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Dolphins vs. Bills Quick Hits

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Here are some quick takeaways from the Dolphins first victory over Bills since 2012.

Marc Serota

RYAN TANNEHILL PLAYED EFFICIENT

Ryan Tannehill finished the game 26-34, for 240 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, and a passer rating of 114.8.  That is the third out of the last six games where Tannehill has thrown no interceptions and finished with a passer rating over 100.  He had 4 carries for 16 yards, with a 15 yard run where he put an impressive move on a defender to get free.  He did have a lost fumble though.  He also had one reception for -4 yards where he caught a tipped pass.  The offense really didn't take many shots downfield, but that had to do with...

THE OFFENSIVE LINE STRUGGLED PROTECTING TANNEHILL

The Bills have a dominant defensive front and were leading the league in sacks coming into this game.  They will likely stay there as they tallied 5 sacks and consistently pressured Tannehill.  Mario Williams picked up 3.5 sacks against the overmatched Dallas Thomas.  I thought Thomas would struggle against Williams as he struggles against power rushers.  Thankfully, the Dolphins will have 10 days to get this situation worked out.  Ja'Wuan James yielded some pressures, but I don't think he gave up a sack.  Having played right tackle most of his career, he didn't look overmatched at left tackle this week.  That is promising moving forward.  But while the O-line gave up five sacks...

THE OFFENSIVE LINE PAVED THE WAY FOR THE RUNNING GAME

Coming into this game, Buffalo was 8th in the league in rushing defense, yielding 96.1 YPG.  The Dolphins rushed for 125 yards on 24 carries.  Miller picked up 86 yards on 15 carries, including a 33 yard run in the second quarter.  Daniel Thomas picked up 23 yards on 5 carries.

THE DEFENSE PLAYED TOUGH

The defense didn't generate more than 2 sacks, which is the first time since week 4 they have been held under 3 sacks.  However, Buffalo kept extra blockers in at times to neutralize the rush.  Vernon picked up the first sack of the game late in the fourth, pretty much killing that drive and the chances of Buffalo to mount a comeback.  Earl Mitchell picked up his second sack in the last three games.  During the game, it seemed like the Bills were running all over the Dolphins.  However, they only picked up 54 yards on 19 carries (2.8 YPC).  They gave up some yards in the first half, but tightened up in the second half.  Buffalo went 0-7 on 3rd downs in the second half.  The secondary played well for the most part.  Brrent Grimes did Brent Grimes things, locking down Sammy Watkins for 3 catches, 32 yards.  This is the first game this season where Watkins gained more than 30 yards and the Bills lost.  Jamar Taylor played well, making some plays, including a tackle for a 6 yard loss on 3rd and 1 on the opening drive of the second half.  Overall, the defense did their job.  They didn't give up a touchdown, and only gave up 3 points in the second half.

7-11 SHOWS UP

Chris Hogan gained some fame on Hard Knocks with the Miami Dolphins in 2012.  The team nicknamed him "7-11" because he was always open.  In this game, he became Kyle Orton's go-to guy.  He tallied 7 receptions for 74 yards.  He did most of his damage in the first half as he only had 2 catches in the 2nd half.

BRIAN HARTLINE SHOWS UP

Brian Hartline and YAC are not two things that usually go together.  He only caught 3 passes for 55 yards.  But two of those catches were crossing routes where Hartline was able to generate YAC.  With questions regarding his effectiveness over the past few games, it's good to see Hartline contribute in such a manner.

JARVIS LANDRY IS THE GO TO GUY

Of Jarvis Landry's 354 yards this season (prior to this game), 70% of that came from yards after the catch.  In this short passing game the Dolphins are using, a WR that can catch it short and make something happen after the catch is essential.  Landry is that guy for this team and led the Dolphins in this game with 5 catches.  He had a fumble on the free kick return after a safety, but redeemed himself later.  He scored his 3rd TD of the season on the drive following a missed Dan Carpenter field goal.

RED ZONE STRUGGLES SHOW UP AGAIN

Jeff Darlington highlighted in an article on NFL.com this week that the Dolphins are the best in the league at getting into the red zone, but rank 30th in red zone TDs.  Those struggles appeared again in the first half.  The Dolphins first two drives reached the red zone and ended in a field goal and a fumble respectively.  The Dolphins reached the red zone four more times.  Two of those drive ended in touchdowns.  The last two ended in a field goal and a kneel down to end the game.  To the offense's credit, the last two red zone visits were with the game well in hand and they weren't playing aggressively at that point.  However, the struggles were evident in the first half and they need to clean that up.

ALL AQUA UNIFORMS

They looked sharp.  That is all.

FINAL TAKE

Ryan Tannehill ends his 3 game skid against the Bills in promising fashion.  He was the best QB on the field tonight and led the Dolphins to a critical division victory to keep them in the playoff hunt.  The defense remains good to great and should keep the Dolphins in every game.  While the upcoming schedule gets tougher, the Dolphins have 10 days before the big game against the Broncos and that rest is needed.  Enjoy this victory Dolphins' fans and have a fun, stress-free Sunday watching other games.