By BBD Editor Mike Watkins
With the Bills squishing the Fish on national TV on Thursday night the weekend set up well for the Bills fans. The Bills defenses finally looked like we all expected and Jairus Byrd needs to be resigned before you finish reading this report.
-Buffalo came through with a big win against Miami on the national stage on Thursday night. It’s started off looking better than it finished but in the end the Bills got the W. Some things looked improved in this game but there is still a long way to go
-The Bills have an interesting decision to make with McKelvin in the offseason whom ignited the Ralph with a punt return in the first quarter. There has been no doubt since the day he was drafted that he can be a dynamic PR/KR. However as a CB, he is on his best day a decent nickel CB at best. So how much is that return ability worth to the Bills?
-The Bills just need to scrap the wild cat all together. It hasn’t been effective in a long time and has morphed into a mistake prone drive killing set for the Bills. Use Brad Smith for what he is and that is a WR who when in open space can make a play every now and then
-The Bills defense looked possessed in the first half of this game. They were firing off the ball and getting push where and when they wanted. Keep this effort going and things will turn around real fast on that side of the ball
-K.Moore and Mario Williams really took it to the Dolphins all game. If they didn’t get there in time they still made Tannehill throw it before he wanted to
-The NFL world finally got a glimpse of why Byrd should be considered one of the top S’s in the game today. He was all over the place Thursday night. You can expect him to be franchised in the offseason if a deal cannot be worked out before hand
-Mayock praised Gailey for the construction of his screen plays. I like the fact that this play has worked its way back into the Bills playbook after so many years where it was used sporadically at best. However in classic Chan fashion once something works once or twice he beats it to death until it becomes completely ineffective in the game. Chan needs to learn how to back off these play a little to keep the opposing team a little more on their heels
-The Bills finally started taking some shots deep. Now did they yield receptions for big gains? Obviously not, but what did happen was big penalties that helped the Bills move the ball down the field and that is just as good as a completion.
-Chan third down play calling has become real questionable this year, especially with the personal groupings. How can you not have Spiller in on every third down? Choice cut into to many of Spillers plays at important parts of drives. Even if Spiller is gassed get him out there, the opposing defense doesn’t know it and he can still be used as a decoy. I guarantee he will draw the attention of the opposing defense, which in turn will likely open something else up. Choice on the other hand will do none of that.
-Dareus finally decided to show up this game and hopefully it’s the start of him working his way out of the classic sophomore slump he is in
-Credit to the OL, they had their issues with Wake (every team does) but kept the rest of the Dolphins DL in check. They also controlled the LOS in the run game all night.
-I’m tired of seeing J.Rogers as the Nickel DB. Its time to give R.Brooks a shot there and kick down Rogers on the depth chart
-You want to know how little faith the Bills staff has in Fitzpatrick at the end of the game? When in their 4 minute offense they ran the ball three straight times. Now most of you are thinking to yourself isn’t that what your supposed to do? The answer is no, because in a 4 min offense the playbook is still open with passing plays. Yet they didn’t even trust Fitzpatrick to throw it even once where a first down takes a long shot victory by the Dolphins to a nearly impossible one
-Looking down the line the Bills have the second easiest remaining schedule left of teams in the wild card hunt only behind the Jets. So as crazy as it sounds the final game of the year could be a play in game for both teams. Make no mistake about it though, the Bills have to win out for even a chance of that. One misstep along the way and it shrinks to a sliver of hope. 2 more losses and they are done
-I don’t know what has happened to J.Long over the past 3 games but it has not been good. He was having real issues with K.Moore all game long, especially with his quick first step but more surprisingly with his bull rush move. It was not a good night for Long at all and if it keeps up it’s going to cost him some money heading into FA’cy
-The other Miami OT, J.Martin, had a long day as well but at least he is a rookie and had a horrible matchup for him with Mario Williams lined up against him. He does much better against speed than he does against power rushers
-There has to be something else going on with R.Bush and the coaching staff. RB’s with Bush’s skill set have been killing the Bills all year. You as a team have to know this. They needed to get him more involved early and its unexplainable how they bailed on him nearly completely
-The Dolphins DB’s had a tough night with the Bills WR’s. The one thing I can’t explain is the penalties on the deep balls. The Bills have not completed that at all this year so if your playing the odds you should just leave the WR alone figuring that 9 times out of 10 Fitzpatrick is going to over or under throw the ball. Again this is a preparation aspect of the game that the Dolphins coaching staff failed on
-You saw a glimpse of what bothers me about Tannehill and the main thing I didn’t like about him coming out. In the clutch moments of the game when the pressure gets amped up Tannehill tends to make a lot of questionable throws and decisions. Is it something that can be correctable? Maybe but it will be a long tough process
-The Jets defense came to play against the Rams on Sunday and was the reason why the game didn’t get away from the Jets when it looked like it would early.
-S.Hill has really regressed after a strong start to his rookie year. It’s not going to be long before the Jets just stop looking his way. Once the drops start its really hard to get them corrected, it becomes a mental problem
-M.Wilkerson is really coming on strong as of late and is actually making a case to be the Jets best defensive player in the absence of D.Revis. Every time the Jets make a big play on defense he seems to be involved one way or another
-B.Scott on the other hand is quickly becoming the weak link in the defense. He is owed 7 million next season, there is no way he is playing football with the Jets or any other team for that number next year.
-You’re going to hear people ranting and raving about Belichick decision to have Gronkowski in the game when he did but the bottom line is that the discussion has already happened for years and its not the way Belichick operates and he’s not going to change. It’s a waste of time to debate it because he is never going to change it.
-The Talib trade is already paying early dividends for the Patriots. Their secondary needed an influx of talent and while it still has a long way to go it’s in a much better position for the stretch run
-With both TE’s injured the Patriots are going to have to start running a more balanced offense. Which in turn may help them in the long run because while their passing game is excellent and will rack up a lot of W’s, they are most dangerous when they have that running game going.
-One more thing that should be noted is the play of the Patriots OL. It has been getting better week by week. If this continues the Patriots will once again be a very tough out in the playoffs and possibly favored to win the Super Bowl