The Buffalo Bills will look to get back on track versus the Miami Dolphins. A major contributor to the lack of success vs. the Steelers was the effectiveness of Pittsburgh’s pass rush. Three sacks and eight QB hits is...not great. The Dolphins registered zero sacks in Week 1, but nine QB hits. Give me a second to explain that, it’s quite a bit more impressive than it sounds.
Next Gen Stats
If you checked out my Bills’ pass rush piece reviewing the Steelers game you might recall that I gave the Buffalo line a lot of credit for their work as Ben Roethlisberger was the fastest QB in the league in Week 1 getting rid of the ball. Well, Josh Allen was toward the bottom half of the league with 2.78 seconds from snap to release on average, per the NFL’s Next Gen Stats site.
I bring that up not to disparage the Steelers, but to give some context for the following point. The Dolphins hit Mac Jones nine times as noted above. His time to throw was on average 2.54 seconds, sixth-best in the league. Now that doesn’t guarantee Miami will do better against Buffalo than New England, but it’s not a great sign.
Still no all-22, but here’s my impressions (and some GIFs) from the broadcast angles.
The quick pressure comes on what looks like a missed protection as the Dolphins rush five. Mac Jones might have escaped that, but another free runner and even more backup coming free thanks to a rip move becomes way too much to deal with. To his “credit” Jones gets the ball away before the sack spiking the ball at his receiver’s feet. To his “whatever the opposite of credit is,” Jones spikes the ball BACKWARDS. This is also known as a fumble.
I pointed this play out because a big narrative this week is that the Dolphins lost nose tackle Raekwon Davis to IR for at least the next few weeks. Davis left this contest early and this is right after he exited. The edge players for Miami get some wins to shrink Jones’ pocket and even without Davis the Dolphins push through the center to create some pressure.
This was pretty darn quick pressure, which the Patriots were definitely responding to via their game plan. We see the Dolphins crowd the line to disguise who’s coming but it’s Jaelan Phillips (number 15 on bottom of the line) earning a one-on-one victory that puts the most heat on the QB.
In addition to the crowded lines, the Dolphins used stunts quite a bit to try to create opportunities for their pass rush. This isn’t even the first GIF in this article with a stunt. Take note that this is a five-man rush as well.
What’s that you say? A blitz? More on that in a minute.
Five-man rush. Stunt at the top of the screen. One-on-one victory at the bottom. Just reiterating points here folks.
The Dolphins registered a fair few QB hits and the trends I’d note are all above. Stunts. Crowded lines. Individual efforts. Blitz. Blitz. Blitz. More blitz. I wanted to verify if my eyes were telling me the truth so I checked out pro-football-reference.com and their advanced statistics. Aaaaaaand...my eyes had it right. The Dolphins blitzed on 21 plays which was good for 52.5% of the game, the second-highest rate in the league (behind Tampa).
Will Miami try this against Josh Allen or was it a one-week “trend” versus a rookie quarterback? Well last year Miami blitzed 40.8% of the time, which only fell behind Baltimore. So there could be some drop-off but realistically speaking this is the Dolphins being the Dolphins. They love that aggressive defense. The good news for Bills fans is the recent success Josh Allen and the offense has had against them. If the Dolphins are gonna Dolphin, that’ll be old news for the Bills.