There is little doubt what the Detroit Lions did against the Miami Dolphins offense on Sunday will be seen by the Buffalo Bills. And they will try to replicate some of that.
On the bright side, the Bills don't have a Calvin Johnson or Matthew Stafford on their offense, so that will be tough for them to copy on the offensive side of the ball.
But the ankle injury which kept cornerback Cortland Finnegan out of the game for two dozen snaps on Sunday and forced him to miss practice on Monday is a concern for Miami. It is not, you see, that Finnegan is great.
It's just that Jamar Taylor, the 2013 second round pick and backup corner, has been picked on when he's been in games this year.
All that and more is reflected in the ProfootballFocus.com review of the tape following Sunday's 20-16 Dolphins loss to the Lions. Here is the review with insight from me:
The offensive line obviously took a big hit with the loss of Branden Albert, as Ja'Wuan James slid over to LT, Dallas Thomas moved to RT, and Shelley Smith stuck at LG. Smith and Thomas had been rotating series at LG early on. Albert allowed 1 hurry before his injury, and the rest of the line combined to give up 2 sacks, 3 hits, and 17 hurries.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill said he didn't feel any more pressure after Albert left as before. But I will say this: Ziggy Ansah dominated. (More on Ansah below).
Jarvis Landry rotated series with Brandon Gibson. At times, when Hartline or Wallace gets a rest, they'll play together. The snap breakdown at slot receiver: Landry 38, Gibson 30, Rishard Matthews 9.
Lamar Miller took a shot to his shoulder on an early reception but continued playing. He took only 11 snaps, however, suggesting the Dolphins were not comfortable exposing him further. A source told The Herald yesterday Miller "is fine." After Daniel Thomas fumbled, he was limited to mostly third downs, ultimately getting out-snapped by Damien Williams 27-22.
When Tannehill did have time to throw, he usually found his target. On 19 unpressured drops, he was 18-for-19 with 135 yards and his TD pass. However, he was 9-for-19 with 87 yards when he did see pressure.
The Lions didn't often send blitzers to mount the pressure. In all, they blitzed five times during the game, and Tannehill was 3-of-4 for 30 yards against the blitz. Detroit's four-man pass rush was the key to their success.
(Yes, the Buffalo Bills will see that).
The Lions didn't have an answer for Charles Clay or Landry in the middle of the field. Each player caught a pass against five different defenders. Clay, however, had a key TD drop. Yes, watching it again and again, it was a drop.
Despite the ugly interception to James Ihedigbo, Tannehill and the Dolphins liked the matchup, going after Ihedigbo a team-high eight times. They completed six of eight for 52 yards against the Detroit safety, including the INT and a drop by Clay.
With Michael Thomas done for the year, Jimmy Wilson fully reclaimed the slot corner role, logging 44 snaps. Jamar Taylor replaced Cortland Finnegan on the outside for the final 24 snaps when Finnegan limped off with an ankle injury.
Dion Jordan's 31 snaps featured seven run plays, 15 times rushing the passer, and then nine drops into coverage. Jordan was on Calvin Johnson in trail coverage during much of Detroit's game-winning drive. He actually defended a pass in the end zone.
(Why is he not a strongside linebacker? Why? Why?)
Jamar Taylor was picked on when he came in to replace Finnegan, allowing 6-of-7 passes to be completed for 62 yards. Golden Tate especially embarrassed the second-year CB, catching all five targets for 57 yards against him, with some first down conversions later in the game.
The TD he gave up to Megatron and acrobatic interception in the end zone stand out, but besides those two plays, CB Brent Grimes allowed just 3-of-7 passes to be completed to Calvin Johnson for 41 yards. Considering the opponent, a good overall day for Grimes.
Grades aren't final yet, but Ndamukong Suh's +7.0 grade stands out as an utterly dominant performance. Ziggy Ansah (+4.9) also was a major factor in the pass rush (two sacks, three hurries), but also had 4 stops in the run game.
Another Detroit defensive lineman, pass rush specialist George Johnson, also teed off on the Miami offensive line. Of his 29 snaps, 22 came rushing the passer. He produced five hurries and a hit on those 22 pass rush snaps.
(Yes, the Bills will see this on tape).