What a difference a week makes. Just one Sunday removed from a frustrating loss, the Buffalo Bills recovered by annihilating the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, winning 35-0 in a game that probably could have been much worse had the Bills been sharper on offense.
Reading that sentence sounds ridiculous—how could Buffalo score 35 points and not have been sharp on offense?!—but if you watched the game, you know what I mean. The Bills played suffocating defense, discovered a running game, and managed to even their record at 1-1.
We whiffed on most of our players to watch this week, but it doesn’t bother me when the team pulls out a huge win. Here’s how our players to watch fared on Sunday.
QB Josh Allen
Buffalo’s quarterback was good enough on Sunday, though based on the lofty expectations coming into the season, he still has plenty of work to do. Allen completed just over 50 percent of his passes against a strong Miami defense, hitting on 17-of-33 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Allen narrowly missed scoring on a 15-yard rush in the fourth quarter, but the touchdown he was initially granted was correctly overturned, as his knee was down with the ball at the one-foot line. Allen had some bad misfires this week, as he again threw some lasers when he should have opted for touch and he threw some rainbows when he should have brought the heat. The interception came on a force to Stefon Diggs where Allen threw it a touch behind him over the middle of the field, giving Xavien Howard a chance to make a play. Allen is off to a slow start, but he still has plenty of time to make good on that 2021 NFL MVP talk. The positive is that the team doesn’t need him to be Superman in order to win, especially if the defense keeps playing like it has for the first two weeks of the year. The negative is nit-picking—after last year when he was Superman, we all are expecting him to be that guy again. He’ll be fine.
The Offensive Line
The pass protection was better, although it still wasn’t great, as Allen found himself under duress and on his back pretty often throughout the course of the game. Allen was hit eight times and sacked once in the contest. The biggest positive was that the line was able to open holes for the running game, and they did so almost immediately. Devin Singletary took his first carry of the game 46 yards for a touchdown, and the Bills ran 30 times for 143 yards as a team. Two of those carries were Mitchell Trubisky kneel-downs at the end of the game. Overall, that per-carry average isn’t great when you remove Singletary’s big play (the Bills ran it 27 times for 99 yards without the big carry and the kneel-downs). This is a unit that needs time to gel, and it also simply needs some of its parts to play better.
DE Efe Obada
Obada missed the game with an ankle injury, and Buffalo’s pass rush was outstanding anyway. Second-year man A.J. Epenesa had a coming-out party, as he managed nine pressures and two quarterback hits, including the shot that knocked Tua Tagovailoa out of the game. Obada should be healthy enough to return next week.
LB Matt Milano
The veteran linebacker’s ankle looked plenty good on Sunday, and the Bills used him both as a pass rusher and a coverage player throughout the day. He was able to do exactly what he does best, which is cause chaos all over the field. Milano had five tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, two quarterback hits, and a fumble recovery on the day. He was all over the field on Sunday.
S Micah Hyde
The veteran made his presence known on just the third play of the game, as he notched a sack on Tagovailoa to stop the Dolphins from converting the game’s first third-down attempt. In addition to that sack, quarterback hit, and tackle for loss, Hyde totaled seven tackles, which was good for second on the team behind only Tre’Davious White. On cornerback Levi Wallace’s interception, Hyde was the man who rotated over the top to give Wallace the support he needed to jump Jacoby Brissett’s throw on the wheel route. It’s that kind of execution that makes Hyde a quiet star on this team, because even when he doesn’t make the play himself, he’s always in the right position to allow for plays to be made.