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Takeaways: Buffalo Bills defense is proving it’s among league’s best

The Buffalo Bills shellacked the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, putting together a complete team win led by a stellar pass rush and some timely scoring. Ultimately, the Dolphins couldn’t get on the scoreboard because of turnovers and missed fourth downs. Here are my takeaways.

Pass rush erupts

Two defensive back sacks on the first drive from Taron Johnson and Micah Hyde. Greg Rousseau added his first two NFL sacks during the game. Justin Zimmer and Matt Milano also had sacks. Mario Addison, Matt Milano, Jerry Hughes, Tre’Davious White, Ed Oliver, A.J. Klein, and especially A.J. Epenesa had great days pressuring the quarterbacks. Eventually, a big fourth-down hit from Epenesa forced an early throw and big hit, and Tua Tagovailoa left the game with a rib injury. They had six QB hits and four sacks before halftime and finished with six sacks and 11 QB hits. I made a comment at one point that every time you watched a replay of the end of a play, a Dolphins QB was picking themselves up off the grass. The investment on the defensive line is paying off.

The defense needs another headline

I mean, they were awesome. They held the Dolphins to just 216 yards all game even with them playing from behind the whole time. The coverage was outstanding all day in the secondary to complement the dominant pass rush. Even with Tremaine Edmunds and Levi Wallace out for much of the game with cramping, A.J. Klein and Dane Jackson played really well. Miami held the ball for 31:34 of game time and still could never get any traction. Wallace had a nice interception, Taron Johnson and Matt Milano combined for a really good fumble and recovery, and Miami was 0-4 on fourth downs to go with 8-of-18 on third down. Stellar day again.

Still not looking settled on offense

Let’s start with the fact that the Bills scored 35 points so it wasn’t a bad day scoring, but does the offense really look settled? Josh Allen and offensive coordinator Brian Daboll have just not looked comfortable all season. The QB missed a wheel route on an overthrow to Devin Singletary that would have been a nice gain and on the next play he threw an interception behind Stefon Diggs in the second quarter. On one play in the first quarter, Allen escaped a perfectly clean pocket to try and create something when no pressure was there to force him out. Right before the half, he lofted a pass to Diggs that was nearly picked off. In the third quarter, Emmanuel Sanders was wide open in the seam but instead, Allen threw to Isaiah McKenzie on the sideline and it was almost picked off. The play-calling was also a bit wishy-washy, with Allen needing the first 35 minutes of game time to get to just 100 yards. The Dolphins’ secondary was very good, and several plays were very close if not for a great play by a cornerback. At some point, we can’t talk about going against good defenses. 5.4 yards per pass attempt isn’t going to get it done.

What a difference a run game makes

A 46-yard TD run from Devin Singletary on the first series followed up by a play action pass to Emmanuel Sanders for 35 yards on the next drive. Singletary averaged more than six yards per carry and Zack Moss overcame an early fumble to have two very tough touchdown runs. Even Reggie Gilliam got into the mix with a pair of one-yard rushes. A lot fewer designed run for Allen this week, but he managed 35 yards and a couple timely third-down conversions on his five runs.

Buffalo in Miami’s head

Man, the Bills just have the Dolphins’ number. Six straight wins by Buffalo over Miami and it would be even more if Charles Clay could catch a football. The Bills have scored more than 30 points in all six wins.