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The Miami Dolphins defense looked like a juggernaut. Granted it was against a Bills offense with limited talent. The Dolphins held the Bills to 166 total yards, 116 passing yards, 50 rushing yards, 9 first downs, 10 points and 3.1 yards per play on offense. Additionally, the Bills were 3 of 14 on 3rd downs (21%). The Bills also only had the ball for 23:07. Free agent acquisition Karlos Dansby had 8 tackles and 1 sack. Cameron Wake and Koa Misi added their first sacks of the season. Other notable contributors were Yeremiah Bell, who also had 8 tackles, Chris Clemons, who was all over the field. He had 6 tackles and a near pick. Jason Allen started at corner back helped hold Dolphin-killer Lee Evans to 4 catches for 34 yards.Mike Nolan's defense was able to bring consistent pressure at Trent Edwards, even when only rushing 3 or 4 men. The blitzes were creative.
On offense, the running game was effective, with the double-headed monster of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Ronnie had 13 carries for 65 yards and 1 TD. Ricky Williams chipped in with 62 yards on 18 carries. Brandon Marshall and Devone Bess did all the heavy lifting in the passing game, catching 8 and 6 passes respectively. The yardage wasn't impressive, with Marshall only getting 53 yards and Bess 51. Anthony Fasano also contributed 3 catches for 46 yards including a great catch down the middle that put the Dolphins on 1st and goal at the 1. The offensive was able to convert 8 out of 18 3rd downs (44%).
Tyrone Culver gave up the only significant play of the game by the Bills. It was a 31 yard TD catch by Roscoe Parrish. Culver was supposed to be in a cover 3, but seemed to get sucked in for some reason and let Parrish get by him.
Brian Hartline laid goose eggs across the line. In a game in which Brandon Marshall was getting so much attention, Hartline should have taken advantage, but instead didn't show up in the stat sheet.
Chad Henne had an uneven game. While he did not throw any interceptions, he missed a huge throw to Brandon Marshall and was off on some other passing plays. Clearly, work needs to be done by Henne to tighten some things up. He also needs to get rid of the ball quicker. He had plenty of time all day. All the sacks the Bills got were caused by Henne holding onto the ball too long.
Brandon Fields and Dan Carpenter need to get it together. Carpenter missed a field goal and kicked a kick off out of bounds. But also hit two other field goals and kicked two kick offs into the endzone. Fields had a beautiful punt that landed inside the 1. But he also flatlined a couple of other punts, giving the Bills opportunities to return the kicks.
Some of Dan Henning's playcalling was questionable. Too many runs on first down and when the Dolphins decided to pass on first down, rather than line up and use playaction, they would empty the backfield and let the defense know a pass was coming. The whole point of running the ball effectively is to setup playaction to open up the passing game.
There is no threat of playaction with an empty backfield.
All in all, the Dolphins get out of Buffalo with a win. They are 1-0 for the first time in 6 years.
Next week comes a tough test against the Vikings in Minnesota. Will the offense progress in time to show up against the Vikings?