Sun, 24 Oct 2021

Three Takeaways: Week 2

Miami Dolphins
21 Sep 2021, 22:05 GMT+10

Travis Wingfield

The home opener at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday took on the principles of Murphy's Law; everything that could go wrong did. Not good enough in any area, that was the message of Head Coach Brian Flores.

"We didn't do well enough really in any area today," he said. "Offensive line, defensive line, coaching. I think we just need to regroup, make the corrections, and do better."

As always, for further analysis, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.

1. Pass Protection, Not Good Enough

Pro Football Focus charged the Miami offensive line with 34 total pressures on 57 quarterback drop backs between Jacoby Brissett and Tua Tagovailoa, the latter knocked out of the game with a rib injury on Miami's second series. The Bills dialed up pressure time-and-time again often getting free rushers off the edge, unabated to the quarterback. Adding injury to insult, Jesse Davis exited the game with a knee injury.

"It was a rough day for us," Rob Hunt said. "Everybody saw that. We just have to, like I said, come back tomorrow, be better, man. Put pressure on ourselves, put this loss on us, because it is what it is. We know we need to be better. We know we have some issues. We'll come back and we'll work to correct those issues."

2. Catching the Football, Not Good Enough

The offense, despite the early errors, had opportunities to make it a game in the first half. No wide receiver in the NFL has more contested catches (PFF) since the start of 2019 than DeVante Parker. On a broken play in the second quarter, Parker did what he does best and boxed out Buffalo cornerback Tre'Davious White giving the long, leaping wide out an open shot at a 32-yard touchdown reception. Instead, the football separated his hands and fell harmlessly to the end zone turf.

Albert Wilson got himself open on a second-and-6 from the plus-11-yard-line just four plays later. Beyond the sticks with room to operate near the goal line, the ball again fell to the grass. On the very next play, Jakeem Grant caught a pass in traffic that appeared to set up a fourth-and-inches opportunity, but Taron Johnson's hit jarred the ball free, resulting in Miami's second turnover in the early-going.

Rookie Jaylen Waddle dropped a swing pass that was thrown on his back hip, but he had both hands on the ball. He also muffed a punt when Miami had a chance to get points on the board with 30 seconds to play in the first half.

Those are the type of mistakes that will bury a club against a strong team like Buffalo.

3. Third Down, Red Zone, Explosive Plays on Defense, Not Good Enough

The Buffalo offense went down the field on the first two possessions of the game, setting a tone for the rest of the contest. A 46-yard Devin Singletary touchdown run on the second play of the game for Buffalo started the scoring. Then, a 35-yard strike from Josh Allen to Emmanuel Sanders set the Bills up for their second visit to paydirt.

Miami did extend their league-best takeaway streak to 24 games and held the Bills without points on seven consecutive drives. Still, Buffalo was 7-for-13 on third down and converted their only fourth-down attempt. On the season, Miami's third-down defense (which was best in football in 2020) is allowing conversions on 62.1 percent of time (18-for-29). Buffalo also converted all four of their red zone possessions for touchdowns.

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