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Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: Rookie review

Several rookies shined with additional playing time

Despite a slow start on offense, the Buffalo Bills ended up utterly destroyed the Miami Dolphins in a 56-26 final regular-season victory. It’s been difficult for rookies to contribute during the season without regular playing time, so with several of the younger players inserted into the lineup in the second half, it was the perfect to time for the coaches to evaluate the 2020 rookie class. In that sense, most of the class didn’t disappoint. More about how each rookie performed against the Dolphins below.

DE A.J. Epenesa

The Dolphins had no desire to subject their young quarterback to a full pass rush, so the team relied on a quick passing game for much of the afternoon. However, Epenesa was able to be quite the nuisance in various ways, whether it was staying home on zone reads, dropping into coverage, or just busting out a spin move. This is definitely an instance of the box score—three tackles and one pressure—not telling the whole story on the rookie’s first starting opportunity.

RB Zack Moss

Only three carries for Moss, and some poor blocking up front, meant that he couldn’t really contribute much. He did bring a lot of energy and physicality on 13-yard catch and run, where he bulldozed two Miami defenders to pick up the first down.

WR Gabriel Davis

Davis demonstrated why he was one of the best deep-ball receivers coming out of the draft last year, with two catches against Miami that both went for over 50 yards, one of which was a touchdown. The first catch was a 51-yard simple go-route against Xavien Howard, a defensive-player-of-the-year candidate. The second saw Davis run “away” from coverage to the middle of the field on a zero-blitz and demonstrate some serious hand-eye coordination at the catch point. It was the receiver’s first 100-yard game.

QB Jake Fromm

As with the previous games, Fromm was again a healthy scratch. This has remained the case throughout the season.

K Tyler Bass

Get out the Bass memes. As a result of the plethora of touchdowns against the Dolphins, the rookie kicker contributed eight extra points, which helped him break Steve Christie’s single-season points team record of 140.

WR Isaiah Hodgins

Hodgins remains on Injured Reserve. He recently had surgery on his shoulder.

CB Dane Jackson

Seeing extended time on the field thanks to Tre’Davious White taking a well-deserved rest day, Jackson had a productive, if not completely flawless, afternoon. Two negative plays bookended his day. One came early in the first quarter, when the rookie seemed to get confused on whether it was zone or man coverage, leading to a 23-yard gain from tight end Adam Shaheen. Then late in the game, he bit on a nifty double move from receiver Malcolm Perry, which led to a touchdown. In-between those two mistakes was a strong tackle-for-loss near the goal line late in the first quarter, some solid trail coverage on Devante Parker in the red zone leading to a throwaway, and a pass breakup late in the second quarter that prevented a big gain. He led the defense in snaps.

TE/FB Reggie Gilliam

For the second week in a row Gilliam was held out while dealing with both knee and hamstring injuries.

RB Antonio Williams

Seeing live game action in the second half, Williams came out of virtually nowhere to tally 63 rushing yards and 20 yards receiving, to go with a pair of touchdowns. The former Tar Heel looked explosive and flashed some good vision whenever his blockers did their job. Then, like Zack Moss, on first contact he demonstrated some toughness and leg drive to earn extra yards. Overall, it was a fantastic debut for the former undrafted free agent.