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About zanthrax54

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    Sacked! By yours truly!
  • Birthday 04/25/1984


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  1. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images A lotta laundry, but a good outcome of course Yeah, I know. Dropping 35 points on a division rival and allowing zilch in return is pretty cool and all. But what’s REALLY important is reducing offensive holding penalties. That’s where the real football discussions start! Let’s get to it. Standard and Advanced Metrics Penalty Counts When it comes to overall penalties called, the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins were neck and neck (right hand columns). There were a pair of offsetting flags, and two of the Bills’ infractions were declined. As a result, the “usual” stat of assessed count looks pretty skewed in Buffalo’s favor. As a philosophical discussion, a primary reason to worry about true count (all called penalties) is to look at tendencies. A quick glance suggests Buffalo improved over last week’s eight flags versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. When it comes to called, they only fell from ten to nine. The Bills so far really aren’t showing any indication of changed ways. Penalty Yards As expected, the assessed yards pretty closely follow the counts. The Dolphins gave up a lot more yards via penalty than the Bills did. True count adds in yards negated or otherwise impacted by penalty. This week we have a penalty harm failure, which I’ll elaborate on a bit below. It’s the reason for Buffalo’s “negative” yards impacted that gives us a smaller true yards bar than assessed. Penalty Harm Buffalo Bills Several of these don’t require much explanation. Dion Dawkins’s holding call was offset by one on Xavien Howard. Tre’Davious White’s defensive holding call was declined because the Dolphins preferred the 16 yards they had gained on the play to the five the flag would have granted. Justin Zimmer’s roughing call was declined due to Siran Neal’s defensive pass interference. Speaking of which, I had a request to take a look at Zimmer’s as it felt it might have been a bad call so here it is. The defender is allowed to make contact through their first step after the ball is released. I slowed it down frame-by-frame and I think Justin Zimmer is fine. Incidentally, this is why A.J. Epenesa was legally allowed to clobber Tua Tagovailoa. The defender isn’t allowed to flop their weight or “stuff” the QB on the way down. It’s possible that the ref thought Zimmer’s glancing (at most) contact had some extra weight but I doubt it. It seems clear Zimmer didn’t flop on Jacoby Brissett. Defenders need to be wary of the head and neck area of the QB and I think this is why the penalty was called. From behind it might be hard to see that Zimmer is pretty well at the chest, and I do believe the flag came from behind. So...yes. This is a bad call. Luckily it wasn’t assessed. Unluckily it wasn’t assessed because Siran Neal’s defensive pass interference gave up 16 yards and two free downs (flags occurred on third down). Not that it led to a Miami score or anything though. Darryl Williams was called for two false starts. These penalties are boring to review, with the more exotic of the pair being a mere four yards assessed or half the distance to the goal. Yawn. Cody Ford’s holding call was also half the distance to the goal for eight yards. If you thought “four is half of eight” you’ll be delighted to be reminded that these occurred back to back with Ford’s call first. That’s just a neat fact. Ford also negated a four-yard run. On 2nd & 2, it also wiped out a first down for a total of 2.2 Harm (8 yards assessed + 4 yards negated + 1 down). Levi Wallace was called for taunting and it’s worth another look. To be fair, I cut the clip a little early. In addition to the incomplete pass in front of the receiver’s face, Wallace jaws a bit on the way up. It’s possible he said something truly awful that justifies the flag. More than likely though this is just another example of this year’s point of emphasis gone wrong. BOOOOOOOOOOO! [Note: Skarekrow was flagged for taunting on that paragraph and lost 15 words] And now to point out a failure in my metric. The Vernon Butler defensive offsides is an anomaly that seems to not be an anomaly this year as we had a similar one last week. The Dolphins earned seven on the play, but took the five-yard penalty for a net loss of two yards, making it look like a “good penalty.” From a field-position perspective that’s accurate, but it doesn’t take into account the down the team gets back. I can go into the longwinded explanation in the comments if anyone desires, but the short version is that penalty harm is supposed to be a simple system and the “fix” could complicate things further than I’d like. Instead, it’s easier to take the “L” from time to time and just be candid that my metric isn’t perfect. The Bills racked up 9.0 Harm total, which is juuuuust on the right side of the 10.0 that’s usually a good indicator line between good and bad days. Miami Dolphins The false starts were definitely uninteresting here. Brandon Jones’s unnecessary roughness (late contact with Allen) was yardage only. Let’s rapid fire most of the rest... Austin Jackson was called for scootin’ down the field too soon. In addition to the five yards assessed, it wiped out a 14-yard gain and a first down (from second) for 2.9 Harm. Brandon Jones was also called for holding on special teams (which is the same as the offense version). It was ten assessed yards and wiped out three yards on the punt return. Robert Hunt’s holding call was ten assessed and seven negated on offense. The face mask call on Justin Coleman was the usual 15 yards and one free down for 2.5 Harm. Emmanuel Ogbah’s call for unnecessary roughness was half the distance to the goal for eight yards and gave up a free down. And finally we have Jacoby Brissett’s intentional grounding flag. I saw some confusion on this one and similar calls this week, and elected to take a look to make sure we could get the facts on this one straight. I think for the most part there wasn’t much confusion on a good many aspects of the rule. The ball doesn’t make it to the line of scrimmage, but that doesn’t matter anyway as Brissett is still in the tackle box. And it’s clear there’s no eligible receiver anywhere near the spot the ball hits. Most of the questions I saw revolved around the fact that A.J. Epenesa was draped over Brissett like a curtain. So I came up with a rhyme/song to help with the rule: ♪ Throwing then pounding, won’t get you grounding. Contact before throwing, a down you’ll be blowing. ♪ Put in non-children’s verse, the idea is that if you start a throwing motion and then a defender makes contact the interpretation is the throw was impacted by the hit/contact. Intentional grounding isn’t called. If the defender has made contact and then you try to throw the ball it doesn’t get that same benefit so it’s a flag. Phew. That was fun. The Dolphins as a team earned 14.7 Harm, which puts them in “bad day” territory. View the full article
  2. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports The Buffalo Bills former quarterback reunion tour is officially cancelled. Buffalo was supposed to see Ryan Fitzpatrick (Washington Football Team) and Tyrod Taylor (Houston Texans) in back-to-back weeks but now neither player is going to be available for their team when they come to Orchard Park. On Tuesday, the Texans placed Taylor on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. The minimum stay is three weeks, meaning he won’t be available in Week 4 when Houston comes to town. With Deshaun Watson still on the shelf, Davis Mills is the starting quarterback for the Texans with Jeff Driskel as his practice squad backup. Mills is the Texans’ third-round pick from the 2021 NFL Draft. Fitzpatrick dislocated his hip in Week 1 and was also placed on injured reserve. It will be Taylor Heinicke’s third NFL start this weekend. If you’re looking for more former Bills QBs, they can’t see Nathan Peterman and the Los Vegas Raiders until the playoffs and A.J. McCarron’s Atlanta Falcons until the Super Bowl. Matt Barkley is on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad. View the full article
  3. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports Rousseau with an early breakout; Brown sees the field in limited capacity The Buffalo Bills’ defense was largely dominant and the offense capitalized enough to record a 35-0 shutout of the Miami Dolphins. While the passing offense didn’t light up the stat sheet and still seemed slightly off, the rushing attack made up for it. On defense, A.J. Epenesa and a certain rookie first-round pick had breakout performances, while the secondary held steady and even came down with an interception of backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett after Tua Tagovailoa was knocked out of the game. More about how each rookie performed against the Dolphins below. DE Gregory Rousseau Rousseau recorded his first dominant performance of his career against the Dolphins. Whether it was against Miami left tackle Austin Jackson or right tackle Jesse Davis, the rookie got solid push with his pass rush all game. His first sack however, was the result of him acting as a spy against the quarterback. After dropping into coverage and seeing Jacoby Brissett step up and start to vacate the pocket, Rousseau immediately pounced and tackled the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage. His second sack was the result of him keeping his eyes on the quarterback and taking advantage after A.J. Epenesa flushed Brissett into his waiting arms. DE Carlos Basham Jr. Basham’s name again appears on the inactive list. Although, unlike last week, Efe Obada was not active for the game either. This will be worth tracking as the season progresses. OT Spencer Brown Similar to last week, Brown managed to see the field for a handful of snaps during plays that demanded an extra lineman. He was in on Josh Allen’s long pass play to Stefon Diggs, but sort of whiffed on his assignment against linebacker Elandon Roberts. OT Tommy Doyle With Brown active and seeing the field, Doyle was listed as inactive against the Dolphins, which should be a weekly occurrence this season, barring injury. WR Marquez Stevenson Stevenson remains listed on IR with a head injury and will stay there for at least another week. S Damar Hamlin Hamlin actually made it onto the field in the fourth quarter, thanks to the fact that it was a blowout by then. He wasn’t involved in plays much, although he did have a pass break up on the running back to force a fourth-down try. OG Jack Anderson Anderson remains on the team’s practice squad, and was protected for that purpose again this week. Expect this to continue throughout the season. Editor’s note: At the time of writing, Jack Anderson was still part of the Bills’ practice squad. With Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive lineman Brandon Brooks headed to IR, the Eagles have signed Anderson to their 53-man roster. View the full article
  4. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports The Buffalo Bills have lost one of their 2021 NFL Draft picks. The Philadelphia Eagles have signed seventh-round pick OG Jack Anderson to their active roster after placing Brandon Brooks on injured reserve. Brooks’s injury is not expected to be season-ending, so it’s possible Anderson could be released and ultimately return to Buffalo at some point this year. Anderson was Buffalo’s final pick of the draft. A mauling, hard-nosed guard from Texas Tech in the mold of Richie Incognito, Anderson was a developmental prospect for the next season or two. Buffalo has yet to add a player to the practice squad to replace Anderson and the signing isn’t yet official, as he’s still listed on the team’s website. They have OL Jamil Douglas on the practice squad in addition to the nine linemen on the active roster. The rest of their 2021 NFL Draft class is either on the active roster of the practice squad. View the full article
  5. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images A common theme prevailed in both division matchups. It was a big week for the AFC East even though it was only Week 2 of the regular season. Down in South Beach, the Miami Dolphins were trying to build a 2.5-game cushion over the defending division champion Buffalo Bills in a highly anticipated matchup. In New Jersey, it was the New York Jets battling the New England Patriots with both teams trying to avoid an 0-2 start to their season. Both divisional matchups had very similar narratives headlined by dominating defensive performances with two poor offensive showings. The Bills’ defense came to play after a disappointing result in Week 1 by shutting out the Dolphins 35-0. Buffalo was in the backfield all afternoon forcing six sacks and knocking out Tua Tagovailoa early with a huge hit. The defense also forced a couple of turnovers and never let Miami get comfortable on offense. It was a productive game for Josh Allen as he became only the sixth quarterback for Buffalo to eclipse 10,000 yards passing. This game marked the sixth time in a row that the Bills were able to defeat the Dolphins. Meanwhile the defense of the Patriots showed up to play, making rookie Zach Wilson’s day an unpleasant one. Wilson ended up throwing four interceptions in his first ten passing attempts, which put all of the momentum in New England’s favor. Wilson finished the afternoon with 210 passing yards. While Wilson appeared careless with the football at times, rookie Mac Jones took care of it on the opposite sideline. Jones only finished with 186 yards passing but he didn’t have any turnovers. The theme of this Patriots team is to run the football, which is what they did for just over 100 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Kicker Nick Folk brought his A-game for the team, converting on all four of his field goals with a long of 49 yards. The standings in the AFC East appear to have reset after the first couple of games. Buffalo, Miami, and New England are all sitting at 1-1. Even though the Jets are 0-2 there are still a lot of games left to play and Zach Wilson is learning on the fly. All four of these teams have great defenses but the division will likely belong to the team with the most offensive firepower. View the full article
  6. Podcast art for Jamie D and Big Newt | Josh Rawdin What will it take to keep it going? The Buffalo Bills made a mockery out of the Miami Dolphins yet again, which seems to have righted the ship and made Bills fans a bit more comfortable than they were after Week 1. Hosts Jamie D’Amico and Big Chris Newton look at the performance and try to extrapolate whether it is predictive of future performance. Among the topics for discussion were the following: The defensive line’s dominant effort, especially that of A.J. Epinesa Matt Milano is playing like an All-Pro Reasons the offense and Josh Allen look like they can improve and match last season’s proficiency They also discuss the upcoming game against the Washington Football Team and whether the Bills have a better matchup with Bills legend, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick scheduled to miss the game due to injury. They also touch on the loss that it is to Bills fans unable to see either Fitzpatrick or injured Houston Texans quarterback and former Bill, Tyrod Taylor. Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Code of Conduct with J. Spence, The Bruce Exclusive, The Buff Hub, Jamie D. & Big Newt, The Overreaction Podcast, Food For Thought, The Chop Up, Hump Day Hotline, Off Tackle with John Fina, Bills Mafia Time 2 Shine and Circling the Wagons: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone | YouTube Ask Alexa or Google Home to play the Buffalo Rumblings podcast! If you like our show, tell a friend and spread the word! Editor’s note: If you’re viewing this in Apple News, you’ll need to head to your podcast app or phone’s web browser to hear the embedded audio file. View the full article
  7. With special guest Lindsey Ok Bills Mafia let out a collective sigh of relief as the Buffalo Bills left South Beach with a victory over the Miami Dolphins. The fear of starting the season 0-2 had fans and media alike questioning if the production we saw last season was real or not. But did this 35-0 win answer the questions we had? Even with the shutout, should we be worried about the offense? NFL Analyst Lindsey ok joins the Code Of Conduct to discuss. Looking at the score alone, there’s a lot to be encouraged about. It’s the Bills’ largest shutout of the Miami Dolphins since 1966. The defense was dominant, seemingly applying pressure on the quarterback every time the ball was snapped. The pass rush disrupted the Dolphins’ offensive game plan in ways that we weren’t used to seeing last season. Tua Tagovailoa was carted off early in the game with an apparent rib injury. Thankfully, tests came back negative Monday morning. Jacoby Brissett also was pressured more often than not. It’s safe to say the addition of first-round draft pick Greg Rousseau is already paying dividends. Levi Wallace had a bounce-back game with an early interception as well. But the defensive performance is only half the story. The offensive struggles continued for the second consecutive week. Josh Allen looked unsettled for most of the game. Allen completed just over 50 percent of his passes, with a final stat line of 17/33 for 179 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception. This is not the performance that Bills fans expected from the fourth-year quarterback who just signed the biggest contract in team history. Personally, I wouldn’t go as far as saying Allen has regressed. There’s a real possibility that the Bills started the season playing two of the top 5 secondaries in the league. It’s a long season, and there are still 15 games for the offense to figure out their identity and what works for the passing attack. The running game impressed early. Devin Singletary opened the game up with a long run reminiscent of LeSean McCoy’s time in Buffalo. Zack Moss fumbled early, but recovered quickly as well to punch the ball into the end zone for two rushing touchdowns. What are your thoughts or concerns? Let us know in the comments. Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Code of Conduct with J. Spence, The Bruce Exclusive, The Buff Hub, Jamie D. & Big Newt, The Overreaction Podcast, Food For Thought, The Chop Up, Hump Day Hotline, Off Tackle with John Fina, Bills Mafia Time 2 Shine and Circling the Wagons: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone Ask Alexa or Google Home to play the Buffalo Rumblings podcast! If you like our show, tell a friend and spread the word! Editor’s note: If you’re viewing this in Apple News, you’ll need to head to your podcast app or phone’s web browser to hear the embedded audio file. View the full article
  8. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images Like...holy **** For the second week in a row we’re talking about the Buffalo Bills’ pass rush and for good reason. Through two weeks they’ve looked like a completely different team from last season in this regard. After two sacks and six QB hits against the quick-release offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Bills took on the slightly slower* Tua Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett-led Miami Dolphins. That led to six sacks, 11 QB hits, and of course zero points allowed. What was the secret? Let’s find out. *They rank ninth- and tenth-fastest time to throw, respectively. Ben is still number one. Play 1 A few trends that would carry throughout the game all appear on the first Miami snap of the day. The Bills rush five, with a defensive back blitz. The Dolphins have no one even looking at Taron Johnson, let alone blocking him. Meanwhile, Star Lotulelei is shoving 40 percent of the line around, Ed Oliver is tying up two of his own, as is Greg Rousseau. Even if Tua Tagovailoa saw the hit coming he had nowhere to go. And nowhere to go with the ball. Let’s run some quick numbers. Lotulelei, Oliver, and Rousseau are occupying (and beating) six Dolphins. Jerry Hughes is number seven. The running back has made himself pretty much useless (not likely his fault entirely) by not blocking anyone AND not slipping out as a safety valve. That’s four defensive linemen negating EIGHT Dolphins. That allows only two receiving targets for Tagovailoa to beat Tre’Davious White, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, and Levi Wallace. Play 2 On this play (third one in the game) the Bills add a new wrinkle. There’s still a defensive back blitz and the line is still overall winning their matchups. But now they’ve added some confusion at the line. Showing seven, they only rush five. Micah Hyde is the one who comes off the edge clean this time, but Ed Oliver and Mario Addison are right on top of the play with Hyde after running through some teal and orange. Play 3 I don’t generally like to show injuries, but this is really an excellent play to highlight from A.J. Epenesa. The Bills show five, but only rush four. Despite the number disadvantage Epenesa is just way too fast and a quick rip move allows him to make contact in just over two seconds. Play 4 I love this play because it has a lot of the same elements we’ve been seeing, but is very clear on one key aspect of the whole “confusion at the line” strategy. You need to be able to ACTUALLY mix it up on who is dropping into coverage. Greg Rousseau is in coverage and Matt Milano brings the heat. Based on the result, it appears this trick worked. Milano flushed Brissett. Groot reacts and makes an open-field tackle for his first sack. Play 5 A defensive back blitz, some individual victories and trusting your defensive backs was a great combo all game, leading to an interception by Levi Wallace here. Play 6 Crowding the line like this can be risky as your coverage needs to be able to close more ground in the event the quarterback can get the ball out fast enough. The Dolphins did try to adapt and this quick toss is good evidence of that. With the amount of cushion that Buffalo was giving, this is a bit disappointing of a gain. One reason this strategy worked for the Bills is because they trusted their back end to limit the damage even on completed passes. Play 7 To further illustrate, this could be a good blitz beater. Get the ball out fast and make the Bills beat you in the open field. Micah Hyde is barely visible on screen on the “rush five” slide of the GIF. Hyde closes fast and makes a tackle for a loss. Summary The Bills deserve a lot of credit for scouting the enemy and exploiting weaknesses all day. The confusion-heavy defense loved crowding the line and essentially choosing who was rushing on any given play by feeding play calls through a random number generator. It worked because the Dolphins didn’t have the team speed to consistently make the Bills pay for their aggressive style. The heads-up play of the defensive back group was able to close large swathes of field over-and-over again and diagnose plays almost like they were in the Miami huddle. Overall team versatility gets a nod as well. Greg Rousseau as the “Wooden Dime” player in coverage might be the most symbolic way to summarize it all. View the full article
  9. This week, we discuss the Buffalo Bills’ dominant defensive performance against the Miami Dolphins, the run game, and Josh Allen’s inconsistencies over the first two games. To have your Bills questions answered on the next podcast, you can call 24/7 and leave your questions at 716-508-0405, email us at BuffaloRumblings@SBnation.com, tweet us at @RumblingsQandA, send us Facebook or Instagram messages, or leave your comments in the show notes article on the website. Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Code of Conduct with J. Spence, The Bruce Exclusive, The Buff Hub, Jamie D. & Big Newt, The Overreaction Podcast, Food For Thought, The Chop Up, Hump Day Hotline, Off Tackle with John Fina, Bills Mafia Time 2 Shine and Circling the Wagons:Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone | YouTube Ask Alexa or Google Home to play the Buffalo Rumblings podcast! If you like our show, tell a friend and spread the word! View the full article
  10. BILL INGRAM/PALM BEACH POST via Imagn Content Services, LLC The Bills laid the smackdown on their division rivals What a difference a week makes. Just one Sunday removed from a frustrating loss, the Buffalo Bills recovered by annihilating the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, winning 35-0 in a game that probably could have been much worse had the Bills been sharper on offense. Reading that sentence sounds ridiculous—how could Buffalo score 35 points and not have been sharp on offense?!—but if you watched the game, you know what I mean. The Bills played suffocating defense, discovered a running game, and managed to even their record at 1-1. We whiffed on most of our players to watch this week, but it doesn’t bother me when the team pulls out a huge win. Here’s how our players to watch fared on Sunday. QB Josh Allen Buffalo’s quarterback was good enough on Sunday, though based on the lofty expectations coming into the season, he still has plenty of work to do. Allen completed just over 50 percent of his passes against a strong Miami defense, hitting on 17-of-33 passes for 179 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Allen narrowly missed scoring on a 15-yard rush in the fourth quarter, but the touchdown he was initially granted was correctly overturned, as his knee was down with the ball at the one-foot line. Allen had some bad misfires this week, as he again threw some lasers when he should have opted for touch and he threw some rainbows when he should have brought the heat. The interception came on a force to Stefon Diggs where Allen threw it a touch behind him over the middle of the field, giving Xavien Howard a chance to make a play. Allen is off to a slow start, but he still has plenty of time to make good on that 2021 NFL MVP talk. The positive is that the team doesn’t need him to be Superman in order to win, especially if the defense keeps playing like it has for the first two weeks of the year. The negative is nit-picking—after last year when he was Superman, we all are expecting him to be that guy again. He’ll be fine. The Offensive Line The pass protection was better, although it still wasn’t great, as Allen found himself under duress and on his back pretty often throughout the course of the game. Allen was hit eight times and sacked once in the contest. The biggest positive was that the line was able to open holes for the running game, and they did so almost immediately. Devin Singletary took his first carry of the game 46 yards for a touchdown, and the Bills ran 30 times for 143 yards as a team. Two of those carries were Mitchell Trubisky kneel-downs at the end of the game. Overall, that per-carry average isn’t great when you remove Singletary’s big play (the Bills ran it 27 times for 99 yards without the big carry and the kneel-downs). This is a unit that needs time to gel, and it also simply needs some of its parts to play better. DE Efe Obada Obada missed the game with an ankle injury, and Buffalo’s pass rush was outstanding anyway. Second-year man A.J. Epenesa had a coming-out party, as he managed nine pressures and two quarterback hits, including the shot that knocked Tua Tagovailoa out of the game. Obada should be healthy enough to return next week. LB Matt Milano The veteran linebacker’s ankle looked plenty good on Sunday, and the Bills used him both as a pass rusher and a coverage player throughout the day. He was able to do exactly what he does best, which is cause chaos all over the field. Milano had five tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, two quarterback hits, and a fumble recovery on the day. He was all over the field on Sunday. S Micah Hyde The veteran made his presence known on just the third play of the game, as he notched a sack on Tagovailoa to stop the Dolphins from converting the game’s first third-down attempt. In addition to that sack, quarterback hit, and tackle for loss, Hyde totaled seven tackles, which was good for second on the team behind only Tre’Davious White. On cornerback Levi Wallace’s interception, Hyde was the man who rotated over the top to give Wallace the support he needed to jump Jacoby Brissett’s throw on the wheel route. It’s that kind of execution that makes Hyde a quiet star on this team, because even when he doesn’t make the play himself, he’s always in the right position to allow for plays to be made. View the full article
  11. BILL INGRAM / Palm Beach Post via Imagn Content Services, LLC It was not a good day for the home team The Miami Dolphins had a chance to take a commanding early season lead in the AFC East. Had they beaten the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, they would have started 2-0 with a 2-0 divisional record. Miami had a golden opportunity to put the league on notice that the AFC East would not be Buffalo’s division to dominate. It only took seven minutes of game time for the Bills to dash those hopes. A three-and-out, a 46-yard touchdown run for Buffalo, a failed fourth-down conversion, an injury to the starting quarterback, and a passing touchdown for Buffalo put the Bills up 14-0 before fans had a chance to settle into their seats. While Miami’s defense held for the rest of the first half, Buffalo ran away and won a laugher, 35-0. The Bills were able to contain Miami’s key players all afternoon. Here’s how our Dolphins to watch performed on Sunday. QB Tua Tagovailoa The second-year man exited early thanks to a rib injury suffered on Miami’s second series. After the right tackle failed to do much more than breathe on second-year defensive end A.J. Epenesa, Tagovailoa tried to hold on to make a good throw with pressure in his face in order to convert a fourth down. Instead, he threw an incomplete pass, and Epenesa absolutely rocked him. Head coach Brian Flores did not reveal the extent of Tagovailoa’s rib injury, but he needed to be carted to the locker room. Tagovailoa dropped back to pass six times. He was sacked twice and hit two more times, completing one of four passes for 13 yards. Sure, this was just Tagovailoa’s 11th career start, but the problems he has with blitz identification and releasing the ball on time don’t seem to be improving—not against Buffalo, anyway. WR Will Fuller V The free-agent acquisition was declared out on Friday after we published. He missed the game due to a personal matter, but he has since rejoined the club. TE Mike Gesicki At 6’6” and 250 lbs, Gesicki is the kind of big, athletic target that usually gives Buffalo fits. On a day where nothing went right for Miami, Gesicki was able to make his first receptions of the 2021 season. He was targeted six times, hauling in three passes for 41 yards. That line might not be much to celebrate, but his 41 yards gained represents nearly a quarter of Miami’s 216 total net yards on what was a miserable offensive afternoon. The Bills’ defense came to play. DT Christian Wilkins The big defensive tackle notched four total tackles on the afternoon, but he didn’t make any tackles in Buffalo’s offensive backfield, which is a win for an embattled interior offensive line in Buffalo. Wilkins did deflect a pass at the line of scrimmage. Overall, the Bills were able to find some room on the ground, although it wasn’t a terribly efficient afternoon. Buffalo gained 143 yards on 30 carries, but if you remove Devin Singletary’s 46-yard touchdown and Mitchell Trubisky’s victory-formation kneel-downs, Buffalo carried it 27 times for 99 yards. Buffalo had some trouble finding room in a few short-yardage situations, although not all of them, as Zack Moss was able to find paydirt for his first two touchdowns of the season, and fullback Reggie Gilliam was able to convert a first down on one of his two carries. CB Xavien Howard In the immortal words of color analyst Matt Millen, “This guy is just a good football player.” Fortunately, we were playing Bills bingo and not a drinking game where we asked you to imbibe every time Millen said that because, if that were the game, we’d have been absolutely hammered by the second quarter. In any case, Howard really is a darn good football player, and he made life miserable for Josh Allen and company all afternoon. He was in Stefon Diggs’s shirt more often than not, and he came down with an interception when Allen threw a bit behind Diggs over the middle in the second quarter. Diggs did go up and beat Howard on a 41-yard completion in the fourth quarter on a gorgeous catch and throw, so even good football players can be beaten time and again. Howard finished his day with two tackles, two pass breakups, and an interception. View the full article
  12. Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports And covered up for a lackluster offensive performance The Buffalo Bills coasted to their first victory of the season with a 35-0 road win over the Miami Dolphins. The Bills have their defense to thank for the ease of victory. There were plenty of great stats on the defensive side on Sunday. Gregory “Groot” Rosseau tallied the first two sacks of his NFL career. A.J. Epenesa had nine quarterback pressures. Levi Wallace had an interception, the fifth of his career. Matt Milano and Taiwan Jones both had fumble recoveries. The defense as a whole sacked the Dolphins’ two quarterbacks six times. All of these stats go to show just how great of a day the defense had—and how much it made up for a terrible day for Josh Allen and the offense. While scoring 35 points looks great on paper, the tape showed that the offense, mainly in the passing game, did not have a great day. Allen finished the game with a completion percentage of 51.52 percent and a yards per attempt of 5.42—both the worst he has ever had in a win. The current Bills’ offense has yet to look like last season’s, but thanks to the defense, it didn’t matter against the Dolphins. View the full article
  13. Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC ACC teams get beat, while Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina stay clean It was another jam-packed weekend of college football, with rivalry games, upsets and narrow misses. The ACC didn’t have a productive weekend, with No. 15 Virginia Tech getting stuffed by West Virginia 27-21, and No. 24 Miami being completely blown out at home to Michigan State 38-17 at home. Meanwhile the two ranked Group of Five teams—Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina—managed to stay unbeaten despite close contests against Buffalo and Indiana respectively. Below are the prospects who stood out during Week 3 of college football. S Kyle Hamilton (Notre Dame) With ten tackles, two passes defensed and another interception, it was just another day at the office for perhaps the best defender in the nation. On an early fourth-down play in the first quarter, Hamilton was able to run up and make a tackle in space to force a turnover on downs that set the tone for the game. Meanwhile, the athletic safety showed off some next-level hand-eye coordination with plucking an interception off of a tight end’s hands right in the end zone in the fourth quarter. WR Charleston Rambo (Miami) The transfer from Oklahoma has fit like a glove into the Hurricanes’ offense and demonstrated that in their loss against a tough Michigan State squad. The junior’s 12 receptions for 156 yards came on a variety of routes—including making himself available on broken plays—and Rambo looks pretty polished as a route runner overall. His highlight was his second of two touchdown receptions, that came on a dig route against heavy traffic from both the corner and the encroaching safety. EDGE Drew Beesley (Michigan State) Across the field from the aforementioned wide receiver, the big 260-lb senior pass rusher managed to wrangle Miami quarterback D’Eriq King twice, which is no small feat considering King is one of the better dual-threat signal callers in the country. Beesley’s pure strength was evident, but he’s not just a bull rusher. During one particular rush his burst up field against the opposing tackle allowed him to register his second sack and a forced-fumble. Although he doesn’t look like a high-end athlete, he captured some attention. LB Kadofi Wright (Buffalo) UB has one of the better, if not the best linebacking corps in the MAC. At 6’3” and 230 lbs, Wright is the speed ‘backer and coverage specialist. He proved effective in that role against the heavily favored Chanticleers. Much of Coastal Carolina’s offense is predicated on stretching defenses out along the edges and then attacking the middle of the field on short plays. Wright’s ability to run and tackle came up on his two key tackles-for-loss and his coverage was evident with holding tight end prospect Isaiah Likely to one catch. View the full article
  14. Breaking Down the BILLS vs Dolphins Matchup If you are looking for great insight, the best thing to do is hear what a 12-year NFL veteran and former Buffalo Bills offensive tackle has to say. John Fina is great at seeing what went well and what needs work, and at the same time packaging it in a way that #BillsMafia can consume it. That game against the Miami Dolphins was a tough fight and let’s be honest, the score definitely doesn't tell the entire story. But why? What should we be excited about and what are we still concerned about? Join them at 9 PM EDT Monday on the Buffalo Rumblings MultiCast network! (Youtube, Facebook, Twitter) Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings YouTube channel and don’t miss a single LIVE moment of BILLS content from some of your favorite personalities. Also make sure to subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Code of Conduct with J. Spence, The Bruce Exclusive, The Buff Hub, Jamie D. & Big Newt, The Overreaction Podcast, Food For Thought, The Chop Up, Hump Day Hotline, Off Tackle with John Fina, Bills Mafia Time 2 Shine and Circling the Wagons: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone Ask Alexa or Google Home to play the Buffalo Rumblings podcast! #BILLS #goBILLS #BuffaloBills #JOHNFINA #BillsMafia View the full article
  15. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images That was fun The Buffalo Bills had a few hiccups that left fans worrying for some of the game, but in the end won in exceedingly convincing fashion. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen the Fish so thoroughly squished. Week 2 is where we’d start trying to piece together personnel patterns. It’ll be a little harder this season though as Buffalo was able to pull starters in the second half. Offense (65 snaps) It’s a short 100 percent club this week with just Cody Ford and Darryl Williams. That’s not a problem though as most of the usual club came off for two kneel-downs to close the game for our first Mitch Trubisky regular-season sighting. There is one other notable takeaway from last week. The Cody Ford/Ike Boettger rotation seems to have vanished. Stefon Diggs and Emmanuel Sanders both had falling counts this week with both pushing near 100 percent last week. Cole Beasley fell as well, but not atypically so. Gabriel Davis seems a bit low, but it could be related to the ankle injury he’s recovering from. The Bills had 30 rushing attempts to 33 passing. Even removing Trubisky’s kneel downs, that’s far more balanced than Buffalo has been for awhile now. It’s hard to determine if this was the intended game plan or if playing with a lead made a difference, but the snap counts definitely reflect it. At 83 percent of playing time, Dawson Knox led all the skill positions, beating out even Stefon Diggs. Reggie Gilliam saw significant playing time and Tommy Sweeney hit the field too. Speaking of that running game, Devin Singletary was the main back, though the usage differences led to Zack Moss stealing the show. Defense (74 snaps) Last week we had a record seven defensive players hitting 100 percent. This week is zero. The usual grouping was pulled when the game got out of hand, though earlier cramping that took Levi Wallace off the field likely led to Tre’Davious White playing a few snaps longer than the rest of the crew. Tremaine Edmunds didn’t come back after the half following dehydration/overheating issues. Things went fine with A.J. Klein subbing in. Taron Johnson is usually our bellwether for how often the Bills are in nickel. He was one snap shy of fellow 100 percent club members (usually) Jordan Poyer and Matt Milano and Micah Hyde. Astute observers likely noted that Hyde isn’t on the list. If you missed it, he’s up above on the offense, which gets sorted first in the game book. He also had 61 defensive snaps but came in for the kneel downs. This used to be Jordan Poyer’s job and hopefully someone with journalistic integrity gets us the answer we deserve on such a hot topic. Anyway, the strong suggestion is that the game plan was to play nickel pretty much the entire game again. That leads me to Greg Rousseau who earned a couple sacks this week, one of which came on a snap in which he dropped into coverage first. Remember we’re calling that the Wooden Dime defense in honor of Groot. He also had the highest snap count total for any defensive end, beating out Jerry Hughes, which is significant. Mario Addison was technically second place but he, Hughes, and A.J. Epenesa all were in a virtual deadlock. For defensive tackles, Ed Oliver led the way followed by Justin Zimmer. Vernon Butler followed close behind with Star Lotulelei playing at just under one-third of the time. Last season the Bills mixed this group up frequently. With the Miami Dolphins trailing significantly much of the game too, this is a hard week to judge what the initial plan was for the tackles. Special teams (22 snaps) Reggie Gilliam earns the top spot this week with 21 snaps or 95 percent of the total. Don’t worry, Taiwan Jones and Tyler Matakevich weren’t shunned. They both came in second at 68 percent. It was a log jam tie though with Siran Neal, Jaquan Johnson, and Tyrel Dodson all hitting the same number. This was a weird week for special teams with only a single opposing kickoff. This should impact the numbers a bit, though it’s a safe bet the above list will continue to be well represented on special teams. View the full article
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