The Buffalo Bills find themselves at 3-1 following their Week 4 home victory over the Miami Dolphins (also now 3-1) — a 48-20 thrashing in front of Bills Mafia. While tied in record, the Bills actually hold a half-game lead on their AFC East rivals, thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker. A complete team win, that required most of Buffalo’s active roster.
But sometimes, victory is bittersweet. That’s especially the case for the Bills and their fans following the news that cornerback Tre’Davious White was being evaluated for an Achillies injury.
Right now, it’s time to reflect on the positive from Sunday’s win, while awaiting updates on White’s health.
For a little over a quarter, Buffalo and Miami pulled no punches in a back-and-forth affair that had Highmark Stadium in peak vocal range, and many checking their heart rates. But as I predicted, it came down to McDermott vs. McDaniel, and defense won the day. Void of a last-second stop to win, the Bills instead chose to deny the Dolphins more than six points in the second half.
After what Miami did in Week 3, being held to six points is for certain a detrimental statement hanging over the Dolphins at this point. As for that champagne, it may have come out too soon for Miami who, in reality, finds a few of their franchise greats wait out Philadelphia Eagles’ first loss, in an effort to uncork their preferred bubbly. (As a side note, do you think the 73 team would have wanted these Dolphins to go undefeated, or is sole possession of that record their preference?)
Offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey deserves a game ball for his efforts today. Against Miami, Dorsey unveiled a motion-heavy pre-snap playbook that toyed with the defense.
Quarterback Josh Allen made a huge statement, putting the league on notice that the Buffalo Bills haven’t gone anywhere yet. And still, it looked like Allen’s work was effortless. Allen found his Bills Crucial Catch cap early, ending the afternoon with a perfect passer rating (158.3) while going 21-of-25 for 320 yards with four passing TDs, while carrying four times for 17 yards with one TD. An incredible performance.
For as much as Allen did, so, too, can be said of wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Operating from nearly every skill position, Diggs caught six of seven passes for 120 yard with three TDs. Dolphins cornerback Kader Kohou had a forgettable day matched against Diggs, and I’m sure he’s looking forward to the rematch at season’s end.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa struggled to find the same sort of rhythm that allowed him to play near-perfect football in a Week 3 70-20 win. Especially in the second half, Tagovailoa was flustered and unable to pull off the throws outside then numbers needed to keep the chains moving. Wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle combined for seven catches 107 yards total. Hill and Waddle were held out of the end zone. Zero burgers for the pair of receivers everyone is so quick to crown them the NFL’s best.
Sure, De’Von Achane got his, carrying eight times for 101 yards and a pair of TDs. Buffalo gave up another now-trending long touchdown score on the ground, but little happened for Miami when anyone else was tasked with running the ball.
Seventy points against any team is impressive, and it deserves the notoriety the Dolphins received, but so will their losing to the Bills by 28 points.
A huge concern of mine was the team’s decision to keep cornerback Kaiir Elam on the bench. McDermott proved to me he wasn’t needed, at least when you consider what the Dolphins failed to accomplish. But at one point, it appeared as though Buffalo would have to think outside the box to pair someone up with cornerback Dane Jackson, following a concerning amount of injuries in the defensive backfield. Thankfully, Benford was able to return, Jackson continued playing as he always has, and the team weathered the remainder of Week 4 with a a near-bare cupboard at CB — one that’s more than likely to navigate the remainder of the season without CB1 Tre’Davious White.
Moving forward, I look forward to a greater involvement of the tight ends as receivers, especially after seeing the chain-moving work both on the perimeter and over the middle by rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid.
It remains to be seen whether Miami is the bigger story this week for the way they lost, or if Buffalo finds favor with some of the hotter mouths in football media. As fans, we should be happy either way. Continue to ignore the Bills, or try to keep up with the wagon. It’s a near guarantee that more people will be talking about the Bills this week.
We’ll have much more to share with you here at Buffalo Rumblings, but for now enjoy this space as your post-game victory thread.