Usually I try to highlight a player, position group, or the like for my weekly opponent preview. Often, I stick to nine GIFs or less for a couple reasons. Sometimes there’s a good reason to break from tradition. The Buffalo Bills’ next opponent, the Miami Dolphins just dropped 10 touchdowns on the Denver Broncos. They could have likely set an NFL record for most points scored in a game but chose not to. Let’s take a look at all ten touchdowns against the Broncos and see if we feel like the same thing might happen to our beloved Bills.
Touchdown 1 — Tyreek Hill, 54 yards
With all of the documented concern about Tyreek Hill’s speed, it’s pretty wild that this was his only score in a game that featured an absurd amount of them. A common request I’ve seen among fans is to jam wide receivers to disrupt their route. Aside from the fact that this jam was arguably a penalty (more than five yards from line of scrimmage), if you don’t disrupt the receiver well enough you’re practically begging for them to get behind you.
I’ve contemplated a Bills Mathia video on the matter, but the short version is that an effective jam necessitates the defender leaning forward to create force in that direction. That means a poor jam has the person committing to the opposite direction the receiver is going.
That’s a lot of words to say “the jam didn’t do jack on this play.” Even worse, the rest of the team pretty much forgot Hill existed, except for the deep safety. He remembered but was late coming over and couldn’t get the right angle to stop Hill.
Touchdown 2 — De’Von Achane, eight yards
When a team loses by 50 and allows a total of 70 points an easy answer to “what happened” will be “they sucked.” I hate to be that blunt. But honestly, where else can I go with this sentiment? I would say, it’s not enough really to say they sucked. We’ve seen some bad Bills teams over the years but not 70 points. The other team had to have a lot go really well to get this result.
What I’m getting at is that yes, I’ll be pointing out Denver’s woes quite a bit today. Like how nearly everyone who has ever put on a Broncos jersey had a shot at this tackle and didn’t make it. But there needs to be credit to Miami where it’s due as well. Like how the offensive line blocked this up pretty well for De’Von Achane to slip through. That doesn’t mean perfect. Achane ran right into his lead blocker and a defensive back who could’ve made a play had he shed his tackle. Obviously that didn’t happen.
Touchdown 3 — De’Von Achane four yards
This play has already made the rounds because yeah, that’s neat as hell. It’s not anything really all that crazy though, if you think about it. The Miami Dolphins didn’t invent the delayed quick pitch we see here. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s “no-look” version for this play made the rushing defender hesitate which is again neat as hell. Put differently, this was great execution on a play we’ve seen plenty of.
The bottom line is that if you have a defender accounting for the running back who will get the ball, they can react to this. The Broncos didn’t have anyone dedicated to Achane but a few players had a shot at the tackle. They missed their shot. I should also give credit like I said I would. Achane did a good job keeping upright after contact and choosing his spot to crash into the end zone.
Touchdown 4 — Raheem Mostert, 20 yards
Raheem Mostert is who you’d expect to have done a ton of damage and you’d be right. Mostert runs well. he chooses a lane and accelerates. There were some good cuts on the run, and some subtle movements to evade tackles. That said, there were Broncos literally tripping over themselves missing tackles. I’m serious, look to the right side of the screen when Mostert accelerated after breaking past the line.
Touchdown 5 — Raheem Mostert, three yards
I’ll talk about drives that led to these scores a bit in the summary, but for now all I’ll add is that this was the only play of the drive, after Miami recovered a Denver fumble. They dialed up this play allowing Tagovailoa to fake to our left (his right) with a jet sweep. The Broncos mostly bit on the misdirection, allowing Mostert to find a good-sized lane open. The Dolphins blocked the play well and the lane stayed open. This play steers harder to “Dolphins Credit” rather than “Denver Fault” than most of these do.
Touchdown 6 — Raheem Mostert, one yard
This drive was 90 yards in total, ending with another excellent play design by Miami near the goal line. Mostert received the ball again. The Dolphins had an intricate blocking pattern, which was executed well to negate the Broncos. Mostert found some resistance at the line, but fell forward for the score.
Touchdown 7 — Raheem Mostert, 19 yards
Moster’s balance needs to be acknowledged. So does the fact that the man covering him from the Broncos not only was giving a huge cushion to Mostert, but he was trailing before the ball ever came out. He still managed to get a hand on Mostert who was nearly pushed out of bounds. Mostert made the last-ditch effort to prevent the score fail with a little wiggle.
Touchdown 8 — De’Von Achane, 10 yards
They call a similar play to touchdown 3 above and it worked again. I will say this is a good play design. I will also say there are Broncos players who acted as if they completely lost track of the ball.
Touchdown 9 — Robbie Chosen, 68 yards
This was a good route by wide receiver Robbie Chosen, but not elite. It’s plenty, however, to get behind the defender and turn this into a touchdown. Thrown by backup quarterback Mike White. Note how clean the pocket was for White. How wide open Chosen was. How most of the Dolphins’ skill players were open. I don’t want to say the Broncos’ defense had given up, but... actually I guess that’s precisely what I want to say.
Touchdown 10 — De’Von Achane, 67 yards
It’s De’Von Achane again. The speed of this looks like a punt return. I’ll let you choose your own notes on this one.
If I have my way, the Buffalo Bills will keep the Dolphins completely scoreless. If Dolphins fans have their way, head coach Mike McDaniel will choose to go for it and take the record for most points scored against Buffalo. I got news for me and I got news for Dolphins fans. Don’t hold your breath for either thing.
As expected, the Denver Broncos had an insanely bad game. In addition to the 10 touchdowns, if you check the play-by-play you’ll see a lot of chunk plays that were successful too. Their defense wasn’t ready for Miami, plain and simple. The Dolphins had 12 total drives (technically 14 but I mentally subtract two of these at the end of each half). Of those 12, eight lasted less than two minutes. Six of those eight were touchdowns. If the Buffalo Bills can’t hold the score significantly lower it’ll be a major shock.
That said, Miami found ways to move the ball and score points. Some of the play designs were pretty inspired and the execution was admirable. A lot of the team returns from last year, and last season they caused the Bills some stress. Want the real short version?
Neither Bills fans nor Dolphins fans should expect to see a repeat of their team’s Week 3 results. Miami ain’t dropping 70 on Buffalo and the Bills ain’t keeping the Dolphins to three. I’m confident in the Buffalo Bills, but this looks to be a much tougher test.