One of the more disappointing things about this season (there have been some, you know) came in the Buffalo loss in November.
The Dolphins lost but it was how it happened that truly frustrated. In losing the Dolphins showed an unexpected inability to run the ball. Understand that the Bills at the time were 32nd in the NFL against the run. That means that as NFL teams go, the Bills against the run basically, um, stink.
And yet Buffalo held Miami to 60 yards rushing. Buffalo limited Miami to 2.5 yards per carry.
It was completely unexpected.
So what up with that, I asked coach Joe Phiblin today.
“They did a good job of getting off of blocks number one, I felt," he said. "Unfortunately, we’ve watched that game a couple of times. We watched it in live color there when I was there. We watched it on the way home from Buffalo. Watched it the next day and I’ve been watching it a couple times this week.
"Number one, they got off blocks very well and the second thing I thought they did is they tackled well. I know that’s simple, but we didn’t have a lot … As you know, a lot of times you’ve got to have backs break a tackle to get explosive runs and we just didn’t have a lot of those. So it’s a credit to them. They got off blocks. Credit their coaches. They had a good game plan and they tackled well."
Did you catch that?
Yes, the Bill get credit for getting off the blocks. Yes, the offensive line has to do a better job of staying locked up. But in those sentences you can find a challenge to Miami's running backs.
And that challenge is this: Break a tackle, will ya!
Philbin appreciates backs that break tackles and definitely Reggie Bush didn't do a ton of that against the Bills. He also didn't make them miss very often.
The idea that Philbin likes backs that break tackles is evident in how he speaks of Buffalo's C.J. Spiller, a player very much like Bush in both size, speed and style.
"Their running back does a great job of breaking tackles and that’s why he's averaging so many yards per carry," Philbin said. "We’ve got to break a couple tackles and we’ve got to sustain our blocks better."