.
WR Leonte Caroo
Well, I tried to watch Caroo throughout the game, but he didn’t do much on Sunday. One week after catching a 74-yard touchdown pass, the Rutgers product was not targeted in the passing game. Veterans Devante Parker and Kenny Stills led the Dolphins in receiving.
TE Nick O’Leary
The former Buffalo tight end had one reception on the day for nine yards. It came in the fourth quarter when Miami was trying to salt the game away, and it set up a third-and-one play. Had O’Leary gained the first down, Buffalo would not have had the chance to score that they did at the end of the game. Had the Dolphins remembered that they had Frank Gore on their roster, they might have run a better play on that third down than a running back direct-snap, which Buffalo knew was staying on the ground.
LB Kiko Alonso
Alonso filled the stat sheet yesterday, leading all players in tackles with 11. His one tackle for loss was followed by a long bicep flex. Most of Alonso’s day was spent mirroring Josh Allen, and he struggled to keep the big, speedy quarterback in front of him. On multiple occasions, Allen ran circles around Alonso, both literally and figuratively, on his way to big gains. He was also beaten on Allen’s second touchdown pass to Zay Jones—an absolute laser into zone coverage where Alonso appeared to have the intermediate middle responsibility.