Tale Of The Tape: Buffalo Bills At Miami Dolphins
- QuarterbackThe Bills signed and started Thad Lewis at the quarterback position last week and he did a good enough job to allow his team to come back from a double-digit deficit and force the game into overtime. While it was an exciting moment for Lewis, he suffered a sprained foot. Lewis threw two TD passes and ran for another score, but his injury could limit his effectiveness.A week off should help Ryan Tannehill get ready for his division rivals. Tannehill is usually in sync with his receivers and he understands what head coach Joe Philbin wants to do with the offense. He is competing 62.6 percent of his passes, but he is not going to beat opponents with big plays. His 6-5 TD-interception ratio is not good enough if this team is going to make the playoffs.
- OffenseThe Bills have a slew of offensive weapons, that could allow them to become a credible offensive team. Running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are a solid combination. Spiller is the better breakaway threat, while Jackson combines his speed with power. While Robert Woods did not have a big game against Cincinnati, he has shown his ability to make big plays.The Dolphins would like to get more of a contribution from their running game. Lamar Miller works hard but he lacks the special characteristics needed to take pressure off of Tannehill. Miami has a decent crew of receivers. Brian Hartline knows how to get open and he has very reliable hands. Speedy Mike Wallace can get emotional, but he is a good deep threat. Charles Clay is a key factor on third-down plays.
- DefenseThe Bills have been quite inconsistent on the defensive side of the ball. Linebacker Kiko Alonso has the speed and instincts to make tackles all over the field. He also has excellent hands, as demonstrated by his four interceptions. Defensive end Mario Williams is a powerful pass rusher who can dominate with his power and quick first step. He has 8.0 sacks through the Bills’ first six games.The Dolphins have solid defensive personnel, but they have not played up to their standards so far. They rank 25th overall and 24th against the pass. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe has a team-high 40 tackles and he also has two fumble recoveries. Free safety Reshad Jones has 31 tackles, 1 interception and three passes defense.
- Special TeamsThe Bills have struggled in their kickoff and punt coverage this year, but veteran Jim Leonhard is capable of sneaking through the creases and making big plays despite his lack of speed. Dan Carpenter has been a solid placekicker, but punter Shawn Powell’s punts lack height and are quite returnable.The Dolphins have been solid with their coverage teams this season, and they are waiting for Marcus Thigpen to provide an explosive return. Placekicker Caleb Sturgis has made 10-of-11 FG attempts, including 2-of-3 from 50 yards and beyond. Punter Brandon Fields has a powerful leg.
The Bills have played with excellent effort for rookie head coach Doug Marrone, but it’s nearly impossible to win when you are playing your third-team quarterback. The Dolphins have no excuses here since they are coming off a bye week and they are playing at home. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor