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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.

Comments

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Phins78 - agreed, "Finish Strong" is the mantra and Ross should print T-shirts with that logo and hand them out during the last home game next week.

Funny, I saw one playoff scenario where the Fins can be the #2 seed if the Pats, Colts & Chiefs all lose the next two games...and we win both of course.

People will say that it doesn't matter what the public perception of Tannehill is but I strongly disagree. If Tannehill finishes the season strong that will make Miami a top destination for free agents to come to and for current internal free agents to stay. If we had this Tannehill a few years back, marshall would not have gone mental for example. Anyway ... there are a lot of good things that come out of Tannehill arriving.

I think he has too by the way, more prime time games for us out of towners. I'm sick of having to stream some games ... more opporunity to see them on tv here since we don't really belong to any regional market, seeing the home stadium packed with our fans for a change, etc, etc.

This year has been phenomenal for him actually. In the pre season I joked that if you extrapolated his numbers from preseason he would end up with 4,500 yards and 30 tds. Well, he may not be far off from that in two weeks.

Greg and Mark that guy is just a lonely fat Jets fan who actually thinks he's making a difference by arguing with a handful of Dolphins fans in one blog out of hundreds. Greg proved it, talked bad about the Jets and the guy went ballistic it seems.

In his warped mind he thinks he's helping the Jets or hurting the Dolphins by messing with their fans, all 6 of us who hang out in here. If he had any balls he would say these things directly to the faces of some Dolphins fans.

But that's the problem and it's exactly why he's in here as much as possible. He has no life, he's miserable. And he's obviously stunted mentally. Lastly he's a pu$#y. Only a pu#@y picks fights when there are no consequences. I've always said, people get real tough when they're sitting in an old robe behind the soft glow of their computer monitor stuffing their faces with Cheeto's. This is who he is, I'm not sure if he realizes it, it seems he does not.

Close NH, actually the Chiefs don't have to lose their next two games, they just have to stay behind Denver. They can't be #2 if they don't win their division. It's either #1,2, or 4 for them.

I don't think the pats will lose to Buffalo so I'm content with #6. Supporting a Pats win over baltimore just makes me sick to my stomach tho.

It's so old and boring too. Repetitive piece of s#@t, come up with some new material ya know?
"Phins says to ignore the trolls but he blah blah blah.

Dude, who cares? lmao,,,are you serious?

I decide when I want to ignore you and when I want to address you, not you, you stupid twit. Hahahaha

True, P78, very true. Those who pick fights online would never pick fights in reality. If you're really tough, then you've been punched in the face and know how much it hurts, and learn a certain bit of respect, haha.

Check it...

http://www.google.ca/imgres?sa=X&biw=1920&bih=899&tbm=isch&tbnid=n3f8FETuLoIIDM:&imgrefurl=http://disneycreate.wikia.com/wiki/File:Internet-tough-guy.jpg&docid=iIyavA6ziouXCM&imgurl=http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130526042920/disneycreate/images/a/a8/Internet-tough-guy.jpg&w=494&h=569&ei=BGK0UtuhI8HayAGuuoDQCg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=2&vpy=419&dur=203&hovh=241&hovw=209&tx=104&ty=120&page=1&tbnh=142&tbnw=123&start=0&ndsp=56&ved=1t:429,r:22,s:0,i:158

And I just heard if the Phins win and Ravens AND Cinci loses the Phins are in the playoffs. If true, THAT'S the scenario I'm rooting for this weekend. I don't see the 2 seed happening, would take a small miracle but I guess stranger things have happened.

I'm with you P78, how in the world would the Pats lose to buffalo in a do or die scenario? Let's wrap up this wild card and get on with it. Tom brady, do us a favour for once instead of making my entire life torture...

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | December 20, 2013 at 10:28 AM

"Has no reproductive organs and takes his frustrations out on complete strangers"

Priceless. That's what I always imagined this guy looks like but with a bag of Cheetos and a 2 liter of Mountain Dew.

I see him typing his post, sitting back and further causing stress to the poor chair that houses him, staring at the screen while refreshing a million times. Fixated just waiting for someone to talk to him, can't get good attention so he gets it any way he can. He stuffs his face while waiting. Before he types back he takes a big swig of the 2 liter, wipes the orange and green goo from his lips, and gets to work.

I'm just trying to stay present and not jump ahead in time. While the odds of us making the playoffs are good indeed...there is the painful knowledge that we can lose the last two games and miss out at 8-8.

GOTTA STOP JACKSON AND SPILLER/. THAN YOU CAN TEE OFF ON THE QB....WATCH OUT FOR THE SPEEDY WR MARQUIS GOODWIN..HE'S CAUGHT A COUPLE OF LONG TD PASSES AND THEY SAID THEY WANNA GET HIM THE BALL ..SO BE AWARE NICKLE CORNER..THE BILLS SAT E.J MANUEL CAUSE HE WAS GONNA LOOK BAD VS. US..THEY COULND'T STOMACH A LONG OFF SEASON WITH THE FINS MAKING THERE NUMBER ONE PICK LOOK BAD..PLEASE DOLPHINS NOT ANOTHER CLOSE GAME ..MY HEART CAN'T TAKE IT NO MORE..A LAUGHER ..PLEASE! P.S IN A LONGGGGGGGGG TIME SEEN A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE PARK PLAYING FOOTBALL..DON'T BLOW IT DOLPHINS!

NH, as horrible as it would be. If we lose, and baltimore wins, i believe we are eliminated... yikes. Not sure if Cincy also has to win for us to eb out to.

JUST WIN BABY!

Yeah agree about the Pats losing to the Bills. Even if it was about to happen the NFL and its refs would call some BS like they usually do to help the Pats out.

It would be really nice to have a wild card spot wrapped up.

Could you imagine if Tom brady didn't make the palyoffs? Bob Kraft would have Roger Goddell's head on a spit!

Again...not wanting to jump ahead but we could be popping champagne corks around 7:30 on Sunday night....just sayin'

Happy holidays Mando:

I'd like to posit this question: Most drafted tackles are 6'5", 305 lb. (give or take). Why couldn't JI and team see that this guy was too cerebral as an offensive
lineman ? He turned out to be just "offensive". I would rather have someone like Clay who will just run over your butt ! And it's easy to see that the 2014 Dolphins will be nothing like this year's team. I'm still holding to my pre-season prediction of 10-6. Go Dolphins !!

I'll probably be expunging bad Buffalo cheese from my system at 7:30 from eating the nachos in orchard park.

The nachos aren't that bad Mark. I survived them.

I'd like to see the fins wrap up the playoff spot this weekend. Go Minn! I'd like to see that happen so they can beat the Jets with their 2nd or maybe even 3rd string QB. Delvin was good in college, so he should be able to beat the Jets.

Cs, I'm just talking trash about the food at Orchard park. Truth is, I've never eaten inside the stadium (the pizza place on the road leading up to the stadium is pretty good). But I will be probably in the mood for greasy food since I will be putting down more than my fair share of vodka the night before in the Falls!

Mark...heading to the game are you? nice! I want a full report Monday morning.

Will do, NH. Hopefully it's full of good news!

I guess that moron that wanted Incognito back is eating crow, yes?

Yes...I agree and it just goes to show that character really does matter ... one bad seed can fracture a locker room.

Good analysis of Tannehill at the SS...yeah I know, I was slumming

Looks like the forecast has the winds in Buffalo down to 17 mph. I've seen others have it even lower. Shouldn't be too bad for the team to pass in.

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