Ryan Tannehill has been able to beat the Patriots and the Jets. But the one team that has given him the most trouble in the past four years is the Buffalo Bills. Tannehill and the Dolphins were able to rally back from an 11 point deficit in the 3rd quarter in front of a loud crowd at Hard Rock Stadium. Of course the newly renovated stadium’s addition of a roof helped with elevating the crowd noise. I guess it was worth the 500 million spent by team owner Stephen Ross.
Entering this game Miami had to accomplish many things. They learned in the previous week that Reshad Jones would miss the remainder of the season because of a torn rotator cuff which was the last thing they wanted to hear after their defense had been struggling since the start of the season. Miami’s defense had to show up especially the defensive line. They had to contain Tyrod Taylor and Lesean McCoy. The offensive line had to protect Ryan Tannehill from Buffalo’s aggressive defensive line. And Jay Ajayi had to show up and bring balance to Miami’s offense. It all happened.
For the second straight game the Miami Dolphins were able to beat the odds and most importantly find a way to win. This is what good teams do. They find ways to win even though certain aspects of the game aren’t going your way.
Jay Ajayi started the game like a bat out of hell, but the passing game was lagging. Miami was only able to produce 1 field goal in the first quarter, but the defense held Buffalo to only a field goal as well. The beginning of the second quarter didn’t look good as Buffalo was able to partially block a punt. This allowed Buffalo dangerous field position just inside the 40 yard line. Eventually, Buffalo would convert the advantage into a touchdown run by Tyrod Taylor.
Coming into the second half Miami was able to keep pace with Buffalo with the score being 10-6 as Buffalo held the lead. But in the 3rd quarter Bills’ speedy WR Marquise Goodwin was able to blow by CB Byron Maxwell and Tyrod Taylor was able to convert that into a bomb to the end zone. Miami continued to feed Jay Ajayi as he was on pace to cross 200 yards rushing for a second straight game which was something that hadn’t been done in the NFL by none other than former Miami Dolphin Ricky Williams. Could it be the dreads?
Adam Gase was criticized at the beginning of the season for not being patient with the run and having an unbalanced offense. When Miami went down 17-6 in the 3rd Adam Gase stuck with the Jay Ajayi running attack and Ajayi would find the end zone. Miami was able to convert a 2pt conversion after and suddenly it was a ball game again. Miami’s defense was able to hold Buffalo to a scoreless drive. The defensive line came up BIG.
Miami would then get the ball with their backs to their own end zone. Miami fans knew this position all too well over the past two seasons. Remember when the Dolphins became the first team to have three back to back to back safeties? This time it didn’t happen. Instead it was a 53 yard run by none other than Jay Ajayi. But Miami thought they had wasted a big run by Ajayi when Tannehill was scrambling for his life and HAD to convert a 3rd and long. Tannehill was able to get the ball out while on the run to Miami’s star receiver Jarvis Landry. Miami had several big plays, but that arguably was the biggest of the day. After, it seemed like it was history from there. Miami was able to find the end zone with Damien Williams. But what got the crowd fired up the most was how several Dolphin’s players shoved Damien Williams into the end zone. They showed such determination which was lacking in the beginning of the season.
The Dolphins were then able to seal the deal with a long TD pass to Kenny Stills. Has he finally made up for the missed TD grab in Seattle?
Miami won this game on all sides of the ball. Most importantly they controlled the clock. This can only be done by running the ball and a solid offensive line. Miami’s defense was able to hold the Bills at the end quite simply because they weren’t gassed at the end. They weren’t on the field more than the offense which has been an all too familiar story for quite some time in Miami.
Miami’s attack was balanced with Jay Ajayi’s monsterous runs and several key plays by receivers Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry. Besides the fact of Jay Ajayi’s 214 yard and 1 TD performance another interesting fact was that Ryan Tannehill was only sacked once.
Is Miami finally starting to find their identity? If there was any time to find their identity what better time would there be than against their division rivals at the newly renovated Hard Rock Stadium.
Dolphins 28, Bills 25