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Throw the Dolphins on the Pile


Shaw66
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Image Credit: © BILL INGRAM-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Bills put up 35 points and shut out the Dolphins in Miami on Sunday.  In the old days, a win like that would have been cause for a multi-day celebration.  Maybe it’s just me, but it isn’t the same any more.  I mean, it’s always fun to beat the Dolphins, but they’ve been nearly as irrelevant as the Bills for a long time. 

 

Plus, Sean McDermott has been teaching me to see the season the way he sees it:   We’re going to spend six weeks getting ready to play, and then we’re going to play for 18 weeks.   The object of playing those 18 weeks is build a team that’s good at everything in December and to pile up wins any way we can, so that we make the playoffs and ideally have the home field for some or all of them.  Each game is different, with different matchups with different talent and different skill sets.   If you win, throw it on the pile and move on.  If you lose, just move on.   In either case, you learn something about what you do well and what you do poorly, and you continue to work on both.

 

And so it is that I’m just not all that excited about the win over the Dolphins.  For that matter, I wasn’t very upset about the loss to the Steelers.  Just learn some lessons and go back to piling up wins.  That’s exactly what the Bills did after the Steelers game.  Along the way against the Dolphins they showed some flashes of what they could be, and they discovered some weaknesses.  And, oh, by the way, they shut out the Dolphins!!!

 

Sean McDermott has been teaching me to see the games the way he sees them, too:  Some things will go right, some won’t, you’ll score some, you’ll go cold some, and at the end of the game, you may be coasting, you may be whipped, or you’ll need to make plays to win.  No reason to get too excited early in the game, or get upset.  Do your best and see what you have coming down the stretch.

 

Coming down the stretch against the Dolphins, the Bills had a laugher.  The only thing that mattered was that the reserves would preserve the shutout, and they did.  Put the win on the pile and move on. 

 

Was it a blowout?  No, or at least it didn’t feel like one.  Why not?  Because the Bills looked, alternately, very good and then ineffective.  They fumbled, they threw interceptions, they went three and out.   They lit it up with big plays on their first two drives, and then there was nothing for a long stretch.  They had an opportunity to grab the game and make it theirs at the end of the first half, and they got nothing.  Then a beautiful touchdown drive after halftime made it 21-0, and the Bills coasted home. 

 

The ups and downs of the offense didn’t matter all that much, of course, because the Bills defense came to play, and they just weren’t going to allow the Dolphins to compete.  They sacked Tua and Brissett six times and pressured them on countless other plays.  The defense gave up a play here and there, but not often enough for the Dolphins to sustain any kind of offense.  Averages don’t mean much of anything after only two games, but check the stats: the Bills defense is second in the league in yards allowed, and second in points allowed.  Of course, they haven’t played anyone you’d call an offensive powerhouse.

 

MozJPEG USATSI_16786755.jpg

© Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

 

The Bills got great pressure on the quarterback, rushing four and five defenders.  Which four and five?   Well, that’s the problem for the opponent to worry about.  Sometimes the safeties are featured.  Against the Dolphins, it was White and Taron Johnson.  There’s always a mix of linebackers who might be coming.  The Bills defensive ends often are back in in the short passing zones.

 

Who stood out on defense?   Easier to ask who didn’t?   Everyone’s name was called sooner or later.  Hughes and Oliver were relatively quiet, but they helped create the relentless pressure that came from the outside.  Lotulelei and Zimmer made plays in the middle, Addison was a constant disrupter.  Both Milano and Edmunds were active blitzing, chasing down ball carriers, defending passes.  Taron Johnson stood out.  Dane Jackson’s tackle on 4th and 2 was fabulous.

 

Rousseau and Epenesa deserve special mention.  Epenesa was relentless, showing surprising power to go with the shiftiness we saw some of last season.  He played like he was determined to make a difference in the game on every play.  It was an impressive show.  If it was a sign of things to come, well, it’s going to be fun, because the guy on the other side is going to be Rousseau.

 

Rousseau’s not overpowering people, at least not yet, but he has uncanny ability to pursue effectively.   He’s always on his feet, always moving.  In stunts, he just picks his way through bodies to find a seam.  When teams run away from him, he pursues cross-field, behind the line of scrimmage.  The result is that he’s always around the ball, and when he gets there, he gets his hands on the ball carrier or quarterback.  Over and over, he’s there.  He maintains his gap discipline, and he looks comfortable dropping into pass coverage.  He’s already a threat, and as he gets stronger and more experienced, he will be a force. 

 

The Bills’ offense, on the other hand, is not 2nd, or 5th, 10th in yards or points.  The Bills’ offense is still trying to figure it out. 

 

The offensive line is certainly trying to figure it out.  While the defensive line recovered from the Steelers by playing better (granted, in part because this week it was, well, the Dolphins), the offensive line seemed to survive this week only because it was, well, the Dolphins.  Manhandled by the Steelers, they stood up better this week, but no one would call them dominant.  Sunday night, the Chiefs showed us what great pass protection looks like, and the Ravens showed us great run blocking.   The Bills’ offensive line didn’t show either.  The Bills’ philosophy seems to be to tell the running backs and the quarterback something like, “The guys up front are going to do the best they can; it won’t be pretty, but you have make the most of it.  If you find a hole, take it, and good luck with those linebackers.  Josh, find the open man and get the ball out, because you’re going to be on the run soon.” 

 

What’s needed to make the offensive line better?   A stud somewhere along the line would be nice, but no one is looking very studlike.  Dawkins and Feliciano seemed to hold up better this week, but they aren’t dominating.  Ford looks like he’s winning the battle at right guard, and maybe now we will begin to see something special from him.  Williams isn’t killing the Bills, but that’s faint praise.  I’m expecting that we’ll see more of Spencer Brown as the season progresses, in part because his education as a pro will continue, and in part because the Bills will be looking for more solid play at tackle. 

 

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© Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

 

Allen, of course, is the big, the big, the big what?   The big piece of the puzzle?  Absolutely.   He makes it all work.  The big mystery?   For sure.  Where did the 2020 Allen go?  What happened to all those lovely touch passes, right on the money?   He missed Sanders deep again.   He missed Diggs badly a couple of times.  Last season he was getting settled the instant before he threw and delivering balls to open receivers; now, everything seems to be happening in a hurry.  And his decision making seems shaky, too. 

 

What we’re seeing is the 2019 Allen, the Allen with potential, the Allen who makes special throws, like the touchdown to Knox, and then makes a head-scratcher. 

 

Mahomes, Murray, and Jackson have something Allen doesn’t have – the incredibly quick release from almost any arm position.  It’s amazing to watch them.  Allen can’t do all of that, but he can do things they can’t.  He can outmuscle defenders and use his arm strength to make throws that are truly special, like the touchdown to Diggs.  The others maybe make that throw, in part because Diggs was wide open, but Allen’s really special on a play like that. 

 

So, for Allen, it’s definitely “throw that win on the pile and get back to work.”  

 

With McDermott’s approach to the season, this is not the time the Bills are going to be dominant.  The Bills build to dominance through the season, trying to be good at everything, every week.  Under McDermott, the Bills know they will look ugly a few times in the first half of the season, but they hope to be the team no one wants to play in the second half.  By contrast, a team like the Ravens tries to be fantastic at one thing – running the ball, and hopes they can put together enough of a passing game to be multi-dimensional late in the season.  That’s why the Ravens tend to look good earlier than the Bills.

 

The Bills’ objective these days is to find a way to toss a win on the pile each week while they figure it all out.   It’s a little frustrating for fans to live through each week, but it’s the Bills’ style.  We’ve seen it before.  What’s encouraging is that this season, there’s so much talent, and McDermott is so good at what he does, that I expect to see a big pile of wins come December. 

 

 

Bilsfans.com - Shaw66

 

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9 minutes ago, Shaw66 said:

Epenesa was relentless, showing surprising power to go with the shiftiness we saw some of last season.  He played like he was determined to make a difference in the game on every play.  It was an impressive show.  If it was a sign of things to come, well, it’s going to be fun, because the guy on the other side is going to be Rousseau.

 

 

Thanks, Shaw. Terrific as usual.

 

To support your point above.

 

 

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Great write-up, @Shaw66

1. I don't get as upset about the losses or high about the wins as I used to, either (although if the Bills beat KC in KC that would definitely change). Is it my age? Or is it confidence in McDermott? Could be both.

2. The Bills defense has been terrific so far. If they can carry this on through the season into the play-offs, the sky is the limit.

3. The Bills offense needs to get in sync. Whether it is Josh's head ($250M is a lot to live up to), the receivers not getting separation or running correct routes, or the defense of the other teams, I don't know. I would like to see them go back to loosening up and having fun. Learn for the mistakes, and get in together.
 

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Crap Throwing Clavin
12 minutes ago, IDBillzFan said:

 

Thanks, Shaw. Terrific as usual.

 

To support your point above.

 

 

 

He had a great game...but at the same time, it's almost impossible to overstate how bad that blocking was on the play that flattened Tua.  I don't think the RT even blocked the breeze of AJ running by him.

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Thank you for the write up @Shaw66.

I prefer to glorify the wins and lament the losses as a fan.  I just try not to let the ups and downs linger past Monday morning. 

 

And if we're throwing losers onto a pile then please consider that the pile should be flaming cow manure soaked in kerosene :beer:.

 

 

 

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Well done, once again @Shaw66. Obviously, we will only go as far as Josh can lead us. It’s a QB league. While he has looked shaky so far, this year we KNOW he can do it. We’ve SEEN him do it for an entire year. Whatever the issue(s) might be (the contract and high expectations, poor OL play, crowds in the stand, time to figure out the scheme, etc), I feel pretty confident he’ll regain that form as the season moves along. I was told, but did not witness, he was throwing up on the sidelines against the Steelers early. Relax, it’s the same game you excelled at last season. Like golf, you need to have things right between your ears and play with confidence. 

 

I am probably WAY too excited about Rousseau! But I hope not…. The guy is everywhere and is only going to get better as he plays more football. Not just games in the NFL, but just plain football! He’s clearly got a knack for making big plays and sacks, and he’s fun to watch. One seemingly ordinary play stood out to me yesterday. He’s lined up at LDE and starts left at the snap to keep contain. They run right behind that tackle and the hole looks ENORMOUS while I’m bracing to get gashed. At the last second he sticks his long arm out there and gets his giant hands on the RB…play over. The sacks are flashy and awesome, but that one play gave me a greater appreciation for what this guy can do.  

 

The D is allowing only 8 points/game so far. I know it’s early, but with a D playing like that the offense should have time to find their groove. Last year’s offense with this defense could have a deep run! 

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1 hour ago, Augie said:

Well done, once again @Shaw66. Obviously, we will only go as far as Josh can lead us. It’s a QB league. While he has looked shaky so far, this year we KNOW he can do it. We’ve SEEN him do it for an entire year. Whatever the issue(s) might be (the contract and high expectations, poor OL play, crowds in the stand, time to figure out the scheme, etc), I feel pretty confident he’ll regain that form as the season moves along. I was told, but did not witness, he was throwing up on the sidelines against the Steelers early. Relax, it’s the same game you excelled at last season. Like golf, you need to have things right between your ears and play with confidence. 

 

I am probably WAY too excited about Rousseau! But I hope not…. The guy is everywhere and is only going to get better as he plays more football. Not just games in the NFL, but just plain football! He’s clearly got a knack for making big plays and sacks, and he’s fun to watch. One seemingly ordinary play stood out to me yesterday. He’s lined up at LDE and starts left at the snap to keep contain. They run right behind that tackle and the hole looks ENORMOUS while I’m bracing to get gashed. At the last second he sticks his long arm out there and gets his giant hands on the RB…play over. The sacks are flashy and awesome, but that one play gave me a greater appreciation for what this guy can do.  

 

The D is allowing only 8 points/game so far. I know it’s early, but with a D playing like that the offense should have time to find their groove. Last year’s offense with this defense could have a deep run! 

I'm with you there.  He's a HUGE dude...but he's got some instincts and he's actually pretty good on the move at adjusting to get where he needs to go.  Most guys that big struggle to move their hips/change directions but he keeps his base well and that length is unreal.

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2 minutes ago, Alaska Darin said:

I'm with you there.  He's a HUGE dude...but he's got some instincts and he's actually pretty good on the move at adjusting to get where he needs to go.  Most guys that big struggle to move their hips/change directions but he keeps his base well and that length is unreal.

 

I think one of his sacks came after he dropped into coverage. We rushed several other defenders but Brissett escaped. I think he was still behind the LOS when #50 cleaned things up. Very impressive movement for a guy that size!  

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Crap Throwing Clavin
32 minutes ago, Augie said:

 

I think one of his sacks came after he dropped into coverage. We rushed several other defenders but Brissett escaped. I think he was still behind the LOS when #50 cleaned things up. Very impressive movement for a guy that size!  

 

I don't recall if it was a sack or not (remember the tackle, just not where w/r/t the LOS), but I recall the play you're talking about.  My initial reaction was "What the &#%$ is the Philosopher doing in zone coverage?"  It was a pretty good play he made.

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2 hours ago, Augie said:

Well done, once again @Shaw66. Obviously, we will only go as far as Josh can lead us. It’s a QB league. While he has looked shaky so far, this year we KNOW he can do it. We’ve SEEN him do it for an entire year. Whatever the issue(s) might be (the contract and high expectations, poor OL play, crowds in the stand, time to figure out the scheme, etc), I feel pretty confident he’ll regain that form as the season moves along. I was told, but did not witness, he was throwing up on the sidelines against the Steelers early. Relax, it’s the same game you excelled at last season. Like golf, you need to have things right between your ears and play with confidence. 

 

I am probably WAY too excited about Rousseau! But I hope not…. The guy is everywhere and is only going to get better as he plays more football. Not just games in the NFL, but just plain football! He’s clearly got a knack for making big plays and sacks, and he’s fun to watch. One seemingly ordinary play stood out to me yesterday. He’s lined up at LDE and starts left at the snap to keep contain. They run right behind that tackle and the hole looks ENORMOUS while I’m bracing to get gashed. At the last second he sticks his long arm out there and gets his giant hands on the RB…play over. The sacks are flashy and awesome, but that one play gave me a greater appreciation for what this guy can do.  

 

The D is allowing only 8 points/game so far. I know it’s early, but with a D playing like that the offense should have time to find their groove. Last year’s offense with this defense could have a deep run! 

AJ and Rousseau have been playing so great that Jerry has not had to be the man. He can eventually ride off into the sunset knowing the team is in a good place. 

As far as the O goes, I am not thinking that #1 is their #2 wide receiver. Davis was injured week 2 but when he is ready to go I want to see him get more looks. 

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3 hours ago, Fansince88 said:

AJ and Rousseau have been playing so great that Jerry has not had to be the man. He can eventually ride off into the sunset knowing the team is in a good place. 

As far as the O goes, I am not thinking that #1 is their #2 wide receiver. Davis was injured week 2 but when he is ready to go I want to see him get more looks. 

 

Jerry has made a BOAT LOAD of money since the Colts considered him a borderline bust and shipped him to us for peanuts. He should be VERY happy with the way his career turned out. 

 

As for WR, we have some solid very options. I feel like Beasley is underutilized at times. He’s that safety blanket for Josh against the right (usually zone) defense. I guess teams know that, but I LOVE Davis as an option. Was very happy to see he was active, but curious how close to 100% he really was. Praying we get the offense rolling like last year, and even this preseason (I know, I know….) 

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The O will come along.  The people that are so judgmental of Josh play-to-play need to settle down.  He's still a BIG kid out there having fun (hopefully having fun!)  He's still growing into himself, has been judged, week-to-week, season-to-season, on different things he 'needs to improve upon'.  He's improved, year-over-year, each year he's been in the league.  Cut the guy some slack;  he'd be hard-pressed to improve upon last year;  as would Mahomes, or Jackson.  Give JA some time, and he'll get the feel for his new crew of toys to play with.  He's still a BIG kid, and he's figuring it out.  Those that are so bent out of shape about a sub-200-yard passing day;  chill.  The 400's will come, and the average will be what it is.  Let the team win as a team, as they find one another; this year and the years to come!

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16 hours ago, Alaska Darin said:

I'm with you there.  He's a HUGE dude...but he's got some instincts and he's actually pretty good on the move at adjusting to get where he needs to go.  Most guys that big struggle to move their hips/change directions but he keeps his base well and that length is unreal.

 

Not sure if this will make sense due to my lack of Xs and Os knowledge, but the dude makes those shoelace-like tackles that were missed last year. Those extra few inches of reach are bringing people down, and when you see it in action, you better understand the role they need him to play to beat the Chiefs. (Finally getting Moss and Singletary and Josh running against them like the Ravens did will help as well, I suspect).

 

 

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On 9/20/2021 at 11:58 AM, Ann said:

 Great write-up, @Shaw66

1. I don't get as upset about the losses or high about the wins as I used to, either (although if the Bills beat KC in KC that would definitely change). Is it my age? Or is it confidence in McDermott? Could be both.

2. The Bills defense has been terrific so far. If they can carry this on through the season into the play-offs, the sky is the limit.

3. The Bills offense needs to get in sync. Whether it is Josh's head ($250M is a lot to live up to), the receivers not getting separation or running correct routes, or the defense of the other teams, I don't know. I would like to see them go back to loosening up and having fun. Learn for the mistakes, and get in together.
 

You mentioned everything getting into Josh Allens head and I think this is very possible. From what I understand new plays were introduced to the O on Saturday the day before the game. Running plays established by the coaching staff. We know how much Josh preaches team this, team that, its always team comes 1st with him.

 

Myself personally though Ann, I'm not a bit worried about Josh Allen. I think the last 3 opponents have game planned the Bills WR's out of the equation. Safetys are laying back to prevent Allens long range laser shots from happening. Counter punching back Buffalo gashed them with a run game that was unexpected. Singletary shoots past the 1st line of defense and its off to the races. Clocked at over 20 mph showing speed we have never seen before.

 

To me more positives came out of the game then negatives for the O because they overcome the obstacle in front of them with some smash mouth football. More physical, less finesse. I think Buffalo became a better O vs the Dolphins and Allen became a better QB IMO. Its not all about the pass . Its learning how to take what the D gives you. Something the veterans Rodgers and Brady have mastered over the years.   

 

Allen getting into the RB's faces like he did after big plays. These guys are ready to run through walls for him. The balanced attack destroyed any chance the Dolphins had of stopping Buffalo's O with strong secondary play.

 

Good job coaching  staff...

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19 hours ago, Figster said:

. Singletary shoots past the 1st line of defense and its off to the races. Clocked at over 20 mph showing speed we have never seen before.

 

can't understand why fans crap on Singletary

it's like any slug can run for 66 TDs in div 1

many of which were similar to the TD sunday

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3 hours ago, Spartacus said:

can't understand why fans crap on Singletary

it's like any slug can run for 66 TDs in div 1

many of which were similar to the TD sunday

I was one of them Singletary doubters. Wanted Harris who has done practically nothing so far for the Steeler running game. The transformation Singletary has undergone in just one off season amazes me. Its hard to believe I'm even watching the same player. I'm looking forward to eating lots of crow this season. 

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