BUF-MIA grades: Outstanding Ajayi leads Dolphins to win

The biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Miami's win over the Buffalo Bills.

| 8 months ago
(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

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.

Miami Dolphins

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.

Buffalo Bills

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.

  • Tim Whitcomb

    Does Landry’s grade include the fact that he should be fined and/or suspended for his blatant cheap shot in the first half?

    • Jack

      I thought the Bills were suppose to be a tough team? But all I’m hearing is a bunch of whining. To me it didn’t even look like a cheap hit. Your defender just got the shit knocked out of him and went down like a sack of potatoes.

      • Matt

        Amazing how little you know the rules. It was a good game by Miami but you know jack all about what a clean hit and what isn’t.

        • DaStrongSKRAWN

          Mike Pereira said it was a clean hit

          • Matt

            We can pick and choose who said what but he was flagged for the hit and clearly launched himself at AWs head

          • DaStrongSKRAWN

            But he’s the VP of officiating so he has to be right. Crack blocks are legal and always have been. Not his fault the safety was lollygagging out there. I initially thought it was dirty but it seems it’s not.

          • corners

            agreed. It just looked bad.

            Hey, if it was a rb or a large te, but the slot wr crushed your safety.
            Might as well have been the kicker.

          • Mike

            Mike Pereira is an announcer on Fox which believe it or not is not close to being the VP of officiating. Also he didn’t say the hit was clean he said he shouldn’t have been ejected for it since that should only be for things like kicking and punching. Which again is a big difference.

      • Bob Barker

        Jack – Landry leveled him. I do not believe it was malicious as it does not appear his intent was to injure. That said, in the moment, he made a decision to go high when driving his shoulder into the players ribs would have been equally effective without the risk of injury. Launching yourself at a players head (only his left toe is contacting the turf when he makes contact) is absolutely fine worthy.

    • corners

      if it was a punt or kickoff, sure. But the guy wasnt looking when he was trying to make a play as Safety. Im surprised they threw the flag. The only cheap thing about it is he through his shoulder into it.

      Wait,are the bills really whining a slot wr destroyed their Saftey? Isnt that an embarsment?

      • Matt

        Landry is their number 1 receiver, don’t play it off like he’s anything but that.

        • Al Mili

          People interpret “number 1 WR” differently. Some use it as in your best WR, while others use it in terms of position on the field. Landry is the star WR who plays in the the slot.

      • Mike

        The safety who was nearly paralyzed last year and has some serious neck concerns. A lot of people thought he should’ve called it a career. But bashing him is cool.

        • Sergio A. Becerril

          If he’s not healthy enough to play then it’s his own damn fault to be on the field. Or the Bills’ doctors. Or their coaches. Or all of them.

          But bashing a clean player on a clean hit is cool.

          • Mike

            Sure that would be cool if that were true.

    • MaxPowar

      No, because PFF doesn’t grade controversy. Obviously.

      Anyway, the whining about Landry’s hit sure does sound similar to all the whining Hines Ward’s blocking used to provoke.

      Fans act like there’s some sort of unspoken rule that offensive skill-position players aren’t allowed to hit as hard as the defenders.

  • JJ Watt eat dirt

    “Struggled in run blocking”???
    Are yall drunk?

    • CountMahdrof

      Yet lazy sportswriters everywhere quote these ridiculous numbers as though they actually mean something. I come here for laughs like this one. I watched Pouncey and Tunsil execute perfect blocks to spring Ajayi (and Williams on his TD), but James (bad penalty again) gets the highest grade. Too silly.

    • corners

      go check out the grades they gace to the bills defense. You never would know they just gave up a 200 yard rushing gave fromt he scores their d-line and lbs got.

    • MaxPowar

      I don’t see the article saying anywhere that Miami’s line struggled in run-blocking. It only mentions Tunsil and James as doing *well* at it.

  • corners

    “, Bills runners averaged only 1.4 inches before contact, which further highlights what kind of impact Miami’s front seven had on the game.”

    Ima a dolphins fan,and this comment was stunning. This game kind of caught me off guard

  • corners

    How did the bills lbs and DL get such high grades after giving up 200+ yards rushing?

    top 3 grades went to lb and DL.Something seems off?