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Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: Rookie review

Ed Oliver earns his first sack of the season and Cody Ford has a solid outing

Despite suffering a scare at the hands of the Miami Dolphins, the Buffalo Bills came out on top 31-21. Coming off their bye week, the Bills’ defense looked disjointed and outmatched by the Dolphins’ passing game, led by old friend Ryan Fitzpatrick. Meanwhile, the Bills’ offense was finding some success but settled for field goals early. Despite the slow start, the offense was able to start rolling in the second half, while the defense switched momentum with a key Tre’Davious White interception. It was an up-and-down day for the Bills’ rookies as well, with the team’s first two 2019 picks playing well, and two others standing out for all the wrong reasons.

More about the performance of each rookie below.

DT Ed Oliver

Don’t let the low number of tackles fool you: Oliver’s trajectory continues to improve with each passing game, and against the Dolphins the rookie was able to turn in his most complete game of the season. Oliver’s ability to move his feet and shoot gaps showed up against the run—you cannot block him on outside zone plays—and he finished the game with his very first sack and a quarterback pressure. His sack came early in the game against a trick play, showcasing his hustle more than anything. He also drew a key hold during the second quarter—a call that ultimately set up Tre’Davious White’s interception a few plays later.

OT Cody Ford

Ford also had what was perhaps his best game of the season. The Dolphins’ dearth of speed rushers, combined perhaps with some work during the team’s bye week meant that the rookie tackle was able to hold his own in pass protection and continue to move bodies in the run game. His best series came late in the third quarter. First, his combo block with Jon Feliciano completely blew the defensive tackle off his spot, resulting in a 15-yard run. Then, he was able to stonewall Taco Charlton several times, allowing Allen to complete several intermediate passes. Finally, he opened up a huge hole on Josh Allen’s two-point conversion by shoving defensive tackle John Jenkins to the ground.

RB Devin Singletary

Per usual, Frank Gore received the bulk of carries between the two running backs, but in contrast to previous games, Singletary didn’t have much impact with his limited touches. Mostly that was a result of the Dolphins recently dropping a safety down to help against the run and some poor blocking by Quinton Spain and the tight ends. The rookie runner also wasn’t utilized or targeted much in the pass game, in contrast to previous games this season.

TE Dawson Knox

Outside of a 20-yard catch down the seam early in the game, Knox’s drop problems returned against Miami. He had two back-to-back drops that essentially killed the Bills’ second drive of the game. As pointed out with Singletary, blocking also wasn’t one of Knox’s strong suits on Sunday.

LB Vosean Joseph

The former fifth-round linebacker remains on injured reserve following shoulder surgery.

S Jaquan Johnson

Johnson was active in the game, but did not see any defensive snaps. He did see snaps on special teams.

TE Tommy Sweeney

With the return of Tyler Kroft, Sweeney was a healthy scratch this week against the Dolphins.

DE Darryl Johnson

Along with compiling virtually no stats, Johnson had several mistakes that hurt the team. An offsides penalty by the rookie on a run to the outside gifted Miami a 1st-and-5 in the red-zone late in the first quarter. Johnson’s worst mistake, however, was on Miami’s second touchdown. Lined up as an outside linebacker, the rookie was sucked in by a play-action bootleg and was caught out of position with Devante Parker streaking the opposite direction. With Johnson unable to redirect in time, Parker scored a touchdown.