(CBSMiami)- The season opener for the Dolphins had some good and some bad. In a 21-11 loss to the Patriots, the defense allowed just 155 yards through the air and 21 points. But, they gave up 217 yards on the ground at a 5.2-yard-per-carry clip.
Offense was a bigger issue, with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for just 191 yards and three interceptions. And the running game was unable to get anything going, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. But, in limited action, running back Myles Gaskin showed some promise, averaging 4.4 yards per tote.
“The thing that jumps out is just how bad the Dolphins have been in September. They have now lost six straight,” said Hartstein. “And, I had to look this up and read it twice, by an average of 29.7 points. That’s not really encouraging in terms of the Dolphins.”
It doesn’t get any easier this Sunday, as the Dolphins host a Buffalo Bills team that dominated the New York Jets, 27-17, in Week 1. Hartstein notes that the Bills are a good road team as well having gone 6-0-2 against the spread last season.
Quarterback Josh Allen looked particularly effective, throwing for 312 yards and a pair of scores, building chemistry with new target Stefon Diggs to the tune of eight catches for 86 yards. The Bills defense, good last year, was stifling in Week 1, allowing just 52 rushing yards and 215 passing yards, while sacking Jets QB Sam Darnold three times and piling up 8.5 tackles for loss.
Though it’s easy to overreact to one week of games, Hartstein says in the Bills’ case, he believes “they are that good.” That makes the question for Sunday whether the Dolphins offense can show improvement against another strong defensive unit.
“The Dolphins, this is a game where I think they have to show improvement. They spent so much in free agency on defense. That didn’t really show up in Week 1 in New England. And, Ryan Fitzpatrick, three horrible interceptions including one in the end zone with a minute and a half to go that would have covered the game for Miami,” said Hartstein. “They only lost by 10 despite getting completely dominated. I think this is a week Miami shows improvement, and if they don’t, that could be it for Fitz as the starter.”
With rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa waiting in the wings, Fitzpatrick’s seat is likely to remain warm all season. All in all, the Bills enter as 5.5 point favorites.
“On paper, all of the trends and angles seem to favor Buffalo,” said Hartstein.
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