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About zanthrax54

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


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    Since '90

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  1. I ran out of good ideas for Miami. Being a fan can be the kind of hard work that builds an appetite. That’s why Buffalo Rumblings brings you a recipe every week to pair with the Buffalo Bills’ upcoming opponent, featuring a custom wing sauce to make it more “Buffalo.” Our opponent this week: the Miami Dolphins. This will be the fourth Miami edition of Wingin’ It and the culmination of my fears for the series. Admittedly there’s other “Miami” food I could have chosen. But in the spirit of keeping the recipes accessible and trying to avoid having similar entries, I struggled to find a recipe I liked. And then I ran out of time. Instead of a Miami dish, we’re taking it down to the ground floor to focus on the sauce. I call this one “Florida punch” wing sauce. Because it’s a sauce-focused week, this recipe is intensely flavored thanks to very high acidity (this also serves as a warning). It goes great on wings and sticks extremely well, but can easily be used for many of your hot-sauce dipping needs. A special shout out this week to Mrs. Krow for the assist. Florida Punch Wing Sauce Serves: Many Active Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes Ingredients Florida punch sauce 1 mango, cut into small cubes* 1⁄2 cup hot sauce 2 Tbsp honey 4 oz. pineapple juice 1 lime, zested (1/2 tsp) 1 lemon, zested (1/2 tsp) 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, (half stick) You’ll need: Blender, zester or cheese grater Directions Puree mango in blender; add water a tablespoon at a time if needed. Add mango puree, hot sauce, honey, and pineapple juice to medium saucepan on MED; stir. Fold lime and lemon zest into mixture. Cut the lime and lemon in quarters and squeeze juice from both into the saucepan; stir. Allow sauce to simmer 10-15 min until thickened, stirring occasionally**. Remove saucepan from heat; add butter and stir in. Use the sauce to toss wings, as a dip, or do shots. (Let it cool first if you do that last one!) Wingin’ It Tips *If you can get a fresh mango it’s worth it. You can certainly use frozen if you gotta and aim for half a cup after pureeing. **Consistency is a matter of preference so feel free to shorten or extend the time to your liking. View the full article
  2. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports This week features a great Big XII match-up While we were treated to the best college football game of the year last week, this Saturday promises to be much more low key. A surprising 7-2 Indiana team visits No. 9 Penn State to knock off the suddenly vulnerable Nittany Lions. Clemson will also face a 7-2 team in Wake Forest, which means it’s upset alert for the undefeated Tigers. The highlight of the day, however, comes in the form of a Big XII showdown of No. 10 Oklahoma at undefeated No. 13 Baylor in what could be a primer of the conference championship match-up. So, let’s talk about the games, leave questions on prospects, and enjoy the weekend! Keep your eyes on OG Solomon Kindley (Georgia) It’ll be a battle in the trenches as Georgia’s Kindley, perhaps the best guard in college football, takes on Auburn’s defensive line. Among the Tigers intimating squad is Derrick Brown, a likely first rounder. The 300+ lb defensive tackle won’t be easy to move off his spot in the run game, so it’ll be interesting to see if Kindley is able to generate any movement for running back D’Andre Swift whatsoever. Other prospects to watch WR Sage Surratt (Wake Forest) The draft-eligible sophomore isn’t the most experienced wideout, but witnessing his emergence this season for Wake Forest has been mighty impressive. The 6’3”, solidly built young man will have to grow up fast, as this week he’ll be facing Clemson defensive back A.J. Terrell. At a listed height of 6’1”, Terrell has almost as much size as Surratt, who should be forced into creating separation in other ways. QB Nate Stanley (Iowa) Even broaching this comparison is a minefield, but here it goes. Stanley is going to be this draft’s Nathan Peterman. Not in the way Bills fans are thinking—in the sense of an abject failure. Instead, Stanley will be this year’s example of an experienced college passer who has improved statistically every year, but doesn’t have any elite tools. As such, look for Stanley to have a decent, if unspectacular day against one of the top-rated pass defenses in No. 8 Minnesota. DT Jackson Pittman (Navy) Pittman, listed at 6’3” and 300 lbs is an experienced and surprisingly effective nose guard in Navy’s 3-4 defense. Previously, he has helped shut down USF’s prolific rushing attack, holding runner Jordan Cronkrite to only 76 rushing yards. The biggest match-up of the season for Navy comes in the form of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who love to run down teams’ throats with the help of guard Tommy Kraemer. EDGE Kenny Willekes (Michigan State) Willekes is another player who received way too much press during his junior season, due to his eight sacks and because he plays with tons and tons of effort. This year, he does have 5.5 sacks, but those are largely padded against teams like Western Michigan and Tulsa. The tape reveals a player who doesn’t have that explosive first step or bend around the edge. However, this week’s rivalry game against Michigan means that the cameras will be on the defensive end, who will hopefully prove he can be effective against better competition. Game of the Week No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor 7:30 PM, EST ABC Both teams are seemingly all about their offenses—as is typical in the Big XII— but still sport effective defenses. Oklahoma’s version of the triplets includes quarterback Jalen Hurts, wide receiver CeeDee Lamb and running back Trey Sermon, while Baylor’s Denzel Mims has the size and hands to be “open when he’s covered.” Defensively, though, the Sooners sport Kenneth Murray, one of the more athletic linebackers in the nation, along with defensive tackle Neville Gallimore. View the full article
  3. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports Bills fans are not reacting well after two losses in three weeks Buffalo Bills fans are not very confident following the team’s second loss in three weeks. Following losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns over the last three weeks, Bills fans are on edge despite a one-game lead in the AFC playoff race. At just 37% fan confidence, the rating drop by more than half from 80% the week before following the win over Washington. The previous low was the week before, when fans were at 66% confidence following the team’s loss to Philadelphia. Bills fan confidence is the lowest of any team in the playoff race by a good margin. The Eagles, who are tied atop the NFC East, are next-lowest at 45% along with the AFC West-leading Kansas City Chiefs. Baltimore Ravens fans continue to top the polling at 100% confident followed by the San Francisco 49ers (97%) and Oakland Raidders (90%). Fans of Washington (up to 3%) and Detroit Lions (4%) bring up the rear. The Atlanta Falcons saw a sizeable jump from the bottom of the rankings to 26% after their win over the Saints while fans of New Orleans fell from 100% to 70% confident after the same game. View the full article
  4. Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images The Bills head down to Miami for a divisional matchup The Buffalo Bills travel down to South Beach to take on their division rival Miami Dolphins. The ‘Phins are coming off back-to-back wins while the Bills suffered a disappointing loss to the then 2-6 Cleveland Browns. The #Bills are heading down to Florida to take on the Fish. Here's three headlines to get you ready for game day. #GoBills pic.twitter.com/W82VQuzxaG — Buffalo Rumblings (@BuffRumblings) November 15, 2019 Scoring problems The Bills currently sit at 25th in the league in team offense DVOA. They’ve only scored head coach Sean McDermott’s magical 21 points four times this season and it was against teams that are 24th, 27th, 31st, and 32nd in team defense DVOA. Fans are frustrated and so is McDermott. At his Wednesday press conference he said “move the ball and score points. If we don’t do that, I’m frustrated. Simply put.” Defense looks to rebound The last time the Bills played the Dolphins the defense showed their first sign of weakness. They allowed Miami to score 21 points against them—the most they had scored up to that point this season. The Dolphins game was the beginning of a weak stretch for a unit that strives to be elite. Last week they were elite in moments (eight straight goal line plays stopped) and average-at-best in other moments (allowing an 82-yard game-winning drive). The Dolphins and their 31st-ranked offense offer a prime opportunity to get right. Kicking woes Stephen Hauschka missed two big kicks last weekend. One at the end of the first half that would’ve meant the game was tied at the end and one at the end of the game that would’ve tied it (or won it if he didn’t miss the previous kick). Hauschka currently sits at 61.5% on the season, which is good for fourth-worst in the NFL. The three kickers behind him were either cut by their teams or are coming back from an injury. His extra-point accuracy is middle of the pack thankfully, but he is still one of the worst active kickers in the league. To add insult to injury, he carries the largest cap hit in the league this year. It’s definitely not what Brandon Beane was hoping for when he signed Hauschka to a two-year extension in August. View the full article
  5. Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports The Bills are 6.5-point favorites The Buffalo Bills are looking to get back on track as the team is on the road to face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Find the latest on Lorenzo Alexander, Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, and much more as part of today’s Bills Links. Why is Bills DT Ed Oliver struggling? Rookie, team captain Lorenzo Alexander explain - newyorkupstate.com Oliver's snap counts has fallen off since he was replaced in starting lineup by veteran Jordan Phillips. If Buffalo Bills DE Jerry Hughes can’t play Sunday vs. Miami Dolphins, here is the plan - newyorkupstate.com Hughes is questionable with a groin injury after missing Friday's practice. What Dolphins team are the Bills getting this week? Breaking down the key matchups – The Athletic The Dolphins have moved players around with success the past two weeks, but the Bills still have a prime opportunity Sunday. (Subscription required.) News’ staff predictions for Bills at Dolphins in Week 11 – The Buffalo News "Losing is not an option." (Subscription required.) Bills center Mitch Morse on O-line chemistry, his concussion recovery and Josh Allen – The Buffalo News After nine games, the veteran center still sees a good deal of work ahead for a group with four new starters, including him. (Subscription required.) Current and former Buffalo Bills react to Myles Garrett helmet swing, Browns/Steelers brawl - newyorkupstate.com At the end of Thursday night's game between the Browns and Steelers, chaos erupted. The Satchel: What’s to blame for the Bills’ staggering offense, Buffalo’s ‘franchise player’ and more – The Athletic Tim Graham answers your most pressing questions on the Bills, Sabres, UB basketball and state of Buffalo sports. (Subscription required.) Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills defensive end, works through frustration - Democrat & Chronicle Sacks and pressures have been hard to come by for Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes this season. McDermott: I want our team playing fast | WGR 550 SportsRadio The Bills head coach joined Howard and Jeremy on WGR for his weekly Buffalo Football Friday appearance C1 BUF: Bills-Dolphins Week 11 Preview - Cover 1 Join Aaron and Greg as they preview the week 11 match-up between the Dolphins and the Bills. Featured on Buffalo Rumblings Analysis: how the Buffalo Bills should attack the Miami Dolphins - Buffalo Rumblings Once more, better than before BBR: Cover 1’s Greg Tompsett joins the show to talk Josh Allen, Levi Wallace and more - Buffalo Rumblings There’s plenty to discuss in this week’s podcast Buffalo Bills opponent preview: How the Miami Dolphins put together a win streak - Buffalo Rumblings A team many believe to be one of the worst in league history has a...gulp...win streak coming into their second game against Buffalo. Let’s see what happened. AFC Playoff Picture: Myles Garrett’s assault of Mason Rudolph overshadows significant shift in Wild Card race - Buffalo Rumblings Lots to unpack here. Buffalo Bills DE Jerry Hughes is questionable for Week 11 vs. Miami Dolphins - Buffalo Rumblings The pass rusher was the only Buffalo player to miss practice Friday Five Buffalo Bills to watch at Miami Dolphins - Buffalo Rumblings Is this the week the Bills right the rocking boat? Five Miami Dolphins to watch vs. Buffalo Bills - Buffalo Rumblings The Dolphins may want to pound the rock this week View the full article
  6. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports The pass rusher was the only Buffalo player to miss practice Friday As the Buffalo Bills (6-3) prepare for Sunday’s tilt in South Beach vs. the Miami Dolphins (2-7), the team only had one player miss Friday’s practice session, but it involves a crucial member of the defense: talented pass rusher and defensive end Jerry Hughes. Hughes, who first appeared on the injury report on Thursday, is dealing with a groin injury. The issue was bad enough to make Hughes a limited participant during Thursday’s session, and kept him out of Friday’s session. The team has listed Hughes as questionable for Sunday, and if Hughes isn’t able to go, it would be a major blow to Leslie Frazier’s 4-3 defense. Hughes, who has amassed 2.5 sacks with 19 tackles (11 solo) with one fumble recovery in nine games this year, has not missed a game since 2011, a stretch of 124 consecutive games. Facing a mobile and elusive quarterback in former Bill Ryan Fitzpatrick, Hughes’s absence would be huge. If Hughes isn’t able to go, Shaq Lawson would be in line for more repetitions at defensive end opposite Trent Murphy. Besides Hughes, there were no other players on Buffalo’s injury list Friday. Rookie tight end Dawson Knox, who sat out Thursday’s practice with a knee injury, was back on the field as a full participant. View the full article
  7. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images Is this the week the Bills right the rocking boat? The Buffalo Bills head south this weekend, taking on the Miami Dolphins for the second time this year. Just three weekends ago, the Bills were able to hold off a hard-charging Miami team, winning 31-21 in a game that wasn’t expected to be that close. However, that effort from Miami was a harbinger of good things to come, as the Dolphins have won two of three games since playing the Bills tough in Orchard Park. Coming off a tough loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Bills need to rebound in a hurry. Miami is playing much better over the last month, so this game won’t be a cake walk. Here are our five players to watch closely this weekend. QB Josh Allen The Buffalo signal caller has taken some heat this week, as he was not sharp in the loss to Cleveland last Sunday. However, he has had plenty of success in his three career starts against the Dolphins, averaging 219 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, 87 rushing yards, and one rushing touchdown per game. Allen said this week that head coach Sean McDermott wants him and the offense to play free, which hopefully translates into more points on Sunday. The team needs a strong effort from its quarterback, and Allen is facing the perfect team to allow him to have a big day. RB Devin Singletary For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, can offensive coordinator Brian Daboll please ensure that this kid carries the ball more than eight times this week? It’s inexcusable that a player averaging 6.7 yards per touch is only averaging ten touches per game (and that’s including the fact that 23 of his 63 touches on the season came in one game). Singletary has only had one game where he averaged less than four yards per carry this season, and it came in Week 7 against these Miami Dolphins. Perhaps Miami was just ready to stop him, but that was also Singletary’s first game back from a hamstring injury. The Bills need to make sure that their best players touch the football on offense, and Singletary is already one of their best offensive players. He needs more carries. DT Ed Oliver After earning a starting gig coming into the season, a combination of factors—mostly involving the phenomenal play of teammate Jordan Phillips—has led to Oliver’s demotion to second string. The rookie has taken the demotion in stride, continuing to work hard without complaint, but it would be nice to see him come in and dominate on his snaps this week. Oliver has 20 tackles, one sack (of a wide receiver on a trick play), one tackle for loss, and four quarterback hits thus far in his rookie season. That’s not quite the impact many envisioned when the Bills made him the ninth overall pick in April’s NFL Draft. After playing in right around 60% of the defensive snaps through Buffalo’s first seven games, he’s only appeared on 30 defensive snaps in the last two games combined, checking in at right around one-third of the team’s snaps. Making the most of his opportunities will be crucial for him to earn his way back into more defensive reps, and a few big plays this weekend would be nice to see. CB Kevin Johnson I’m sick of watching Levi Wallace, who has allowed 49 completions on 74 targets (66.2%) this year to go with 501 yards and three touchdowns, so let’s check out the only other corner capable of competing with him for playing time on Buffalo’s current roster. With Taron Johnson solely a slot corner, the only player who can push Wallace time is Johnson, a former first-round pick who hasn’t played a ton this year. He’s only averaging around 18 defensive snaps per game since Week 2 (he didn’t play any defensive snaps in Buffalo’s Week 1 win over the New York Jets), but with Wallace playing pretty poorly for the better part of the last three weeks, it will be worth watching whether Johnson sees an increase in time this week. It can’t hurt to at least give him a more extended look. K Stephen Hauschka Missing a 53-yard field goal short isn’t ideal, but it’s not a cut-worthy offense in and of itself. Completely shanking a 34-yard kick, though? In a game decided by three points? That’s tough to swallow. Only Cairo Santos has a lower made field-goal percentage than Hauschka this year, and after he missed four field goals as a member of the Tennessee Titans against Buffalo, he was released. Hauschka is 8-of-13 on the season, but most troubling is the loss of his range. Through the end of the 2017 season, Hauschka had made 23-of-33 field goal attempts from 50 yards or more; in the last two seasons, he’s only 4-for-10 on such kicks, and he hasn’t made one since the Bills beat the New York Jets 41-10 on November 11, 2018. Whether it’s a result of age or the blindside hit laid on him by New York Jets defensive lineman Henry Anderson, Hauschka hasn’t looked like the same guy that he was when he signed with Buffalo in 2017. He also said this week that he didn’t feel ideal during the game against Cleveland, but he felt fine physically. Here’s hoping that he feels ideal this week when he’s called upon to kick. View the full article
  8. Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images The Dolphins may want to pound the rock this week The Miami Dolphins came into Orchard Park just a few weeks ago and nearly beat the Buffalo Bills. They held a 14-9 lead in the third quarter before eventually losing 31-21. Their leading rusher in that game, Mark Walton, is serving a four-game suspension as a result of three offseason arrests. Their leading receiver in that game, Preston Williams, is on injured reserve due to an ACL injury. So, Miami will need to find some new targets this week, and they’ve been doing a nice job in that department over the last two weeks. Miami has won their last two games after starting the year with seven straight losses. Which Dolphins will we be watching this week? Here’s the short list. RB Kalen Ballage The bruising second-year back is the de facto number-one running back this week, as the aforementioned suspension takes Walton out of the picture and a trade involving Kenyan Drake jettisoned their former starter. Ballage has not lived up to his potential in his young NFL career, averaging only 3.3 yards per attempt on 91 career carries. This year, he has 55 carries for 113 yards, a brutal 2.1 yards per carry average. Against a Buffalo team that has been gashed regularly on the ground over the last month, however, Ballage could thrive. WR Allen Hurns With Tre’Davious White sure to cover DeVante Parker for most of the day, that will leave Levi Wallace to man Hurns. Given Wallace’s struggles this year, that means Hurns should have a favorable match-up for most of the day. He’s a big, talented wideout whose biggest issue has been health. At 6’3” and 195 lbs, he’s much stronger than Wallace, whose lack of physicality has hurt him. Hurns could be a go-to for Ryan Fitzpatrick this week. TE Mike Gesicki The Penn State product had a big game against Buffalo earlier this year, hauling in a (to that point) career-high four passes for 41 yards. Against the New York Jets two weeks ago, Gesicki had the best game of his career, making six catches for 95 yards. Since Fitzpatrick was re-named the starting quarterback following a poor performance by Josh Rosen in Week 6, Gesicki has been targeted 26 times, making 18 catches for 225 yards. With great speed and reliable hands, Gesicki is a fantastic intermediate option, and if Buffalo sells out to stop the run, he could find plenty of room on play-action passes. LB Vince Biegel A 6’3” rush linebacker who weighs in at 246 lbs, Biegel made some plays against the Bills during the first meeting. He had five tackles, one sack, one quarterback hit, and one tackle for loss in the game, and he only played on 33 defensive snaps. That’s some solid efficiency right there, as it was arguably the best game of his 2019 season. Biegel is a high-motor guy with solid bend, and while he isn’t a dominant pass rusher, he has the ability to disrupt offenses if he isn’t respected. Josh Allen needs to know where Biegel is before each snap. LB Jerome Baker Another solid athlete, Baker is the guy that Buffalo wants to isolate in pass coverage. In 25 coverage attempts this season, Baker has allowed 17 completions for 125 yards. This is a tremendous improvement over his rookie season, where he was abused to the tune of a 74% completion rate allowed for 494 yards and a touchdown. While Baker has made some great strides in coverage this year, the Bills have the personnel to give him fits. Sending players like Cole Beasley, Dawson Knox, and Isaiah McKenzie into the middle of the field will give the Bills a distinct advantage if any of those players ends up covered by Baker. This is a place where Buffalo can win consistently on Sunday. View the full article
  9. Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports What you need to know to watch Sunday’s Squish the Fish sequel When the Buffalo Bills (6-3) travel to South Beach to take on the suddenly surging Miami Dolphins (2-7), the Bills will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Cleveland Browns. Buffalo had a chance to take a commanding lead in the race for one of the AFC’s two Wild Card berths (a win would have but the Bills at 7-2 and 5-1 in conference play), but the Bills squandered that opportunity thanks to questionable play-calling, two missed Stephen Hauschka field goals, terrible play from cornerback Levi Wallace, and more. The Bills, who remain in possession of the fifth seed in the AFC playoff race, are also seeking their first season sweep of the Dolphins since the 2017 season. That year, Buffalo squished the fish 24-16 on Dec. 17 in Orchard Park, then knocked off Miami 22-16 on Dec. 31 to snap a 17-year playoff drought (with a huge assist to the Cincinnati Bengals for defeating the Baltimore Ravens) for the team’s first playoff appearance since the 1999 season. This will be the 112th meeting all-time between the Bills and Dolphins. The Dolphins lead the series 61-49-1, with Buffalo prevailing 31-21 on Oct. 20, 2019. Buffalo trailed 14-9 heading into the fourth quarter of that Week 7 contest, but Josh Allen connected on touchdown tosses to John Brown (20 yards) and Cole Beasley (three yards), and Micah Hyde returned an onside kick attempt 45 yards to seal the win. Here’s how to watch Sunday’s game from home: TV/Streaming/Radio Schedule Date: Sunday, November 17, 2019 Time: 1 p.m. Eastern Channel: The game will be carried locally on CBS on WIVB 4 and CFTO 9 in Buffalo, WROC 8 in Rochester, WTVH 5 in Syracuse and Utica, WKTV 2 in Syracuse, Utica, and Albany, WBNG 12 in Syracuse, Binghamton, and Elmira, and WENY 36-2 in Elmira. View the broadcast map. Announcers: Spero Dedes (play-by-play) and Adam Archuleta (analyst). Streaming: FuboTV Location: Hard Rock Stadium | Miami Gardens, FL Radio: WGR 550 AM (Buffalo), WCMF 96.5 FM and WROC 950 AM (Rochester), Fan 590 AM (Toronto), WTKW 99.5 FM and WKTV 105.5 FM (Syracuse), and the rest of the Buffalo Bills Radio Network. Radio Play-by-Play: John Murphy and Eric Wood in the booth with sideline reporter Sal Capaccio. Online: NFL Game Pass, NFL.com Game Center Social Media Twitter: Follow @BuffRumblings for complete Bills coverage on Twitter before, during, and after every game. Instagram: @buffalorumblings Facebook: Like Buffalo Rumblings on Facebook! Buffalo Rumblings Podcast Links Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Blitzed Bills, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Circling the Wagons, the Nick and Nolan Show, and the Mafia Mavens: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone Thursday Injury Report Buffalo Bills Limited participant: DE Jerry Hughes (groin). Did not practice: TE Dawson Knox (knee). Miami Dolphins Full participant: RB Kalen Ballage (neck/illness), G/T Jesse Davis (elbow), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (shoulder), DT Davon Godchaux (shoulder), WR Jakeem Grant (toe/Achilles), LB Trent Harris (foot), S Reshad Jones (chest), C Daniel Kilgore (knee), CB Chris Lammons (ankle/toe), S Bobby McCain (shoulder), DE Avery Moss (ankle), WR DeVante Parker (calf), TE Durham Smythe (knee/elbow), DT Christian Wilkins (toe), WR Wlbert Wilson (hip/ankle). Limited participant: DE Taco Charlton (elbow), LB Raekwon McMillan (knee). Did not practice: CB Ken Webster (ankle). View the full article
  10. Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images Once more, better than before The last time the Buffalo Bills played the Miami Dolphins, I opened this article with the following statement: The Miami Dolphins are not a good football team. This is still a true statement, though it’s different than it was previously. The Dolphins are on a two-game winning streak and at home this Sunday against the Bills with their coaching staff hoping to further damage their draft position against their division rivals. The Bills, meanwhile, are frustrated after dropping a game against the previously 2-6 Cleveland Browns. Head coach Sean McDermott is leaving press conferences early and fans are calling for offensive coordinator Brian Daboll’s head. The team may or may not be trolling the fans on social media by showing practice videos of quarterback Josh Allen hitting deep balls in practice to wide receiver John Brown. I truly believe this game is a pivotal moment for the 2019 version of the Buffalo Bills. Even at 6-3, the season may be hanging in the balance and a loss to the Dolphins this week may very well close the door on both their playoff chances in 2019 AND fans’ patience with the Buffalo offense. A statement win with 31 points scored could reinvigorate the team and the fan base and set the stage for a Wild Card run with renewed optimism. How do the Bills see to it that they “squish the fish” this weekend? I have some thoughts... This can be where the run D gets right, so play Ed Oliver Kalen Ballage ain’t it folks. The last time the Bills played the Dolphins, it was the beginning of the concerns about the 2019 Buffalo run defense. It would be fitting if this week was the end of those concerns. Ballage is averaging an abysmal 2.1 yards per carry this season, which could be blamed on the Dolphins’ offensive line at first glace before noticing that previous Miami running backs Mark Walton and Kenyan Drake performed markedly better with the same line. Walton is now suspended and Drake is a member of the Arizona Cardinals, leaving Ballage as the lead back facing Buffalo this Sunday. If the Bills give up a big game to Ballage, it might be time to wave the white flag on the run defense, so we might as well give Ed Oliver some run. For some reason, when the Bills diagnosed their run-defense issues, they identified that Ed Oliver was the problem. I disagreed with their conclusion. They started giving Ed Oliver fewer snaps and it didn’t appear to have much effect on the performance of the run defense. Maybe it’s time to admit that Ed Oliver wasn’t the sole problem with the run defense. The Bills should play him against a Miami interior offensive line that played surprisingly well against Buffalo in their first meeting, but lacks the elite talent to be counted on to replicate the rushing attacks the Bills have seen over the last few weeks. Go after the Miami corners in man coverage; feed Beasley Cole Beasley is a nightmare against man coverage, and the Dolphins’ best cover corner Xavien Howard is out. Seems like pretty simple logic. There is, however, more to it. Xavien Howard, if healthy, wouldn’t likely have been matched up with Beasley anyway. Instead, he would have most frequently found himself opposite Bills leading receiver John Brown. Why, then, would I suggest feeding Beasley? The Bills (and Josh Allen most notably) are going to have to learn how to deal with Cover-0 looks from opposing defenses. Allen’s absent deep connections have emboldened defenses to take their chances on him connecting down the field, instead opting to utilize their safeties in the box for run support or in blitzing roles. Buffalo is likely to see plenty of snaps with eight or nine defenders lined up across the line of scrimmage, daring Allen to correctly interpret who’s coming and who’s dropping and make a correct and accurate throw. If Allen can’t hit the deep ball, he could at least beat the defense with Beasley. Cole Beasley’s ability to separate early in the play can be the key to beating the Cover-0 looks from opposing defenses without having to rely on accurate passes 30 yards down the field into man coverage. I certainly wouldn’t complain if Allen were to hit a few of those, but in the event his deep-ball struggles continue, having Beasley on the field can help provide the cure to what ails the Bills’ offense in those situations. ...and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I’m Bruce Nolan with Buffalo Rumblings. You can find me on Twitter @BruceExclusive and look for episodes of “The Nick & Nolan Show” on the Buffalo Rumblings podcast network every week! View the full article
  11. Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images A team many believe to be one of the worst in league history has a...gulp...win streak coming into their second game against Buffalo. Let’s see what happened The Miami Dolphins are so bad they actively screwed up their own tank by winning two games in a row. With back-to-back victories over the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts the Dolphins are displaying a level of competence no one saw coming. So then, what in the world? Play 1 We’ll start with the Dolphins’ second victory against the Colts because it’s easier to explain. A Miami fumble on their opening drive gave the ball to the Colts near mid-field. Indianapolis marched down and Brian Hoyer threw this touchdown to Eric Ebron. Uh, wait. No he didn’t. A miracle interception by Steven Parker gave the ball back to Miami and left the Colts with zilch. Miami put together a respectable drive to come away with a field goal. Colts driving, prevented precious points. Play 2 The two teams traded scoreless possessions back and forth until late in the second quarter. Brian Hoyer was looking for Ebron again and overthrew the ball, and Bobby McCain was in great position to scoop it up. McCain’s slide allowed him to get up and move the ball all the way to the Indianapolis 12. From there, Miami was able to score their only touchdown of the game. Play 3 With 13 points, Miami is leading by a single point after hitting a field goal moments before this play. Zach Pascal has a step or three on Nik Needham and Hoyer is locked in. Needham catches up and Miami has the ball back in field goal range. A few running plays later they take the points to go up by four. If it weren’t for the interceptions this game is almost certainly a different outcome. Despite extra possessions they only moved the ball 229 yards. Of those, 70 came on the ground on 26 attempts for a wretched 2.7 yards per carry. The passing game didn’t fare much better with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for 169 yards on 33 attempts, with one interception and zero touchdowns. Play 4 The Dolphins took care of the Jets primarily thanks to about one quarter of Fitzmagic. Starting at 2:05 left in the first quarter at their own 39-yard line, Miami moved the ball in large part thanks to two catches by Preston Williams. This is the second one, good for 26 yards. As Buffalo Bills fans likely remember, Fitzpatrick has no qualms about throwing to a covered receiver and giving him a shot. He does so here and Williams delivers. Williams has about 5” over Darryl Roberts and uses his larger frame and longer arms to help him out. However, if Roberts had looked for the ball it’s probably batted away. Play 5 Guess who. It’s Preston Williams again at the beginning of the second quarter. There’s a good chance this is a touchdown even if the defense remembered Williams existed, but the Jets sure made this one easy. Following this touchdown the Jets nailed a 22-yard play then imploded. A negative play was followed by two penalties resulting in a 3rd-and-27 attempt. As expected they didn’t convert. Play 6 Miami got the ball back at their own 16 and moved the ball right back down the field. While this drive was more methodical than the last, it was helped by two chunk plays by Mike Gesicki. Here’s the second of those. Gesicki finds a soft spot in the coverage and nobody on the Jets reacts in time. This 12-yard catch was a huge conversion for the Dolphins. Play 7 Just like we saw with the long catch by Williams, Fitzpatrick lobs the ball toward DeVante Parker and trusts he’ll come down with it. He does and it’s another seven points for the ‘Fins. Following this touchdown, the Jets avoided a three-and-out situation simply due to the fact that a play had to be redone thanks to a penalty on New York. Play 8 We’re STILL in the second quarter and Miami has possession at midfield thanks to the Jets’ inability to move the ball and a meh punt. The Dolphins don’t do much special except for this play. Gesicki isn’t forgotten about this time, but the coverage (James Burgess) reacts slowly and gets burnt. Burgess catches up to make the tackle but it’s 34 yards too late. Play 9 And if you’re wondering who capped this one off, we have Preston Williams again. This touchdown happened with just under two minutes to go in the second quarter, marking the third touchdown in about 15 minutes of play. Williams was a critical part of the offense and Bills fans might remember Williams as the Dolphins’ best weapon against Bufalo, with 6 catches (8 targets) for 82 yards. Summary The story against the Indianapolis Colts is very straightforward. One miracle interception prevented a Colts score and led to a Dolphins field goal. One bad throw and one bad decision/good play by the defense led to two more interceptions and ten more points for the Dolphins. In a game decided by four, those turnovers gave Miami the win. Against the Jets, the Dolphins were bottled up for 45 minutes. In the clips above covering the other 15 they moved the ball 201 yards and put up 21 points. For the rest of the game it was 115 yards and five points. The Jets repeatedly shot themselves in the foot with penalties (4 for 40 yards), forgot to cover the Dolphins’ biggest weapons several times, and lost a few contested catches when defensive backs failed to look for the ball. Ultimately, the two wins shouldn’t make Miami any more scary to face than last time. Though it could happen, there’s no reason to think Buffalo’s secondary will allow that many big plays against Miami. A multiple turnover day is also a possibility, though recent history suggests this, too, is unlikely. And oh yeah, that Preston Williams guy who was doing so much damage for the Dolphins was hurt against the Jets and is now on injured reserve. That’s never something to gloat over, but it’s a major loss for an already struggling team. Add in a suspension to starting running back Mark Walton and Bills fans should sleep a little easier. View the full article
  12. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images Lots to unpack here. The AFC playoff picture shifted dramatically on Thursday night, as the Cleveland Browns beat the sixth-seeded Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 21-7. Pittsburgh falls to 5-5 while Cleveland keeps their hopes alive at 4-6. That wasn’t the top-line takeaway from the game, though. The teams were playing out the remaining seconds and nothing of importance was happening. With eight seconds left in a two-score game, Steelers QB Mason Rudolph passed the ball to his running back when nothing was open down the field. The cameras panned to the ballcarrier who went out of bounds harmlessly down the field. When cameras panned back to the end zone, Rudolph was without his helmet, which was in the clutched hand of Browns’ DE Myles Garrett. A second later, Garrett swung the helmet down onto the crown of Rudolph’s unprotected skull. Luckily, the blow was glancing as the bottom, padded area of the helmet was what came into contact with Rudolph and a pair of Steelers offensive linemen who were attempting to separate the two players. It could have been much worse if it was the crown of the helmet. What we saw later on replays was Garrett took Rudolph to the ground very late and very unnecessarily. Garrett ended up on top of Rudolph and decided to stay for a while, likely including some choice words for the second-year QB. Rudolph grabbed the back of Garrett’s helmet and flung his legs. (Some are saying this is Rudolph “starting” the altercation by purposefully kicking Garrett in the groin area.) As Garrett gets up off of Rudolph, he grabs him by the facemask and drags him to his feet, pulling off his helmet. Editor’s note: We’ll put a few videos in here, in case one of them is removed from YouTube. So while that’s the big story coming from Thursday night, the more important one for the Buffalo Bills and the rest of the AFC is the loss by the Pittsburgh Steelers (now 5-5). Pittsburgh had been in sixth place in the conference based on tiebreakers following their four-game winning streak. The loss drops them a half-game behind the Indianapolis Colts (5-4) and the Oakland Raiders (5-4) in the race for the six seed behind Buffalo (6-3). Buffalo heads to Pittsburgh in a month in what could very well be a game that decides a playoff spot or eliminates one team from contention. With 10-6 looking to be the cutoff for a playoff spot in a hotly-contested race, Buffalo’s three losses looks pretty good compared to Pittsburgh’s five right now. Full AFC Standings 1. New England Patriots (8-1) 2. Baltimore Ravens (7-2) 3. Houston Texans (6-3, 5-1 AFC) 4. Buffalo Bills (6-3, 4-2 AFC) 5. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) 6. Oakland Raiders (5-4, head-to-head win over IND) 7. Indianapolis Colts (5-4, , head-to-head loss to OAK) 8. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5, 4-3 AFC) 9. Tennessee Titans (5-5, 4-4 AFC) 10. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) 11. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6) 12. Denver Broncos (3-6, head-to-head win over CLE) 13. Cleveland Browns (3-6, head-to-head loss to DEN) 14. Miami Dolphins (2-7, head-to-head win over NYJ) 15. New York Jets (2-7, head-to-head loss to MIA) 16. Cincinnati Bengals (0-9) AFC Playoff Standings 1. New England Patriots (8-1) 2. Baltimore Ravens (7-2) 3. Houston Texan (6-3, 5-1 AFC) 4. Kansas City Chiefs (6-4) 5. Buffalo Bills (6-3, 4-2 AFC) 6. Oakland Raiders (5-4, head-to-head win over IND) ———————————————————————————- 7. Indianapolis Colts (5-4, , head-to-head loss to OAK) 8. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5, 4-3 AFC) 9. Tennessee Titans (5-5, 4-4 AFC) 10. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-5) 11. Los Angeles Chargers (4-6) 12. Denver Broncos (3-6, head-to-head win over CLE) 13. Cleveland Browns (3-6, head-to-head loss to DEN) View the full article
  13. Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images There’s plenty to discuss in this week’s podcast This week’s episode of Breaking Buffalo Rumblings features a special guest with Greg Tompsett of Cover1.net joining the show. Anthony and Greg take some time to discuss all of the question marks that have surrounded the Buffalo Bills of late including Josh Allen, Levi Wallace, Brian Daboll, Devin Singletary and much more. Be sure to leave your comments below and let us know where you stand on the discussion. Thank you for listening to Breaking Buffalo Rumblings and go Bills! Editor’s note: If you’re viewing this article on Apple News, the embedded audio will be removed. Click through to the site in your browser or listen on iTunes. Subscribe to the Buffalo Rumblings podcast channel featuring Billieve, Blitzed Bills, Buffalo Rumblings Q&A, Breaking Buffalo Rumblings, Mafia Mavens, Circling the Wagons, and the Nick and Nolan Show: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Play | Spotify | Podbean | iHeartRadio | TuneIn | Megaphone View the full article
  14. Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images The Bills are looking to improve to 7-3 The Buffalo Bills are set to travel this weekend to take on the Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon. Today’s links include plenty of updates to get you ready for the game, including some of the latest podcast episodes from Buffalo Rumblings. Pressure will be squarely on Bills against plucky Dolphins – The Buffalo News Josh Allen’s accuracy on deep balls, or lack thereof, was the dominant topic during the quarterback’s weekly press conference. (Subscription required.) McDermott's message: 'Play fearless' | WGR 550 SportsRadio “The Bills are still looking to complete a deep pass (this) season” With Buffalo Bills offense in need of a jolt, Josh Allen reveals Sean McDermott’s marching orders - newyorkupstate.com Allen: “Coach sat us down today and said, ‘Play fearless,’" Dolphins matchup may no longer be a 'gimme game' | WGR 550 SportsRadio “The Bills can't afford to look past a 2-7 Dolphins team this Sunday” Tight Tigers: Ryan Clark has helped shape Tre White's career | WGR 550 SportsRadio “The Bills cornerback and ESPN analyst have a very strong bond” How Bills guard Jon Feliciano became one of the most improved players in ‘Madden 20’ – The Athletic Feliciano, a lifelong gamer, wanted to understand why his rating this year was so low, so he went to the people responsible. (Subscription required.) Bills tight end Dawson Knox misses practice – The Buffalo News "Buffalo Bills rookie tight end Dawson Knox did not practice Thursday with knee soreness, coach Sean McDermott told reporters." Featured on Buffalo Rumblings Jerry Hughes, Dawson Knox pop up on Buffalo Bills injury report - Buffalo Rumblings A couple injuries in practice to two key starters. AFC Playoff Race: Buffalo Bills rooting interests, Week 11 - Buffalo Rumblings "The Buffalo Bills lost their Week 10 game against the Cleveland Browns, inching them closer to the rest of the teams in the AFC Playoff race." Nick & Nolan: How would firing Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll affect Josh Allen, Miami Dolphins preview - Buffalo Rumblings The pitchforks are out. Q&A: Brian Daboll & Devin Singletary, Levi Wallace, lots more questions this week - Buffalo Rumblings Time management was an issue. AFC Playoff Odds: Buffalo Bills have 60% chance of postseason berth - Buffalo Rumblings "Last week, the Buffalo Bills had a 71% chance of making the playoffs as a 6-2 team, according to the New York Times Playoff Simulator." Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: television broadcast map, announcers Week 11 - Buffalo Rumblings Can you watch Sunday’s game? It’s a limited map. View the full article
  15. Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images This is a big game for Buffalo. View the full article
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