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Miami vs. Buffalo: Keys to the game

The Dolphins return to the football field on Sunday against the Buffalo Bill, The Miami Herald has learned.

These are the keys to the game:

When the Dolphins pass the football: The Dolphins have two goals when they throw the ball: Complete the pass. Keep quarterback Ryan Tannehill from getting hit. It’s debatable which of the two is more important. The Dolphins are allowing more sacks per game than any other NFL team and as the offensive line is unchanged from the previous five games, even coming off a bye week, there is little reason to believe Tannehill won’t get hit this game as he has others. Led by Mario Williams, who is third in the NFL with eight sacks, the Bills are ninth overall in sacks per pass play. The Dolphins will be looking to get some easy completions by running more wide receiver screens than usual and this should offer one way to keep Tannehill from getting hit while still completing passes. ADVANTAGE: Even.

When the Dolphins run the football: Lamar Miller was successful against the Bills the last time he played against them, as he averaged 7.3 yards per carry on 10 carries. But the Miami running game has been a major disappointment so far this season to the point fans are calling for trades for a running back or along the offensive line. The Dolphins might be wise to take a page out of the Buffalo game plan and simply not give up on the running game so easily. The Bills, you see, are
not very good at stopping the run. They rank 28th in the NFL in that department. It must be noted, however, that much of that damage came the first three weeks of the season when New England and New York bulldozed the Bills up front. ADVANTAGE: Even.

When the Bills run the football:  The Bills are third in the NFL in rushing yards per game and that because they run the ball well and often. C.J. Spiller hasn’t been the weapon he was last year but he still is averaging a healthy 4.2 yards per rush while Fred Jackson is at 4.6 yards per pop. The Bills had six runs of 10 yards or more against Baltimore’s solid defense three weeks ago and had another five runs over 10 yards last week against Cincinnati. The Dolphins are hopeful middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe will be available to them for this game but the fact his status is uncertain and he’s nursing a shoulder injury is troubling because he is the team’s best run-defending linebacker. The Dolphins don’t like sinking the safety into the tackle box to stop the run but this might be a game that calls for exactly that move. ADVANTAGE: Buffalo

When the Bills pass the football: QB Thad Lewis, a South Florida native and Hialeah-Miami Lakes High alumnus, returns to his hometown as a little known and mostly untried professional quarterback. Lewis is playing because rookie E.J. Manuel is out for Buffalo but he also is nursing a foot injury. The Bills weren’t a passing team even with their starting quarterback and now are less so but they still pose a threat deep with rookie Marquise Goodwin, have a proven if also enigmatic veteran in Stevie Johnson and make good use of both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson out of the backfield. The Bills do struggle to protect the QB, however. They are 27th in the NFL in sacks per pass play. The Dolphins are getting healthier up front with Paul Soliai and Cameron Wake both nearing 100 percent. Pass pressure has fallen the last couple of weeks so the Dolphins are hoping for a rebound. ADVANTAGE: Miami.

Special teams: Brandon Fields is the NFL’s leading punter and a weapon in flipping the field in Miami’s favor. The Bills punter is Brian Moorman and he’s averaging a solid 42 net yards per punt but the Bills are lucky to have him because their plan coming out of camp was having Shawn Powell do the job – until Cleveland had 179 yards and a touchdown in return yards. That one went bad. This one went right: The Bills signed former Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter and he’s been excellent in that he’s made 12 of 13 kicks, including all three of his attempts of 50 yards or more. Leodis McKelvin, who returned a punt for a touchdown against Miami last season, is back in the punt return role after missing time with an injury.  He has only four returns and is averaging only 9.5 yards per, but he is dangerous. Miami’s Marcus Thigpen also had a TD return against the Bills last season. ADVANTAGE: Even. Coaching: Former Dolphins reserve offensive lineman Doug Marrone is instilling a solid culture in Buffalo. The team seems more disciplined than in the past and has been especially improved on defense where the secondary has played well despite injuries, veteran Mario Williams is having a solid season and linebacker Kiko Alonso is a rookie of the year candidate. The Dolphins have issues to address – no running game, no ability to protect the quarterback -- and coaches have had a week to get it right. The tweaks and adjustments the staff has made to address the issues will be interesting to see. ADVANTAGE: Even.

Intangibles: The Dolphins are coming off a bye. They’ve had two weeks to prepare for this game and are reasonably healthy. Quarterback Thad Lewis, meanwhile, is returning to his home town as an
unexpected starter for Buffalo – a big moment for him. OVERALL ADVANTAGE: Miami.


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The Bills are not as bad as some thought they would be. However, if we can't win this game we are not as good as we hoped. This game will measure progress or lack thereof.

Dan Carp. Will have 18 pts. Eh?

Tfumble cant throw from his back eh?

Hell, I wrote it in the wrong place. Well... LV considers us, aside from the Home field advantage, down from 7 earlier this week to 4 point favorites now to beat Buff tomorrow, probably due to the fact that CJ Spiller is going to play and that Buff D line.

T int has 18 picks in 21 games eh?

I hope the tweaks and adjustments the staff has made to address the issues work - I'd hate to see 5 or 6 sacks again, as has been happening.
I hope we give Tannehill more time to find the open receiver and not have him throw it prematurely (2.5 seconds) because he was about to get hit. If these tweaks and adjustments work we should come out on top. Our D is Phenomenal, now that Patterson and Wake are back and with Solai up front, we should be in good shape defensively, if we can reduce the sacks and QB pressures we will win this game. Will not be easy but this is a must win for us. Unlike the Bills we can make the playoffs.

Our linebackers will be the key
If they can stop the run we will win

Why the fear of CJ Spiller? He's faster to the corner than any D player in the NFL and from there, he can rumble. Great pick by Buff. Moreover, he likes to run to the right and Phillip Wheeler, we could say, has not been a fantastic tackler this year.

We do have a huge advantage in facing a very inexperienced QB, which I believe our D can confuse him and get to him. Probably our 4 point advantage there.

The Bills are garbage. The fact that the Dolphins are worried about them shows that the Dolphins are garbage too. Dolphins vs Buffalo is a total snoozefest.

You don't win any $ from LV, Paul, thinking that way.

Paul is correct

Thad lewis will come in and look like a seasoned vet. I called the loss last week...calling for another this week. Jackson and Spiller will make enough plays in the run game to move the chains. Wood's and Johnson will keep the back balance as the running game churns out yards.

On our side we can't run it and can't stretch the field. Same issues we had last year just diff personnel. Buff front 7 is a nightmare and they also get very good safety play.

Nice Write, Mando

Any given Sunday

This game hinges on whether Miami can stop the run or not?

If the Dolphins run defense shows up and the Bills practice squad QB is forced to throw then
... expect turnovers by the Miami defense an
A win for Miami

Home has Miami by 10 points

Go Phins !

can I comment...or is it considered RUDE to interupt OSCAR while he carries on this conversation with himself under so many names...

anybody know the internet ettiquette on that?

Mondo I like your analytical approach to Dolphins games What they have to do to get a win. How about playing good ole fashion football. Tackling and blocking is football, when you come right down to it. And the Dolphins have not been doing, that was Shulas era, even JJ. Now they have uncle Joe coaching and his style, if you call it that, is nothing compared to the two fore mentioned coaches. Uncle Joe doesnt have what a football person would call a style, unless its not blocking nor tackling. This Dolphin team reminds me of a Pop Warner football team. Everyone going in different directions, and QBs fumbling the ball,,,,,Pop Warner.
I wont take the Dolphins under any circumstances or playing any NFL football team al of which do everything well, that the Dolphins can not.

On any given Sunday the Dolphins are losing,,,poorly

interupt I believe is with rr, Kris.

I mean....if you're having trouble sleeping...turn on the Fins-Bills game haha

In case anyone is interested there are some free tickets to the game being offered on Craigslist.

Remember the "the byeweek oline tweek"?

Well, the Bills pass rush will be the perfect test to see how well that worked out for us. 3 or less sacks, possible improvement made. 2 or less, definite improvement made. 4 or more, hang on boys, it's going to be a very rough to the finish ride.

Most likely, it's back to the all to familiar, December mock draft ride. You guys remember this, right?

the guy that needs to be a factor in this offense sunday is Wallace, to this point for what Miami paid to get him here has been nothing but a bust in the passing game.....

He has not earned a damn cent of that contract in the first five weeks of play, and if decoy was the game miamis FO wanted FROM HIM in opening up the pass game, then that was a complete screw job by this organization IMO....you don't have to throw deep 10 times a game to get this guy involved as they did in indy(not like we have time to do so either thanks to our pass protection or lack of)

Bet the over, Paul, bet the over.

It's not that Miami can't run, it's that we don't run. We need to establish a running game by giving Miller the ball 20-25 times a game.

Dolphins had better be up to snuff on their run stop game. If not, this game can really get ugly. Best chance to win this game is to force the Bills rookie qb into 2nd and 3rd and longs. Like Armando said, when Buffalo HAS TO PASS,


If we can not stop the run, with 2nd and 3rd and shorts, even a ROOKIE NFL QB can carve up defenses.

if Miami loses to buffalo on sunday.....im definitely changing my prediction on the season to possibly receiving a top 10 pick in 2014 draft next year....just sayin

no excuses to losing to buffalo with having two extra weeks to prepare, I expect Miami to come out punch buffalo in the face early in often with inexperienced thad lewis leading their offense and miamis run game to actually be a factor somewhat in this game...

MIA 27
BUF 10


First of all, it isn't entirely on Wallace that "he hasn't earned a cent of his contract". Sure, he's dropped some "easily catchable" balls, but they are few and far inbetween they haven't been a "DECIISIVE FACTOR". I would say Tannehill's "UNDERTHROWS" have been far more of a factor because they have come with Wallace "WIDE OPEN" behind defenses.

Actually, the Wallace situation is 3-FOLD. Wallace has dropped at least 5 very catchable passes(only 1 deep), Tannehill has UNDERTHROWN at least 5 deep to a WIDE OPEN Wallace, and SHERMAN hasn't been CREATIVE ENOUGH in the scheming to take MORE ADVANTAGE of all of the things Wallace brings to the table.

If all of this means, Wallace has not EARNED A CENT of his contract, I'll wink-wink with you on that one.

Wallace is being paid to make plays, not everything is on him, sure, BUT when you pay a guy top 5 receiver money thru 5 games...ur paying that guy to be a difference maker and make those tough catches and make defenders respect more than just a deep threat

6 drops thus far tied with the league lead is not good enough, 1 td and 281 yrds rcieving is not good enuff...and there have been multiple times where Wallace simply doesn't fight to catch the ball from other defenders or break up the play to prevent an possible turnover.granted, T--hill hasn't made the best of throws deep but Wallace hasn't exactly given it his all when trying to make a play either.....

Also, in essence, Hartline is really the #1 wr on this team. I deem defining the #1 wr as, the one the qb is MOST COMFORTABLE with, and most comfortable with in CRITICAL situations. We all know that's Brian Hartline.

I'm not 100% comfortable with Hartline as a #1 wr, but, for all practical purposes he is. Before bringing Wallace in, Ireland and the rest of the NFL, already knew that Wallace wasn't and established and proven #1 wr. So, still it's on Ireland for signing a more proven #2 wr, as a less proven #1 wr, to a contract of $60 million dollars.

For all the offseason wr dollars spent, we still only upgraded 1 wr position. Slot wr, where we upgraded Bess. We still do not have a LEGIT and PROVEN #1 WR. But, we do have TWO #2 WR'S in Hartline and Wallace.

Wallace will not become a TRUE FACTOR until Tannehill becomes MORE ACCURATE in getting the ball on Wallace's hands deep.

In an interwiew with Omar Kelly, Wallace seemed to me to be extremely immature, just like most of these diva receivas seem to be.

Dr. Canosa report to the ER.....Dr. Canosa please report to the ER!

We have multiple Dolphin fans about to commit suicide!


That's fine and I can understand your point of view on Wallace and tannehill but when I watch guys like AJ GREEN, CALVIN JOHNSON, ANDRE JOHNSON, DEZ BRYANT,JULIO JONES, and guys like that who are premiere WRs in the league, I see guys that go all out to make plays on balls that are underthrown, overthrown, or just poorly thrown in most games that they come up big for their teams when needed

I haven't seen that in Wallace yet thru five weeks, and that's concerning..JUST SAYIN!!!

SuperPHIN, exactly what I'm talking about, as far as Wallace not being a PROVEN #1 WR, before signing him here. Fighting for balls? He was not known for this before arriving to Miami. Some of these things are on Ireland too. The zebra wasn't going to lose his stripes just because he changed playgrounds.

Seems the offensive coaching staff wasn't quite ready for Wallace either. Proof of this is that we do not see more play designs taking advantage of everything Wallace brings to the table. Thus far, we do not have a qb on the same page accuracy wise, in getting the ball on time deep to Wallace.

When considering these things, the structure of this offense and the inability of Tannehill to deliver and hook up ON TIME, with Wallace deep, has turned Wallace into "JUST ANOTHER" average NFL wr with this team.

SuperPhin there are about 40 players with better stats than Wallace right now! And they make way less money than Wallace and are lesser known WR's

SuperPHIN, all of those wr's you mentioned are PROVEN #1 WR's. Wallace didn't come with that billing. Also, thw wr's you mentioned seem to have qb's with better accuracy and timing in getting the BALL DEEP to their wr's.

I really hate Tannehll's deep ball accuracy. I would say he hits 1 out of 10 deepball thrown, no matter who he throws to. Even if he had thw wr's you mentioned.

Tannehill REALLY needs to GREATLY IMPROVE his DEEPBALL ACCURACY. Hate to say it, he greatly reminds me of CAD HENNE in the deepball prospects of his game.

Wait Sam Wallace got paid #1 WR and he did come with that billing.

Ireland wasted 60 mill on JACKASS Mike Wallace.

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | October 19, 2013 at 03:04 PM

I don't doubt that at all considering seeing guys like Keenen Allen, D-andre Hopkins, TY Hilton, and guys like that perform for their respective teams to name a few....
And not to take away from what Clay has done as a TE this year, but the loss of keller was huge because I really think he was going to be the main attraction in receiving scores this year compared to any other player....

Anyway, the main reason for signing Wallace was DEEP SPEED. If Wallace didn't have that blinding speed, can you think of any other reason he would have become a Dolphin?

So, with SPEED being the primary, then having a qb who consistently underthrows that speed. Then what do we have left? Just another QUESTIONABLE Ireland OFFSEASON DECISION, right?

As I remember many sports outlets were reporting back in March that Wallace would be a huge Free Agent bust. He has not made those prognostications look bad


I don't know about that, im not sold on Matt Ryan, Andy Daulton, or Tony Romo, or even Mathew stafford being that much better than Tannehill honestly, I think they have way better protection and overall talent than Miami does at this point but those guys aren't elite QBs by any means and they have looked bad at times in their careers and having go to guys like that have always enhanced their reps as good players in this league....

The running game stinks because our RB's stink.

Lamar Miller = Another Irescum bust.

D Thomas = 3 Irescum busts


Arnsparger, everyone knew with the exception of speed, Wallace came with very many warts.

The major headbanger, Tannehill seems to consistently underthrow him when he is WIDE OPEN deep. That's the singular most important reason Wallace is here.

But, now we seem not to have the qb that can not consistently help us take advantage of the very reason Wallace was brought here. I'm not trying to defend Wallace, just stating what all of our eyes consistently see.

Wallace has speed, gobs and gobs of it. Wallace doesn't have great size (6'0", 180 pounds), though, and his hands are inconsistent. Per Pro Football Focus, Wallace caught just 54.9 percent of his targets in 2012, ranking him 77th out of 107 qualifying receivers. Buyer beware: Rosenthal himself said Wallace is "not...a complete receiver." The holes in Wallace's game are real, and the team that signs him to a monster contract will be getting this year's biggest free-agent bust.

A better QB would open up the running game. Defenses arent afraid of Tannehill passing so they just load the box to stop the run.

Arnsparger, just like fa's before him(Marshall, Bush, etc..). It's nearly guaranteed Wallace could leave Miami and return to PRO BOWL form because OTHER COACHING STAFFS have the personnel and scheming to better take advantage of his ability.

How many times have we seen this happen in Miami? All to many, right?

That's why we should trade Wallace. There are a few teams out there that would take and are in need of a WR. On another team with more WR talent he would shine. Teams like SF, GB or ATL?? Dump this contract now before it chokes us!

I have stated on record before Miami started out this season 3-0 that I still wasn't going to jump in bed with irefiend and his offseason aggressiveness and I hated that ross thought so highly of him to give him a contract extension so soon in the season...

Posted by: Nat Moore | October 19, 2013 at 03:20 PM

have you watched our ineptitude of an O-line this year????? Tom Brady couldn't make anything other than mediocre work with this group of protectors nor a running game.....u cant be serious!!!!

SuperPhin....don't let the extension fool you. If we tank no extension would matter. It is only a one year extension. Pretty much the same the extension he gave Sporano....how did that extension work out?

Arnsparger, exactly! Everyone knows Wallace comes with some warts. But, the wart he didn't come with is a qb that consistently UNDERTHROWS him when he's WIDE OPEN deep.

Fort all of the warts Wallace comes with, he's worth everyone one of them, if he has a QB that can CONSISTENTLY be ON TARGET with him when he is wide open deep.

We ALL KNOW Tannehill hasn't quite been this as of yet. Tannehill not being consistently accurate deep, just adds a new wart to Wallace's game.

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | October 19, 2013 at 03:26 PM

I know and ive mentioned that when he received it but just giving him further job security hope made me skeptical in the fact that ross was buying what he was selling..just sayin!!!

Sam even if Tannehill were on target 100% of the time Wallace is still going to catch only 54.9% of the throws. He is ranked in the lower third of all WR. We were desparate....as usual....and made a bad deal! There is a reason the Steelers let him go!

However if Wallace were on SF, ATL, GB or NE he would appear to be a star. Because of the 54.9% of thrws he would catch they would be huge gains and his numbers would look fantastic. Much like Marshall since leaving us. and Welker. and......

As far as Tannehill/Wallace having more opportunities to connect over the top of defenses, all went out the window with a HORRIBLE pass protect oline.

That's why I say, it's more the situation surrounding Wallace, than Wallace himself not being the answer. This offense overall needs lots of fixing before it can maximize the benefits of a Mike Wallace.

Wallace himself isn't the bust, when there's so much around him that's busted.

I think the steelers miss his presence in the passing game no doubt because of guys that were there in Brown, Miller and company, and big ben had more proven experience in throwing more accurately down field with Wallace there...

But they also knew that paying him top money was out of the question and yes Miami was desperate as were the Vikings who offered more but settled for Jennings(who im glad we passed on still)

Isn't the blog nice when the name callers and know it alls are not playing? Look at how respectful the convo is without them.

Super....Antonio Brown is the #2 rated WR today. He is having his best season so far.

I agree sam, the offensive line is atrocious right now and it doesn't matter who the QB is back there, that needs to be priority #1 in the offseason next year

I will say that Tannehill holds on to the ball too damn long and tries to wait for plays to develop that aren't there..his pocket awareness has been poor and I can only hope he worked these last two weeks to improve that part of his game

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