Welcome to my new weekly feature: “Mr. B’s Breakdown,” where I break down the gameplay footage to determine the turning points in each Buffalo Bills game. With the NFL’s parity so high, the margin between wins and losses is very narrow, and the results can be traced back to several moments in the game that turned the tide for the winning team.
I hope to start my writing career at Buffalo Rumblings by analyzing the Bills’ solid win against the Miami Dolphins. Well, unfortunately, Buffalo recorded one in the L column against the Dolphins for the first time in nearly four years. Most shocking is Bill’s dominance on the stat sheet. Let’s take a deeper look at what happened on Sunday afternoon and discuss some issues that may or may not be of concern.
red zone attack
Buffalo’s offense has been an effective force in the red zone since quarterback Josh Allen came to One Bills Drive. In 2021, Allen’s red zone stats are: 72 of 129 attempts (56%) with 29 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He was famous for his first red-zone interception against the New Orleans Saints last Thanksgiving.
That success boosted the Bills to beat the team all the way — but didn’t show up against the Dolphins on Sunday. The Bills scored just three of five possessions deep in Miami territory, one of which was a field goal at the 11-yard line. With Buffalo so accustomed to scoring seven points at the end of games, Sunday’s results are sure to be disappointing. The turning point of the game came when Allen threw a poor ball to wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie near the goal line with less than two minutes to go. The conversion, it would have been 24-21, favored Buffalo. Allen made an unusual miss in the dirt at Hard Rock Stadium that kept the Bills from taking the lead.
Blame anything you want — tiredness from the heat, Allen’s apparent hand injury, poor footwork — but ultimately the winning game was left on grass.
It’s too early to sound the alarm bells on this team’s red zone offense this season, but they need to get better against the Baltimore Ravens, who are also AFC heavyweights.
The Dolphins deserve the credit they deserve, but most of the Bills’ losses can be blamed on their own mistakes. Take this game for example — it was probably one of the team’s biggest mistakes of the day. Miami put pressure on the scrimmage line with eight different players, left tackle Dion Dawkins was played cleanly by safety Jevon Holland, who took the ball away from Allen . The Dolphins recovered the ball with excellent positioning and turned it into a touchdown. In a two-point tiebreaker, it turned out to be a massive game-changer.
lady of milan
With nearly the entire starting secondary out and defensive line injuries piling up, the Bills need some game-changing play from the defensive mid lane. Linebackers Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds combined for nine tackles, no sacks and no interceptions. Milan almost repeated what he had done from Week 2, but ultimately gave up quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at the quasi-six. Great read by Milano, who diagnoses wide receiver Tyrek Hill’s sloping line as he traverses the lineup, but it’s empty. The waived pick would give the Bills a 10-point lead in the third quarter. A missed opportunity.
crush hold fine
The Bills drove with less than two minutes left in the game. Right tackle Spencer Brown was overcome with heat exhaustion, so David Quesenberry finished the game. Until 22 seconds left, the penalty didn’t make much of a difference on Sunday as a whole. At Nos. 2 and 10 at the Dolphins’ 44-yard line, Quessenberry waited for defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. The flag pushed the Bills back a crucial ten yards. As you can see in the highlight, at the top of the screen, it’s a blatant hold and correct call. Buffalo never recovered from the penalty and didn’t have time to try to recover 10 yards at :18.
Punishment is the drive killer. The Bills made just seven penalties for 52 yards, but that proved fatal timing.
No Poyer, no Hyde – almost no problem
It is well documented that the secondary school in Buffalo was destroyed due to injuries. With wide receivers Jaylen Waddell and Tyreke Hill lining up on rookie corners, there’s reason to worry. In the end, Bills secondary hero Tua Tagovailoa aired to just 186 yards. It was an explosive six-touchdown performance against the Baltimore Ravens.
It took nearly all four quarters, but Tua eventually connected with Waddell on a deep post in the middle of the field for 45 yards. Safety Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson played well throughout the game. It wasn’t until the 3rd and 22nd that Tua made a perfect pitch, breaking the safety and throwing the ball straight into Waddle’s chest. It was the only game I said that day: “If Hyde or Boyer were on the floor, this wouldn’t have happened.” Maybe when they gain more experience, so will Buffalo’s defensive depth.
The Bills ended both games with poor clock management. Tied at 14 without a timeout before halftime, Buffalo had a 3 and SHORT near halftime. After finishing wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie twice, Allen lined up for the smash, but missed on the smash, turned and threw to Stephen Diggs. If Allen tries to hit a throbbing snap, the rules say it can be called a deliberate grounding or fumbling. The pass was nearly caught by cornerback Xavien Howard, who could have gone the other way and taken the six. Diggs caught and ran for 15 yards as the game was zero. No points and wasted possessions went into the half.
Then, at the end of the fourth quarter, the Bills scored 20th and 20th with 47 points after Quessenberry’s free throw. Trailing by two points without a timeout, Allen passed the ball to McKenzie, who was unable to go out of bounds. tick tock, won the clock. Allen failed to smash and the game was over. That extra timeout will make a world of difference.
Buffalo had to face a two-minute practice situation without a timeout after burning two balls in the previous possession to put the Dolphins out three in the final game. Their first timeout was used earlier to prevent the offense from delaying the game. Zack Moss smashed a career-long 43-yard run as Allen tried to get the offensive unit ready for the offense. Allen yelled on offense as the game wore on, and tight end Dawson Knox looked confused on the line of scrimmage. The game clock was zeroed and a flag was thrown, but the referee allowed Bill to use a timeout instead of flagging them. Buffalo desperately needed a timeout late in the game. While it may be a small moment, the devil is in the details — the details that could make the Bills win.
Clock management issues can be solved with more preparation, communication and general game awareness. The level of concern for the future is low, but I would say the schedule is tougher this season and the Bills still have work to do to get the win at close range. Their last seven losses have all come in one game, so something has to pay. Improvements can be made, and we’ll find out next time Buffalo play in a close game if they learned from their mistakes.
When a team has 497 yards on offense (447 of which are Josh Allen) and the defense keeps such an explosive offense at 21 points, your first thought is “how much did the Bills win? ?” Considering how the game went, the Dolphins won a rare win. Benjamin Solak Buffalo is the fourth team in NFL history to lose a game with more than 450 yards offense, more than 40 minutes with the ball, and one or fewer turnovers, the tweet said. The last team to lose such a game was the Bills against the Dolphins in Week 16 in 2016. (Fun fact: This is a game with only ten men on the floor for Rex Ryan in overtime.) Ann Waring Also shared this stat: “For the past 16 years, NFL teams are 2-106 when they lead at least 275 yards. Two wins include the 2020 Dolphins against the Rams and this 2022 Bills team against the Dolphins.”
Buffalo is the fourth team in NFL history to lose:
1) Has an offense over 450 yards
2) Hold the ball more than 40 times to mute
3) One or fewer mistakes
The last team to lose a game like this?
bill. against dolphins. Week 16 of 2016. pic.twitter.com/hMffZFbPaK
— Benjamin Sorak (@BenjaminSorak) September 26, 2022
All in all, the Bills should no longer be playing in 90-degree heat this season. Plus, the team’s injured players will return (17 players are on the injured list after the game), and Allen will continue to be the superstar who keeps the Bills every game. The Dolphins got the win, but it was close. I think Buffalo lost more of this game than Miami won, and that leaves hope for the future.
With some of those mistakes cleaned up and home-court advantage for the Bills next time around, the Dolphins shouldn’t expect the same result at Highmark Stadium in December.
Which game do you think will hurt the Bills the most against the Dolphins? Leave a comment and let me know.
You can also watch our shows: Not another Buffalo podcast Join my co-hosts Jon and Pat every Wednesday and Friday to cover the bill and discuss sports betting for the football weekend ahead.