The Buffalo Bills lost their Week 1 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at home in front of a raucous capacity crowd, amped up and juiced up for their first game together since 2019. On the road, in Miami, to play the Dolphins is the perfect follow-up for that to get back to their winning ways.
It’s perfectly understandable that the team would come out tight in their opener with expectations sky-high. Their routine was thrown off because many arrived to the stadium later than they wanted due to obscene traffic on the surface streets near the venue. Then they had a huge kickoff return right off the bat, then took a lead, but they never really settled into it. Maybe they were gripping the ball too tight or distracted or overthinking play calls or assignments or whatever, but their performance felt like they were thinking too much at times and not enough at others. Josh Allen was overthrowing deep balls and he admitted after the game that he was extra keyed up at the start, looking to take that first hit. It probably explains why he overthrew Emmanuel Sanders on a line drive when if he lofted it a bit more, the veteran could have run under it for an easy score.
This week it’s time for a reset. The Bills don’t have to play in front of their home crowd. Maybe offensive coordinator Brian Daboll doesn’t get so cute with his play calls because of that. Maybe head coach Sean McDermott can make clear-headed fourth-down decisions because of that. Maybe Josh Allen doesn’t feel the need to make a highlight-reel throw on every pass because of that.
This week, the Bills get to stick to their routine. They get to hop a plane over the weekend and stay at a hotel. They wake up and take the team bus and avoid traffic. They don’t have to see the tens of thousands of Bills fans tailgating by 8 in the morning or hear the thunderous ovation and all the expectations that entails.
Not only do they get the road game to take their minds off last week, they get to play the Miami Dolphins. The Bills are 5-1 against the Dolphins in the last three seasons and the lone game that went against Buffalo slipped through Charles Clay’s fingers at the goal line. Some of Allen’s best games, stats-wise and using the eye test, have come against Miami including 415 yards and 4 touchdowns in Miami in Week 2 a year ago. Miami’s defensive line is definitely not as talented as the Steelers’ (plus they just lost their starting nose tackle) and they play man-based coverage on defense, something Allen and Daboll have been able to exploit.
A loss puts them two games plus a tiebreaker behind Miami in an admittedly long season. This needs to be a get-right game against the early AFC East leaders. I think it’s just what the doctor ordered.