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Bills bring sacks, Dolphins offer improved protection

The enduring picture the Dolphins should have of their first meeting with the Buffalo Bills this year is of defensive end Mario Williams beating offensive tackle Tyson Clabo for a sack, stripping the football, and having it recovered by teammate Kevin Williams at the Dolphins 34 yard line.

A few plays later the Bills kicked a game winning field goal.

The sack sticks in the memory for both teams. The sack also speaks to that which has at times defined both teams.

The Dolphins have allowed an NFL high 51 sacks this season. Those sacks have accounted for 353 lost yards, multiple fumbles and something far more lasting: Those sacks have put the Dolphins on the verge of breaking the franchise record for sacks allowed in one season.

That number is 53 sacks allowed in 1969.

The Bills' defense, on the other hand, leads the NFL with 49 sacks. Buffalo has four players with at least eight sacks and Mario Williams leads that charge with 12. He is merely 2.5 sacks short of setting his own career best in tormenting of the quarterback.

So that's where the Dolphins offensive line and Buffalo defensive line will find themselves initially on Sunday. Buffalo's strength against Miami's weakness.

Bad, right?

But there is hope for the Dolphins. The offensive line the Bills faced in that first game Oct. 6 is gone. Changed. Kaput.

The left guard is different. The left tackle is different. And while the right tackle remains the same, he's playing like a different guy. The Dolphins were allowing 4.4 sacks per game on average before, with Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin and the early-season Tyson Clabo in the lineup.

They are allowing 2.6 sacks on average with Sam Brenner/Nate Garner and Bryant McKinnie and a resurrected Clabo in the lineup.

So has quarterback Ryan Tannehill noticed? Does he feel more comfortable in the pocket now?

“Yes, I think so," he said Wednesday. " It’s natural I think when you’re being protected more, being given a little more time. Building that confidence, receivers knowing that I’m going to have an extra half second, second, whatever it may be. Myself, feeling comfortable to go through second and third read, maybe not having to force it to that first guy. It plays a big part in our offense.”

There has been no better change in direction than Clabo. He yielded eight sacks and 19 hurries his first six games this season. Then the Dolphins traded for McKinnie who moved in as the left tackle and Martin moved over to right tackle for one week.

Clabo was benched in the first meeting against New England.

Well, a week later Martin was AWOL and the Dolphins turned back to Clabo. And in the seven games since going back in the lineup, Clabo has yielded three sacks and nine hurries -- meaning he's basically cut his sacks and hurries allowed by more than half.

"He’s not getting beat obviously and he’s run blocking well to go along with good pass blocking," Tannehill said. " Obviously, I don’t know O-line fundamentals but he’s keeping guys away from me and he’s doing a great job of that."

So what does this all mean?

The Bills will undoubtedly be the most difficult opponent the Miami offensive line faces this year if they want to keep Tannehill upright. But it also means the Bills would be mistaken if they think they'll be facing the same Miami offensive line they faced last time.


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Posted by: NeMo | December 19, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Nemo, I only dislike this passive zone pass defense wen playing upper echelon qb's like Brady. They absolutely chew it up.

However, the zone pass defense is a fairly effective redzone defense, simply because there's far less real estate to defend, causing more of a traffic jam as the field shrink.

It's more of a "bend don't break" defense, but scary at times watching offenses move up and down the field seemingly at will.

Weather forecast in Buffalo: 31 Low and 49 the high with an 80 percent chance of rain and high winds. It does not look like it will be as cold as it can be in Buffalo this time of year. However, the rain and high swirling winds worry me. The Dolphins are a passing team and it will not be a good day to pass the football. It looks like a good day to run a big tough back between the tackles. It looks like a Daniel Thomas type of game. Hopefully, Sherman sticks to the run. In that type of weather you have to play good defense, limit turnovers, and run the football.

I'm pretty sure it's blog hits 4 Armando greg
he has said such in the past
we pay 4 his exotic dominican get away

Posted by: NHFINSFAN | December 19, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Thx brother, got it.

high winds = ouch

2 watt, I will be sitting in Jim Kelly's seats. I would expect him to kiss my arse if the Dolphins win, haha!

Really, it's section 212, club seats named after Jim Kelly. But I doubt he will be there, I mean, who wants to be in Orchard park this time of year unless you work there or want to watch the Dolphins play?

cool we'll look 4 u
club seats huh u 'lil bch?

High winds? Is 15mph really high winds?

Sorry, 15 kms, that's way less like 8-9 mph...


mark, there's gonna b a low parked over the great lakes on sun.
that forecast will change

One thing our RBs are just terrible at is pass protection. This is especially troubling with Thomas as he is certainly big enough to do so, yet still struggles with it. He's big enough to be an all down back, yet plays like a 3rd down back. Very odd. Miller has always been classified as a speed back so his struggles in pass prot are not really a surprise.
Both RB's must step up in this area for the Buffalo game or it could spell trouble.

2 watt, when I was buying these seats, no way was I going to bear the elements. The sideline club seats in Orchard park are heated for cold weather games and you have full access to a heated sports lounge to watch all NFL games for both the 1pm and 4pm games.

Also because the bills suck, i got the tix for less than cost off a scalper. Paid 360 for the pair.

Last I checked on weather.com Mark it said 22 mph. Could obviously change between now and gameday. Weathermen don't know much it seems sometimes.

mass,they'll make eggdrop an fb like in earlier

MassD, Daniel Thomas proabbly has a little bit of that old Qb mentality in him. Probably also why he gets banged up a lot too. Dude does try hard, just doesn't know how to take a hit.

Opposite of our QB in a lot of ways.

well that big dummy can't run a route
but at least he can get in the way of a paxx rusher

Day Dec 22

Rain / Wind

Rain / Wind

Chance of rain:80% Wind:SSW at 22 mph Humidity:91%

This is from Weather.com. I believe that it says that the winds will be at 22 MPH. In any case it will be a windy and rainy day. Not a good recipe for throwing the football.

Mark, I am not a great researcher, but experience tells me that more turnovers occur when you are desperate to come from behind. I just don't agree with killing the clock. Get ahead so you don't have to worry about it.

I don't think the wind bothers Tannehill as much as it does a touch passer. Especially with the quick passes he is throwing now.

NeMo, that's true. Must be a nice job tho. You can be wrong everyday and keep a job. Kind of like working for the govt, isn't it DC??? :)

nemo 22 is alot and the
swirls inside
not talking bout' marks stomach after he
eats some food at the stadium while ordering it wearing phinz garb

Take the wind and not the ball if you win the coin toss and play smash mouth football. I am not sure that the fins are built like that anymore. That is why this game concerns me. Also, the fins could have a big let down after the pats win and seeing so much written about them in the local press.

We have more overall talent than the Bills but sometimes the weather and home field could e the big equalizer.

Orlando, does seem different weather stations are putting out different info. I like mine better .. haha, hope it's closer to that.

EK, what you say makes sense as an offense we will eventually get to that - to be one of those offenses that just dictates the game and forces the other team into all sorts of mistakes trying to catch up - probably as soon as next year. Let's see what the winds are like in Buffalo this Sunday. If they are closer to 10mph than 20mph, you will probably see the air show. But keep in mind, Buffalo has the 26th rank run defense - let's not abandon the run!

2 watt, in Buffalo, the wahrooms in the cheap seats are not urinals but more like a communal tub. You can get pizzed on or pizz on other fans pretty easily. Not that it's ever happened to me.

And if I get a hold of those Buffalo nachos, I hope there is a tv in the john or I'm going to miss the 3rd quarter!

I think the key to this game will be what someone mentioned earlier, our red zone defense. if we can hold them to fgs, we will win...

If we can't throw the ball to back up the defense, we can't run against the 32 ranked defense. We just don't have that ATTITUDE that it takes.

Mark in Toronto,

I agree that we should have a strong running game strategy for the Bills. Definitely feel we've improved in this area and can potentially diminish their pass rush through the run. I hope that Sherman plans to incorporate a lot of misdirection as well to keep the Bills D honest and on their heels throughout the game. This doesn't mean abandon the pass game...just want good balance throughout.

I'd also appreciate some rollouts, screens, and play-action to hopefully give our qb a little extra time and set up some big plays. The Bills have given up a ton of big plays this year and we need to take advantage of their over-aggressiveness and lack of discipline by mixing it up.


They use a trough in the bathrooms in Buffalo? I hate those things. The thought of taking a dump there is terrifying, unless you can sneak into the Bills lockerroom and spray all over it. Then you become a hero and probably a felon LOL

It is hard to say what side of the ball the fins should address more next year. The offensive line obviously needs some upgrades but we may not need as many pieces as we originally thought. The Dolphins may only need to upgraded the right side of the line. I like Pouncey, McKinney, and Brenner to start on the left side.

I actually think that the player the dolphins miss the most is Karlos Dansby. That is the reason our run defense has gone from being one of the best to average. The LBs are not playing well. Dansby was a best against the run and is a better cover LB than any of the guys we have now. Perhaps we should address the OL in FA and draft a LB with the first pick. They will also have to draft a DT early because I doubt that Starks is back next year.

The only first round 4-3 LB is CJ Mosley. I am not sure that he is worth taking in the first round (He is no Luke Kuechly).

And if I get a hold of those Buffalo nachos, I hope there is a tv in the john or I'm going to miss the 3rd quarter!

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 19, 2013 at 12:00 PM

I would suggest leaving the Miami Dolphins WALLET at home Mark.

Interesting stuff about Marco...I kinda had a feeling about him because he acted a lot of times like a troll with his anti Tannehill rants. Good to know now I just ignore him from now on!

rdubs, many heroes are felons!!

MIT its a 7hr drive up to Buffalo...don't want to book a flight due to possible conditions. I really wish the forecast was better. Its possible I will not make this game. Soooo the next best thing is one of the MANY Miami Dolphins gameday bars in NYC. Lets hope that they have a statement game against a weaker opponent!!

rdubs, i've only been to three stadiums in the nfl but Buffalo doesn't even look close to NFL quality. It's horrible. JRS unfortunately isn't much better...

MIT the Oakland Stadium is MUCH worse!! The Ralph is a close second.

You know I have to give Rishard Matthews a lot of credit for his play all year. I see him talked about occasionally, but I am really impressed with him. He seems to be making big clutch catches for us all year. He almost helped us steal that game against Tampa and had 3 really big catches against the Pats.

I wouldn't mind if the team between drafted a beast Bolden type WR, but I don't even know if we need one. We pretty much have a stable of receivers with Wallace, Hartline, Matthews, and Gibson.

Combine that with Clay and hopefully and improved Sims and Egnew next year at tight end and Tannehill has an assortment of targets for years to come.

Kudos to Ireland for getting a quality acorn in the 7th round in Matthews.

I hear you Bill. It's only a three hour drive for me - if that. And even then I'm cutting it in half to stay in Niagara Falls. A man with a few 100s in his pocket can have a lot of fun in the Falls. I may not make this game either but it won't be due to weather, haha!

Orlando Dolphin. On D I have more concern's with the FS position. R Jones has been sub par this season and is getting killed in coverage, plus his tackling is not good enough.

Jenkins may develop into a decent OLB, as Misi has, but Wheeler looks like another FA defensive bust my friend.

D Jordan would be a better fit for us at OLB,as Vernon looks to be pretty set as our RDE, why not get them all on the field in a 3-4 like the Giants ran with LT ?

Is that right, Oakland? How can a place as cool as San Francisco be so close to such a hole?

You keep telling us about the Falls extra curricular activities....hmmm makes me wanna watch the game from there myself!! Craig also says its a wonderland of fun!

Oakland is the armpit of the bay area.....the stadium is horrible. Candlestick is not much better but at least its safe.

Bill, it's a much smaller, more accessible (at least to us) version of Las Vegas.

BTW, I reealized the pun in my post at 12;21. Wish i was clever enough to have intended it.

MIT we have The Hustler Club in NYC, exclusive high end $$, that have dime pieces on display every single day. They have girls that look like the Victorias Secret Angels!!

All I did at Niagara Falls is ride in that boat that goes right under them. Wasn't very impressed with the place myself. Tourist trap.

How can a place as cool as San Francisco be so close to such a hole?

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 19, 2013 at 12:21 PM

you do know that most "men" in SF have a particular interest in A HOLE!!

Bill, is that in Times Square? i went to a place in Time Square - purple sign outside - lace, I think. Girls were pretty hot there and I went at the tail end of the hurricane last year so tehre were like 7 guys in there and 50 women ... good times.

DC on the Canadian side is a wonderland of fun according to MIT and Craig

Regarding drafting BPA, no one really does that. Most, the Fins included, draft horizontally. Meaning they list every position across the top of their board, draft rounds down the left hand side, and then players fall in to where the team has them graded. Mixture of BPA and for need.

DC, that's the Maid of the Mist, a Canadian Icon!! Seriously tho, down there is where all the family stuff happens. Go up to Lundy's Lane. Most messed up street I've ever been in. No word of a lie, three buildings in a row, the first is the Sundowner (infamous strip joint), 2nd is a massage parlour, 3rd is a drive through wedding chapel. You see how things can get interesting there??

MIT Lace is good too but The Hustler Club is 52nd St and West Side Highway....facing the Hudson River and the cruise line ships. You MUST go there on next visit but Lace is really good too. Smart move in the storm....sure you felt all snug in a breast!!

Gotta step out for a bit...hope no shenanigans happen using my name while Im gone. Later guys!!

How can a place as cool as San Francisco be so close to such a hole?

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 19, 2013 at 12:21 PM

you do know that most "men" in SF have a particular interest in A HOLE!!

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | December 19, 2013 at 12:28 PM

You should move there then !!!

BIll, yeah, that's the unintended pun that was put in there. But seriously, gay population aside (which is neither here nor there for me - live and let live I guess) SF has to be one of the coolest places I've ever been.

FYI, Toronto has the highest gay population per capita in North America. To me, it's just always been something that I've learned to live beside even if I have no interest in it. To me, it's just like paint on the wall, I know it's there, but I couldn't tell you the colour unless I really looked at it.


I agree with you. We have Wallace,Hartline,Gibson,Matthews and probably Binns. I dont think we even have to thinking about adding a WR. I also agree on TE's. I like the trio of Egnew,Sims and Clay. We are set at both positions

Bill, I will tell you there was one woman at lace I will never forget. She was Swiss although I can't remember her name for the life of me, but what a body. Dance instructor by day... wow she was something...

I will remember the Hustler Club and make sure I save my pennies before hand.

Ireland does not seem to get the credit he deserves. Mathews was a great find in the 7th round. He has built a great passing game and some of the finds were nuggets in the later rounds. Hartline 4th round, Clay 6th round, and Mathews 7th round. He has also found the fins' franchise QB for the next ten years.

Now he has to put the finishing touches on the defense. He needs one or two more impact players on the defense. On offense he needs to finish building the right side of the line and find a FB. Ireland is close to taking us to the promise land (Superbowl). You have to give credit to Ross for sticking with Ireland and ignoring the press and the fans.

Homophobic Bill A.

Its ok Bill you have a weapon you can use if the boys from Frankie Goes To Hollywood can't keep there hands of you.

I wonder if you throw stuff at the screen when Jeff Garcia comes on.

Gotta step out for a bit...hope no shenanigans happen using my name while Im gone. Later guys!!

Posted by: Bill Arnsparger | December 19, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Bill no-one needs to take your name for shenanigans my friend, you and your redneck ways are enough to feed my complete contempt for you.

You still haven't read my posts during the last two games regarding Tannehill have you my friend, no didn't think so ?

I have a question - is Tannehill's improvement this year because of him, or because of the much better receiving corp and slightly better OL from last year? Probably both.
I do agree that I think he has an edge in the wind, he can really zing it on the short and intermidiate passes. No sense in trying to go deep in the wind seeing how he can't hit a deep pass in perfect conditions.

orlando need least 3 new oline couple corners, lb, kick returner,s, rb many needs still

Todd McShay has the Dolphins taking Timmy Jernigan DT FSU n the first round. The fins will need depth at DT but they will resign either Soliai or Starks. Say they resign Soliai, the starters would be Soliai and Odrick which means that Jernigan would be a back up (reminds me of the Jordan situation).

orlando most mocks ive seen have them taking the oline from tenn

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