DAVIE (CBSMiami/AP) — The Miami Dolphins narrow win over the Buffalo Bills back in October left players on both teams upset about some of the physicality on the field.
As the Bills prepare for a rematch with the Dolphins and receiver Jarvis Landry, Buffalo’s cornerbacks aren’t backing off in their unfavorable opinion of the Miami receiver.
They still think Landry was way out of bounds with his block that ended the season for Bills safety Aaron Williams.
“We know it was a dirty hit,” cornerback Stephon Gilmore said.
“He’s just one guy that made a move that real professionals wouldn’t make,” cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman said.
The NFL judged the play in Week 7 harshly, too. Landry was fined $24,309 for an illegal crackback block that briefly hospitalized Williams with a neck injury, and concerns linger the play will end his career.
While Buffalo’s home game Saturday against Miami raised questions about payback, the Bills say it’ll be limited to the scoreboard.
“We go out there and get the win, that takes care of everything,” Gilmore said.
The Dolphins (9-5) would much prefer to focus on the score, given they have a chance to end a seven-season playoff drought this weekend.
If they beat the Bills, and Denver loses Sunday at Kansas City, Miami will clinch an AFC wild-card berth.
But if the Dolphins lose at Buffalo for the fifth year in a row, they will no longer control their playoff fate and will need help to make the postseason.
“Obviously we’re going to be tested in Buffalo,” Landry said Wednesday, “but it’s something we’re looking forward to.”
Landry has said Williams’ injury personally affected him, and acknowledged he needed to change his blocking technique after launching himself into Williams’ head.
Miami offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen noted Landry has not since had a similar penalty.
“We said that we love the aggressiveness, we just have to lower our target,” Christensen said.
“We certainly don’t want to hurt anybody, but you certainly want aggressive guys. To find wide receivers who will go downfield and throw their body around is rare.”
Bills receiver Sammy Watkins said he didn’t blame Landry for the block.
“It was not pretty,” Watkins said. “But the game of football is so vicious and nasty that if Aaron would’ve had that same chance, he probably would’ve laid him out, too.
“Landry probably could’ve took some of it off and still hit him, but you’re playing with so much emotion and adrenalin, so I can see why it happened.”
The play was a low point in another otherwise fine season for the Dolphins’ leading pass catcher, who has 82 receptions while topping 1,000 yards for the second year in a row.
“The best is yet to come,” Landry said. “Honestly, 1,000 yards was a goal I set out for myself individually. It’s something I expect to reach.”
A big chunk of that total came on one play last week against the Jets, when Landry turned a short pass into a career-long 71-yard score. The open-field dash clashed with his reputation as a possession receiver.
“I kind of laid to rest all those slow jokes,” he said. “Hopefully that’s dead now, and people will respect that I have a little speed.”
The score helped the Dolphins win for the eighth time in the past nine games, and in the first start for quarterback Matt Moore after Ryan Tannehill was sidelined by a knee injury.
While Miami has been building momentum, the Bills (7-7) are likely to sit out the postseason for the 17th year in a row.
They went into the first game against Miami with a 4-2 record, and in six games with Williams, their defense had 12 takeaways and allowed nine touchdowns. In eight games without him, they’ve had five takeaways and given up 25 touchdowns.
So hard feelings about Landry linger in part because the Bills have missed their veteran safety.
“The fact of the matter is Aaron hasn’t been able to return,” coach Rex Ryan said. “I hope it’s not his career. Those hits are what we’re trying to take out of the game.”
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