ReFo: Bills @ Dolphins, Week 11
Ultimately the key differences between the two teams were the ineffective play of Kyle Orton (who struggled to hit anything more than a check down) and the decisive running of Lamar Miller (who capitalized on any opportunity the Bills gave him). In a game where both defenses were on top for long periods that defined the contest and allowed Miami to leave Buffalo playoff push on its last legs.
Let’s take a look at some of the key performances.
Buffalo Bills: Performances of Note
Kyle Orton, QB: -5.6
Breakdown: It wasn’t pretty. Orton had been fairly effective since replacing EJ Manuel but was anything but here. Faced with pressure on 14 dropbacks he capitulated, and even when afforded a clean pocket he couldn’t connect on anything downfield.
Signature Stat: Completed just 3-of-8 passes attempted over 10 yards in the air.
Mario Williams, DE: +5.6
Breakdown: You can only beat what is put in front of you, and in that regard Williams did all that could be asked of him. At times a feast or famine pass rusher, Williams tucked in to Dallas Thomas, picking up four sacks (two of which came on tight ends), one more hit and four hurries. Perhaps as impressive as the numbers was the speed and variation of how he beat Thomas all night long.
Signature Play: A play to make you jump out of your seat. Williams drove Thomas into Ryan Tannehill before sacking him with 5:36 to go in the game.
Erik Pears, RG: -3.9
Breakdown: Fresh off his first positive grade of the year, Pears came crashing back down to earth against the explosive Dolphins defensive line. It wasn’t that he was beat with an alarming regularity, but more that when he was beat it was often off the snap, causing plays to break down. He’s had a tough year and with the future in mind, is it time to blood some younger players with higher upside?
Signature Play: With 8:26 to go in Q2 Pears is beat so quickly off the snap at first take you think the quarterback is drifting in the pocket to set up a screen. A second viewing though eliminates any idea of that, with Randy Starks flying by the Bills right guard as if he’s not even there.
Miami Dolphins: Performances of Note
Lamar Miller, RB: +1.2
Breakdown: The Dolphins offensive line requires a back that can cut on a dime, with designed cutback lanes often impeded by up field penetration. For that they’re grateful for Miller, who is able to turn plays that look like they’re going nowhere, into drive builders. The only blot on his copybook was his usual subpar pass protection which will continue to keep him off the field on every down.
Signature Stat: 59.4% of Miller’s runs this year have come with an option look shown by the QB.
Ryan Tannehill, QB: -2.6
Breakdown: Not a vintage display from Tannehill who was efficient without being spectacular. Fumble was careless and he got away with a late dropped interception, but the bigger worry will be three deep ball attempts that resulted in three incompletions. Still, his stats look nice even if one touchdown owed to a nifty play design that confused the Bills defense into next week, and the other was all about Jarvis Landry.
Signature Stat: On passes thrown less than 20 yards in the air Tannehill went 26-of-30 for all 240 of his yards.
Reshad Jones, S: +4.7
Breakdown: It was like watching Jones in his breakout 2012 season all over again. It continues a trend of improving play from the Dolphins safety who made his biggest impact felt rushing the passer where he turned each pass rush into production, proving far too much trouble to pick up for any of the Dolphins defensive backs.
Signature Play: With 0:27 to go in Q3 Jones skirts around Bryce Brown to pick up a near hit on the quarterback, hurrying Orton into throwing what would be a dropped pass interception.
PFF Game Ball
He may have lost and had to contend with fewer bodies on him (unlike Cameron Wake) but Mario Williams made a big impact in this one.
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