The Miami Dolphins were manhandled on Sunday, simply beaten up and down the field all afternoon. The Buffalo Bills came into South Florida looking to avoid an 0-2 start to the season, and they did it with a flourish. With a 35-0 final score, the game was never in doubt for Buffalo, and now Miami has to tighten the tourniquet around the most egregious gashes they sustained, lick the rest of their wounds, and figure out how to respond next week against the Las Vegas Raiders.
They may also have to do it without quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was injured in the first quarter Sunday. Hit as he was trying to throw a pass, Tagovailoa immediately held his ribs and was very slow to get off the field. The team took him via cart back to the locker room. While Tom Pelissero from NFL Network reported there were no breaks, the team is still waiting for MRI results tomorrow to see exactly how severe the injury to their starting quarterback is. Jacoby Brissett would start if Tagovailoa cannot play.
On to the rest of the game, here is our stock watch for this miserable game:
Stock up: Xavien Howard, cornerback - In a game when the team did not show up, the defense tried to make some plays to keep the Dolphins in the game. Howard forced a fumble and recovered it to seal the win last week, but he was held without an interception. He got that today, picking off a pass from Josh Allen and giving Miami a chance to score. They could not do it, but that does not take away from Howard who played a great game. S/N: Byron Jones had a good game as well, nearly coming away with one pick and having a gorgeous pass breakup in the endzone.
Stock down: Offensive line - Is there anywhere else to look for our top stock down? And does anything really need to be said? All game long, the Bills had free rushers, ultimately recording six sacks, nine tackles for a loss, and 11 quarterback hits. They knocked Tua Tagovailoa out of the game in the first quarter with a ribs injury. The offensive line was simply a mess for the entire game and it was bad plays, bad protection schemes, and bad identification of blitzers. Just bad.
Stock up: Jerome Baker, linebacker - Baker only had three tackles on the day, but he seemed to be all over the field. In a game when you are blown out 35-0 and everything seemed to be miserable, Baker was definitely trying to keep the Dolphins in the game. He had a gorgeous pass breakup, knocking the ball out of the air mid-way through its flight.
Stock down: Receivers - The Dolphins receivers, including tight ends and running backs in this, were up and down all day. Jaylen Waddle had six receptions for 48 yards, DeVante Parker had five catches for 42 yards, Mike Gesicki caught three passes for 41 yards, Myles Gaskin caught four balls for 21 yards, Albert Wilson came away with four receptions for 20 yards, Cethan Carter caught a pass for eight yards, Preston Williams had one catch for two yards, and Jakeem Grant caught one ball for no yards. It was not just the low averages, with Gesicki’s 13.7 yards the only average over 8.4 yards per catch, but it was more the drops. Way too many drops. And fumbles, including Grant’s fumble on his catch and Waddle’s fumble on a punt return when he replaced an injured Grant in that role. The receivers could not hold on to the ball and it crushed the Dolphins offense on Sunday.
Stock up: Takeawy streak - This was almost Emmanuel Ogbah and Andrew Van Ginkel for their shared sack, but, the takeaway streak continued on Sunday and it should be noted. Miami has now taken the ball away from their opponents at least once in each of their last 24 games.
Stock down: Play calling - Originally, this was going to be focused on the offensive play calling, but I am not sure the defensive play-calling deserves to not be mentioned as well. The Bills were simply dominating the Dolphins offensive line, but the gameplan seems to be just a straight drop back and hope the quarterback can find someone open fast enough. Where were the rollouts? Even gimmick plays to give the Bills something to think about. Anything to slow the pressure. On defense, the amoeba defense that worked so well last year has all but disappeared so far this year. The Dolphins are not getting pressure on the quarterback and they seem to be trying to rely on the secondary to shut down the passing game on their own. Miami has some great cornerbacks, but the front seven need to get involved in the game earlier and more often.