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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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Cold & rainy is MUCH WORSE than cold & snowy.
Plus, if it's kinda gray & gloomy it may make our guys sad & unable to concentrate.
I am also nervous because the Buffalo defensive linemen, esp Mario, are very mean & scary & insensitive.

Walter says Cameron Erving, OT, FSU


You are talking like the dolphins are 3-11. The Dolphins have some star power and a lot of solid players on the D. Wake, Grimes, and Vernon are impact players on defense. The rest of the defense has solid players all around it (with Odrick, Starks, and Soliai being better than solid). I expect this year's rookies to step it up next year (like Vernon did this year). I expect great things from Taylor, Davis, and Jordan next year which will improve the defense. I would like for the Dolphins to find a star LB and Safety next year.

On offense QB, WR, TE are set. I would like to see them get one stud OT and one stud OG. They could probably still use another good RB that can run between the tackles.

Division opponents can be awfully tough especially on the road. I think I'll hold my breath on this one.

It aint over til the fat lady sings and I don't here anything right now.

This is the biggest game of our season and it's up to the Coaching staff to have these guys ready to roll!

I give Philbin a lot of credit keeping the ship from sinking--but to truly be a Coach of the year candidate--and be taken serious for a playoff run---he absolutely needs a victory on Sunday.

This blog makes me sad and unable to concentrate...

not at all orlando, was talking about there needs. grimes is a free agent and they better find a way to keep him, franchise him if needed

Around here, zero hours of sunlight all week. I've been sad and unable to concentrate ... on my work!

I feel you, M/D.
Perhaps some peppermint tea might get you grounded enough to slog through the blog.

Is this the worst 8-6 team ever??

Knowing Ireland and seeing him build this team, this is what I think he will do:

1. Sign Brandon Albert (he really likes him and he is not going back to KC). Reminds me of the Wallace situation. They will get Albert. McKinney will be gone. McKinney does not possess the character that Philbin covets.
2. Draft Cameron Erving at RT 1st round- He is an athletic OL that fits Philbins zone blocking scheme. Reminds me of Jonathan Martin. Yikes!
3. Draft a DT in the second round. He loves DL and he is losing Starks next year.
4. He will also double down on the OL in FA (like he did with WRs this year). He will sign an OG to replace Jerry. Jerry is always over weight, bad run blocker and not athletic enough.
5. The rest of the draft he will take the best player available.

I'll take part in some offseason/draft talk I guess. Even though we are still in the hunt, we pretty much already know whats coming up with the Bills. Also, I'm a wannabe GM nerd.

On offense WR and TE seem to be close to set unless there is a chance to add a true stud in the draft. This would be more of a luxury than a need to me.

QB is obviously set. A lot of money can be saved by cutting Moore and they might want to draft a third stringer or backup to compete with Moore and Deviln.

RB I think Miller and Thomas were decent this year. Could they improve behind a better O-line? Gillislee not enough of a sample to judge. Thigpen seems to be good with screens. I think Philbin is just going to go with young drafted backs instead of free agents, similar to the Packers philosophy.

O-line is the big question mark. The only people that are guaranteed back are Pouncey, Brenner, and Garner. Dallas Thomas is also back, but who knows if he is worth anything. I think Brenner will join Pouncey as the two returning starters and Garner will be the jack of all trades backup.

The team could go with the big signing like Brander Albert, so they are set at left tackle. I'm not sure if Jerry, Clabo, or McKinnie will be brought back, maybe only for cheap. We could draft some guys and let them develop for a year or 2 behind McKinnie or Clabo if we bring them back. There are some other solid free agent prospects.

On to defense in the next post. This seems like a long rant, but I am excited for 2014 as well as the end of this season.

no steve the 8-6 ravens are

The Ravens are SB champs. A top team.

ravens arent super bowl champs this year, nobody is yet. def wont be ravens. they will be golfing in a little over a week

I'm more concern about the Bills' running game. It's their best weapon versus the Phins' porous rushing defense. With Thad Lewis at the helm, it's kinda obvious the Bills will require the Phins to beat them at the run.

I heard AP is back for the Bengals game, good news.

Most likely the Bengals lose their last two and we go through with the Ravens.

The Ravens are the LATEST SB champs!! DUUUUUUHHHH!!!

marco cincy is 6-0 at home and have killed everyone there. no chance they lose to vikings and wont lose to ravens either if it matters

Before his Injury, I would say Albert was a sure thing... would we bank on a 300 lbs dude to be ready from ACL surgery for week 1?

I don't know that answer, just putting it out there.

Is Oher in play? Veldheer from Oakland is only 26 but they have even more cap space than we do.

One thing that this season will really benefit us with is free agents will see Miami as a hot destination thanks to the Qb play. When you have a hot Qb and loads of cap space - then add in the South Florida quality of life and soft turf - yeah - they will want to come.

Just read that Albert may be back before the end of the year ... what???? Dusty, please enlighten us here???

Defense they have a lot of free agents. Grimes, Soliai, Starks, Carroll, Clemmons. I believe they will pay big for Grimes even though he is 31.

I think they keep Soliai instead of Starks, I imagine they keep the cheapest one unless they get both at nice discounts.

Carroll and Clemons are interesting. They are both much improved and good, but not great. At corner we have Taylor and Davis waiting in the wings.

They'll probably take a defensive tackle high. Timmy Jerningan would be great, so would Nix from Notre Dame, or the guy from Minnesota is also good.

We could also take a linebacker high as replacements for Ellerbee or Wheeler in 2015 those guys have fairly high cap hits coming up.

Just kind of my 2 cents and random thoughts.

kc in no hurry to bring albert back and the oline has been dominating last few weeks. he might of played his last game already for kc. most fans want him gone here

Mark, I'll check out Lundy's Lane next time I go. Need a good massage (pelvis, top of the quad -- Couples Retreat).

I agree we will have to add 2 tackles and at least one guard in the offseason via free agency or the draft.

It really would be safer for us to fill the all important LT spot via free agency though. We've seen how risky the draft can be.

That would leave us open to take bpa in the 1st rd. I would still like to see stud WR, CB, Safety, or LBer.

Can't have enough playmakers.

nemo its simple on the 2 big guys. solia wants to be here and starks cant wait to leave. starks is the better player, not sure hes the 5th best in all of football as they have him rated but hes damn good

Mark, I think he just hyperextended his knee and didn't tear his ACL. It looked then it was at the time.

looked worse than*

there are no 8-6 teams w/o serious weaknesses, otherwise they'd all be 12-2. The only thing that matters is to make the playoffs - no team in the AFC is very strong this year so the Phins have a chance to go to the SB and get creamed by NO or Seattle. But they have to make the playoffs first.

Dusty, that seems to be the way it will go. Soliai loves Miami and already took a discount the first time around.

no?? no coulndt beat us outside the dome. seahawks i agree on, they will destroy denver in super bowl

yes, they are a division foe and yes the game is in buffalo,but are we so bored that we are building them up to a giant sized challenge???
they aren't!!!
yes, their defensive front is good no doubt.
but there offense is banged up. no johnson, no manuel and maybe no jackson.
in the first game we had no wake, sturis missed VERY makable FG, they had a pick 6, and a strip sack at our 34 and yet we only lost by 2 points. i think benching vernon was also being talked about around that time.

tannehill is light out in december so far.
843 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs
those are up near he best best in the league for december.
we are getting to the QB.
we are play solid red zone on both sides of the ball.

this will be our second of 3 double digit wins.
fins over bills 28-17

The only reason the the Ravens are ahead of the fins in the playoff picture is that they have a better kicker. Sturgis makes one of his missed kicks and Miami probably has one more win. While everyone is analyzing the offense, I have to say Sturgis might be the key. Every time he lines up I feel like he has a good chance of missing. Points are hard to come by, especially against solid defenses like the Bills have. So Sturgis on his game will be crucial.

jaison go over bills home games and comeback with same prediction. they have been very good at home

Two of the Bills 3 home wins were in September. Just sayin.

Greg, you are really an idiot if you think Marco was seriously admitting to being all those other names. Ever heard of SARCASM? Dumbass.

M is for Moron,

We are each other my friend.

Maybe Greg is saying we are all one, very Zen !!!

I never hear him talk football either, he calls us all TROLLS and then TROLLS the blog himself to attack Dolphin fans with a different point of view.

Marco, I think you said you were up to 55 percent confidence in Tannehill after the Steelers game. Did it jump up at all after the Pats win? Things are looking up for this team.

marco, montreal is the worse. never has a take just attacks everyone. hes meaningless

Dusty, what is so intimidating about the Bills' home record?

Lost to the pats
last sec victory v Carolina in the high for this season in WEEK 2!!!
Barely beat Baltimore even though they created 5 turnovers on Joe Flacco's worst career day.
Lost to the Bengals
Got smoked by the Chiefs where the score flatters them
Beat the jets, big whoop
Lost toAtlanta.

Some good, some bad but no sense of dominance anywhere. Mediocre at best.

atl game doesnt count mark, it was in that awful stadium in front of 56 fans. killed the jets, beat balt and carolina. we havent played jets yet at home and lost to balt and carolina. lost to pats in last secs. lost to bengals in ot. lost to kc with tuel at qb by 10, were leading late in game till ints from tuel. so very tough at home, in every game. this wont be different miami wins 20-16

line back down to 2.5 today. id take mia

I'm taking the silver monorail to FOREVERLAND this afternoon! Look at all them tiny lobsters and kittens on the ground!

They beat Carolina in the early year, not the saem club they were when we played them. Cam Newton was in the depths of the Qb ranking in the first four or five weeks.

baltimore gifted them five turnovers and they win by 3 and you call that impressive?

And against KC, I think Alex Smith only produced like 7 points - KC defense scored the rest and they were not leading by any more than 3 points at the half 6-3 then got blown out in the third. That's hardly hanging in.

They are average at home. Anything resembling our A game and they shouldn't be able to hang.


Well remembered thats true. Tannehill has improved on his strengths, i.e the short to intermediate passing game.

He has also started to step up into the pocket and tuck the ball away and run. Overall I'll say Im 65% into Thill becoming our franchise guy. I always said he stays year 3, even at his lowest form, (Ravens game), the guy is coming through now in the 4th.

Of course we have to get through the next two games and if anythin I've more confidence in the O than the D to get the job done. However as a team we look ready to put another two games together.

mark turnovers arent gifts, the defense creates them. wrong bills lead 10-3 at half vs kc

dusty moron wants us to lose out to get a higher draft choice.


MIT and Bill A come on after the results of the games are in and then go to town on those that blog during the game.

Its easy to attack people, because of their contributions, after you know the result of a match.

MIT at least has a small dose of humour, but Bill A, just comes over as a right-wing assertion driven POPINJAY.

Dusty, when you get one or two, yes I agree. When you have, the other team shite the bed, pure and simple.

fair enough marco

I love how Bill comes on here with different names and says the same crap over and over and over like we don't know its him. Like hes a loyal fan that's been here for eons. You go Bill.

big game either way mark, lets go! 20-16

The last thing I want to do is be here during a game... it's stupidity. Life and death with every play...

Sure enough Dusty.

ocszar, why is dusty a moron ? Starks seems to be done here and Odrick would be a nice replacement for him.


MIT and Bill A come on after the results of the games are in and then go to town on those that blog during the game.

Its easy to attack people, because of their contributions, after you know the result of a match.

MIT at least has a small dose of humour, but Bill A, just comes over as a right-wing assertion driven POPINJAY.

Posted by: Marco | December 19, 2013 at 02:26 PM

Ive been saying this or a long time. AMEN

Where's Rocco? the hens are starting to cackle again. Seriously, guys, who cares who acts like what .. think maybe you can stop attacking people you don't know and just , uh, talk Miami Dolphins.


Mark, 100% agreed about he blogging here DURING games.

To each his own, of course, but I cannot fathom sitting at a keyboard and having a nervous breakdown (let alone commenting on) every single play in a game.

Who is even taking the time to read any of it??

Sheesh. It's a GAME. Have a few beers and try to enjoy it!

Another skinny post to Wallace taking it to the house would be sweet. Woud like to see those two in sync.

Some screens in red zone to keep pash rush honest also a must.


Thats right buddy, remember now to have Bill A's back, ha ha.

Bill gave you a ticking off last night for not having his back... WTF it was like watching a domestic on the blog !!!

Seriously though, he still doesn't get his facts right and fires off randomly without reading the bloggers who contribute during the match.

Many of us watch and contribute simultaneously, its fun, you should try it? Even if you are there its still easy to do if you have the technology my friend.

Of course if you see a bad throw, missed tackle, fumble, missed FG, coaching whiff, you are going to chime in on it aint ya ?

Makes sense MIT my friend ?

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