BUF-MIA grades: Outstanding Ajayi leads Dolphins to win
[Editor’s note: This game recap was originally published on Sunday, Oct. 23, and updated on Tuesday, Oct. 25, to reflect changes made during our grading review process.]
Miami Dolphins 28, Buffalo Bills 25
Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Dolphins’ win over the Bills.
Quarterback grade: Ryan Tannehill, 74.2
With Miami putting the emphasis on the running game, Tannehill was not required to do much against the Bills. He had only 23 aimed passes and only 10 of them went 10 or more yards beyond the line of scrimmage. As a consequence, it was difficult for him to have a very remarkable performance. On the other hand however, he relatively struggled on deep passes and should have been picked off once when he misread the coverage, while Kenny Stills’ long game-winning touchdown play was more about the receiver adjusting to an underthrown football than Tannehill throwing a perfect pass.
Top offensive grades:
RB Jay Ajayi 95.5
G Laremy Tunsil 76.0
WR Kenny Stills 76.0
WR Jarvis Landry 75.8
OT Ja’Wuan James 72.7
Outstanding Ajayi leads Dolphins to win
Miami’s offensive line played well in pass protection, while Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Waun James also earned high run-blocking marks. The star of the day, however, was second-year running back Jay Ajayi, who ran for more than 200 yards and almost single-handedly won the game for the Dolphins. The former Boise State player was a nightmare to tackle for the Buffalo defenders, as he broke 10 tackles on 29 carries and averaged 4.4 yards after contact.
Top defensive grades:
DI Ndamokung Suh 84.1
ED Cameron Wake 81.6
LB Donald Butler 80.8
ED Mario Williams 80.3
LB Kiko Alonso 79.9
Front seven gets the better of Buffalo’s offensive line
Miami must have envisioned games like this when they put together their front seven featuring some of the best defensive linemen of the past decade in Ndamokung Suh, Cameron Wake and Mario Williams. The three players combined to record 15 total pressures with two sacks, four hurries and eight hits and were dominant against the run too. Overall, Miami was able to put Buffalo QB Tyrod Taylor under pressure on 19 of his 38 dropbacks, which had its impact on the Bills’ signal caller. In addition, while Buffalo came into today’s game having one of the best run-blocking unit, Bills runners averaged only 1.4 inches before contact, which further highlights what kind of impact Miami’s front seven had on the game.
Quarterback grade: Tyrod Taylor, 84.5
Taylor is his usual self in nearly flawless performance
Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor was his usual self as he did not commit many mistakes and none of those were actually turnover-worthy throws. Furthermore, he had one of those accurate deep passes that are becoming his signature throws when he hit receiver Marquise Goodwin in stride for a long touchdown pass. In addition, Taylor was inaccurate on only one of his 14 passes that travelled less than 20 yards.
Top offensive grades:
TE Charles Clay 73.0
WR Justin Hunter 70.0
G Richie Incognito 69.3
WR Marquise Goodwin 69.3
RB Reggie Bush 69.0
Surrounding cast unable to help Taylor
Buffalo’s offensive line had its worst game this season as they struggled both in pass protection and in opening lanes for the running backs. Right tackle Jordan Mills struggled the most in pass protection as he surrendered two sacks and four quarterback hurries. In addition, the unit failed to help Buffalo’s running game as 66 of the Bills’ 67 rushing yards came after contact. Furthermore, the wide receivers were unable to make big plays. Excluding, Goodwin’s long touchdown reception, Buffalo pass catchers gained only 12 of the Bills’ 154 receiving yards after the catch.
Top defensive grades:
LB Zach Brown 83.8
DI Kyle Williams 83.5
DI Leger Douzable 80.3
ED Lorenzo Alexander 79.8
CB Stephon Gilmore 77.6
Missed tackles lead loss
Buffalo struggled all afternoon to bring Miami players to the ground as 10 different Bills defenders combined to miss a total of 16 tackles. Although the defensive line, especially Leger Douzable and Kyle Williams, made some plays in the running game, the linebackers were unable to take advantage of defensive linemen occupying blockers. Also, edge rusher Lorenzo Alexander continued his impressive form as he had another excellent performance against Miami. Alexander led the Bills in total pressures as he recorded a sack, a quarterback hit and four quarterback hurries.
PFF Game Ball: Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi, 95.5
PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.