Bills shutout! The Buffalo Bills continued their dominance over the Miami Dolphins in Sunday’s Week 2 matchup at Hard Rock Stadium. I predicted a narrow win in the preview article with our Dolphins team but Buffalo had other ideas. The Bills earned their first shutout since 2016 in the 35-0 win. Coming into the game, there was a lot of noise about the Dolphins stepping up and challenging for the top spot in the AFC East. The Bills silenced that talk and proved they are still tiers ahead of their divisional opponent. This game got out of hand quickly with Buffalo bringing the pressure on defense and scoring with quick strikes on offense. Tua Tagovailoa took a hard hit from AJ Epenesa early in the game and never returned due to a rib injury. The Bills left a lot on the table on offense but still cruised to an easy victory. Buffalo now sits alone atop the AFC East where they hope to remain for the rest of the season.
Young Pass Rushers
This should be known as the “AJ Epenesa game”. Epenesa only played 34 snaps but recorded 9 pressures and 2 QB hits, one of which was the clean strike that forced Tua out of the game. He didn’t get the stats but his pressure directly led to 2 sacks and Levi Wallace’s interception. Epenesa was by far the Bills’ best pass rusher. As for this year’s top pick, Gregory Rousseau had 2 sacks in the stadium he called home in college. He led the Bills defensive ends in snaps against Miami and rewarded the team for showing that confidence in him. Rousseau’s length and motor were on full display as he cleaned up in the pass and run game. Epenesa and Rousseau led the Bills shutout effort with 9 and 8 pressures, respectively. The young duo complement each other well and give the Bills an exciting tandem for the future.
Johnson has arguably been the Bills best defender through the first 2 games. He played 61 defensive snaps, good for 4th most on the team. Johnson recorded 4 total tackles, 2 passes defensed, a forced fumble, and a sack. He has been playing on another level, earning praise from teammate Jordan Poyer who called him the “best nickel in the league”. Johnson is earning himself a big payday with this hot start to his contract year.
Frazier coached a perfect game for his defense and deserves credit for the Bills shutout. The team was excellent at taking away the first read on every play and was creative with their blitz packages. Defensive linemen, linebackers, and defensive backs all got in on the fun with multiple sacks credited to each group. In total, the Bills forced 38 pressures and 6 sacks along with 3 turnovers and 2 stops on 4th down. This was a statement performance by the group and Coach Frazier.
Devin Singletary went untouched on a 46 yard house call on the Bills second offensive play. He averaged over 6 yards per carry for a second straight week and looked good doing so. Zack Moss was active after being a healthy scratch last week. He fumbled early in the game but got a second chance and made the most of it. Moss punched in 2 touchdowns on hard fought runs that showcased his toughness and ability to run through contact. Josh Allen also had success on his 5 runs gaining 35 yards. The offensive line looked much better this week opening up lanes for the backs. Jon Feliciano had a notable bounce back performance after some people (me) called him a liability last week. I hope he continues to show out like he did in Miami.
For an offense that scored 5 touchdowns they sure did struggle. After jumping to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Buffalo had 6 straight drives end in zero points. The passing game was inconsistent and disappointing for a second straight week. Miami’s secondary is elite but that hasn’t stopped Josh Allen before. He finished with a stat line of 17/33 for 179 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception. Just as concerning as Allen’s play, Brian Daboll failed to adjust and give the offense a more favorable look. It’s not so bad that we should be panicking but it is a definite concern at this point that things look so out of sync. On a positive note, we won this game 35-0 so we know that the rest of the team can step up while they get things figured out.
NFL Taunting Policy
The NFL decided to put an emphasis on shutting down “taunting” this year. Not only is this penalty subjective and impossible to call consistently but it’s downright embarrassing that anyone in the NFL would want this. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t want the other team to celebrate, don’t get beat. NFL refs were throwing taunting flags at everything this week and taking a lot of great plays off the board. Levi Wallace played a hell of a game on Sunday but fell victim to this dumb rule. At the end of the first quarter, he made a perfect pass breakup on Devante Parker and celebrated while he was still overtop of Parker. This harmless act gave the Dolphins 15 yards and a first down. Luckily, Wallace got the last laugh with an interception just 2 plays later.
Buffalo will head back home for a Week 3 matchup with the Taylor Heinicke led Washington Football Team. It’s a shame that Ryan Fitzpatrick is out but I hope he can still travel and receive a warm welcome in Buffalo. Vegas isn’t giving Washington much respect as 9.5 point underdogs but Sean McDermott knows better than to overlook Ron Rivera.
Check back in later this week for a Week 3 preview. Go Bills!