clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Takeaways: Gritty Buffalo Bills dig deep in narrow loss to Miami Dolphins

The sheer number of things that befell the Bills ...

The Buffalo Bills lost a heartbreaker of a game on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. With guys from the practice squad playing meaningful snaps, the sheer number of things that had to go wrong for the Dolphins to have a chance in this game was mind-boggling.

Here are my takeaways.

Beat by the heat

The Bills lost several starters during the game due to heat-related illnesses and there were multiple instances of Buffalo’s players cramping or feeling the heat. The trainers were quick with the water, and Buffalo had folks providing shade on their sun-bathed sidelines, but they weren’t able to keep the players in the game. Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie and tight end Dawson Knox went to the locker room for IV fluids in the second half. Wide receiver Stefon Diggs left the game with 8 minutes left and tried gutting it out, but was not effective down the stretch and kept taking himself out of the game. Right tackle Spencer Brown went to the locker room and was quickly ruled out in the first half with a heat-related illness. It was brutal to watch.

Replacements for replacements

Center Greg Van Roten had a bad snap on the first drive of the game, stepping in for Mitch Morse. It came back at the worst possible time, when he botched the snap as the Bills were trying to spike the ball to stop the clock before the end of the first half. It cost Buffalo a chance to kick a field goal to take the lead. He left the game with 8:41 and was replaced by Greg Mancz.

Along the offensive line, Spencer Brown left the game due to heat problems and Ryan Bates left with a head injury, so from the center all the way to the right end the line was filled with backups.

Wide receiver Jake Kumerow left the game with an ankle injury, and with Diggs dealing with the heat and McKenzie out, rookie running back James Cook was taking meaningful snaps out wide.

We came in worried about the defense, which was down half their regular players. They mostly played well, outside of a bomb to Jalen Waddle that wouldn’t have been a completion against Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

Josh Allen can’t be ignored

The Bills put all their eggs in the Allen basket and he stepped up to the plate. With a struggling running game and a patchwork offensive line, Allen made highlight-reel play after highlight-reel play. He consistently froze defenders in the backfield, extending plays and picking up yards with his legs. We can’t get used to his level of play and I won’t let it become commonplace. He’s transcendent and I told my TV at least ten times “he’s so good.” He set the team record for attempts in a game, and we will get some more crazy stats here by the time the smoke clears, I’m sure. He finished 42-of-63 for 400 yards and two first-half touchdowns. He had Isaiah McKenzie for a go-ahead score in the final minutes, but threw it in the dirt at his feet on a rare miss.

Game of inches

Wide receiver Gabe Davis was one finger away from catching a touchdown pass in the third quarter, but the Dolphins defender was able to rip it away. The Bills kicked a field goal, so they got points. Linebacker Matt Milano had a pick-six go through his hands late in the third quarter after the injuries started piling up. The Bills missed a field goal on their ensuing possession, so it was a seven-point miscue. (Don’t take this as a dig on Milano, who played another very good game.) Allen’s uncharacteristic misfire to McKenzie in the final minutes felt like the death blow to the Bills, even though they got the ball back in the final two minutes. A bobbled snap before the half cost the Bills three points they could have desperately used at the end of the game.

This isn’t a long-term worry

This is a bump in the road for the Bills. Miami eeked out a win despite the massive amount of problems with the Bills. I’m not worried that this is going to decide the division. I mean, look at the perfect storm for the Dolphins to beat Buffalo by two:

  • No Micah Hyde
  • No Jordan Poyer
  • No Tre’Davious White
  • No Dane Jackson
  • No Jordan Phillips
  • No Ed Oliver
  • Limited Stefon Diggs
  • Limited Isaiah McKenzie
  • Limited Dawson Knox
  • Limited Gabe Davis
  • No Mitch Morse
  • No Spencer Brown
  • No Ryan Bates
  • No Greg Van Roten
  • 100 degrees on the field
  • Bobbled snap before the half
  • Misfire from Allen to McKenzie late
  • Davis dropped the TD
  • Milano dropped the pick-six