© Jamie Germano / USA TODAY NETWORK
Somewhere between the drought and today, we all got a little spoiled. On some level, it's natural when you have the 2nd highest-paid QB in the league and made it to the AFC Championship game last year. But as we saw this week, where the Jets beat the Bengals, and the Chargers lost to the Patriots, every week presents new challenges which can be amplified within your division. Even on a seven-game winning streak against the Dolphins, they've played us tough enough to where we needed to recover onside kicks to seal the game on multiple occasions. While we want 40-0 games every week, the other team gets paid too. While the first half of the game wasn't great, I am going to choose and appreciate that we figured it out at half and scored on our last four drives to put the Dolphins away, yet again.
1 - Beasley - I've been on the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it train," questioning the targeting of Sanders so much and rushing attack dedication. Last year, we beat teams down with Diggs, Beasley, and Davis but seemed to want to abandon that success. However, I have to remind myself that, like with the Chiefs, the NFL will adapt to those in the spotlight, and we didn't win the Super Bowl last year. Change needs to happen if we are going to make that next step. Now that I've wasted so many words not even talking about Beasley let me bring it back to our offensive MVP of this game. After a terrible first half, Allen and the offense switched back to our old ways, which is to feed Beasley all over the field until the rest of the defense starts to adjust. And, if they don't adapt, keep feeding Beasley. With a dominating 100+ yard receiving effort, Beasley was the go-to guy on all downs and helped the entire offense get into a groove. While he didn't find the endzone, he was the difference-maker on the field.
2 - Oliver - Like many, I've been slow to warm up to Ed but have seen a turnaround from him this season. I don't know that he's performed at a top 10 pick talent, but the improvement has been there. Even with that, it makes no sense why the Dolphins didn't even try to block him on a few plays. Oliver was an absolute force in this game and was chasing Tua all over the field. Speaking of Tua, who I don't want to give his own, though, have you ever seen a more lucky QB who repeatedly threw up prayers off his back foot and had them completed? There were at least three plays where most QB's would get intercepted for trying that crap, but he kept getting away with it. That first half could have been a lot worse for the Dolphins had those passes gone the other way.
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
3 - Tre - While Oliver was strong, Tre gets the defensive MVP for me. While Parker had a good game, the majority of his catches came from the slot, which still blows my mind why more NFL teams don't adjust to that motion set. Regardless, Tre not only was solid in coverage, but he was laying some hits too. I don't know what got him so fired up, but this might have been the most dominant game I've seen by him this season in both coverage and as a tackler.
4 - You can spend your time alone re-digesting past regrets
Or you can come to terms and realize you're the only one who can't forgive yourself
Makes much more sense to live in the present tense
5 - Offensive Line - The Dolphins clearly had a defensive strategy for the Bills, and it revolved around bunching four defensive linemen between the tackles. For the most part, it worked in getting Josh to leave the pocket or throw quickly, but the offensive line overall seemed to have a poor day. Interestingly enough, even with Spencer out, Cody Ford still didn't get the start, leading many and myself to believe that his days in Buffalo are over once that contract expires or any trade offer comes along. Josh didn't look comfortable in the pocket, and you saw him visibly upset on the sidelines, which is very rare to see (but awesome). As we all know, we will face strong front four teams in the playoffs, and this is something we need to fix.
© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
6 - With great risk comes great exposure - Unlike previous weeks, Frazier was sending a 5th blitzer on quite a few plays. While the pressure got to Tua, he found a way to get the ball out and offset the blitz for most of the first half. TJ played on the line and ran free from the outside on most calls. We scaled back in the second half, and we saw Addison, Groot, and Hughes start to hit home a little more. I'm not sure why Frazier dialed up the DB blitzes versus the usually effective Milano blitz, but it seemed like this approach backfired a bit.
7 - Allen - First off, garbage time or not, congrats to Josh for tying Cam's rushing record through his 50 games. When I think about how much of a rushing force Cam was in his first four years, it's crazy to think that Josh matched that. Allen had a rough start to this game, and it showed on his face. I know the weather was good, but it looked like Allen was struggling with his grip and just missing on his throws. A quick dose of Beasley straightened things out for him, and he finished with an overall good stat line. I will definitely be watching GMFB to see if Allen made the angry runs list after an absolutely punishing run through Miami defenders. Also, on the first touchdown pass to Gabe, Allen showed off how strong he was by fighting through defenders before making the pass. It was really impressive. However, Josh let his frustration let him try some hero ball, and it was almost very costly. We can't have that, Josh. Trust yourself and your team, and don't give up the dumb plays which could have led to an entirely different outcome.
8 - Special Teams - I'm not going to focus on the Haack shank, but I will acknowledge it. McKenzie also got in his scare on the muffed punt that easily could have been 6 for the Dolphins. Instead, I'm going to talk about Bass-O-Matic. While I know he has the leg to make a 57 yarder; I was still surprised McD sent him out to try. It looked a little rough off his foot, and it squeaked in, but good is good. For a guy who had everyone on the ledge at the beginning of last season, it's awesome to watch this kid keep making kicks.
© Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
9 - The Hughes Curse - Maybe the refs know that Hughes' tenure with the Bills is coming to an end, and they need to find their next victim, but please leave Groot alone. Can someone tell me how Groot gets his helmet ripped off on a play, but there's no penalty for hands to the face. There was another flag picked up that the video replay cleared showed a similar call ignored, and honestly, it looks like the Bills front four were getting manhandled in this game. I know that every fan cries foul, and I'm not one to normally be that person, but this was a bad game for the refs where "letting them play" gave the Dolphins a clear disadvantage.
10 - The Bad Guys? - We've been at the bottom of the league and disrespected for so long that it's strange to think of other teams hating our smugness. Seeing Allen waving goodbye to Dolphins defenders caught me in the moment. I've seen him spin the ball at defenders or flex his arms out, but it usually seemed like him hyped up in the moment. In this case, I will admit that Josh was taunting. Granted, there's been some brief fighting between players, and Josh was very heated earlier in the game. After winning 7 in a row, with many of them blowouts, I can see where the Dolphins are starting to feel a certain way about the Bills. I'm not sure I know how to feel about it. It's very unfamiliar territory.
Like the game itself, this review felt a little off. Anyways, off to the Jaguars, which I will be in attendance for.
BillsFans - Virgil