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5 Takeaways from Miami’s 48-20 Loss to Buffalo
5 Takeaways from Miami’s 48-20 Loss to Buffalo
Jun 18, 2024 12:48 PM

The Disappointing Fangio Defense:

In what has been a challenging start to the season for the Miami Dolphins, the performance of their defense, led by defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, has been a major letdown. After four weeks of play, the Dolphins’ defense finds itself at the bottom of the league, ranking worst in success rate, second-worst in passing success, and third-worst in rush EPA and success. To make matters worse, they sit at the 21st spot in passing EPA and a dismal 26th in EPA/play. Against the Buffalo Bills, this defense allowed quarterback Josh Allen to have a field day without applying sufficient pressure, unveiling effective blitz packages, or really making him feel uncomfortable in the slightest. The decision to leave second-year UDFA Kader Kohou on an island against All-Pro WR Stefon Diggs backfired spectacularly, as Diggs racked up three touchdowns and 120 receiving yards, with two of those touchdowns coming in the first half. The absence of halftime adjustments compounded the defensive woes, underlining the urgent need for significant improvements in Miami’s defensive game plan.

Abandoning the Run Game:

While it’s understandable that the Dolphins leaned heavily on their passing game, given the early deficit, Coach McDaniel conceded that he should have stuck with the run game more. Rookie De’Von Achane, a bright spot, found the end zone twice and displayed promise. However, the Bills’ defensive strategy of employing cover two effectively limited deep passing opportunities for Miami’s wide receivers. Opponents are increasingly adapting to Miami’s high-flying offense by focusing on preventing deep passes. This necessitates a strategic adjustment in the Dolphins’ game plan to counter these defensive tactics.

Concerns on the Offensive Line

After three nearly flawless weeks, the Dolphins’ offensive line encountered a considerable setback, surrendering a total of four sacks to the Bills. This marked a significant departure from the mere one sack allowed in the first three weeks of the season. The absence of center Connor Williams forced the Dolphins to thrust Liam Eichenberg into the center position, where he faced a challenging day. Eichenberg’s struggles not only affected the offensive line but also contributed to LT Terron Armstead’s injury. An unfortunate collision with Armstead’s knee forced him to exit the game prematurely. Tua Tagovailoa found himself under constant pressure, and it was evident that he was rattled. Miami must urgently address this concern at the center position to ensure the protection of Tagovailoa’s health.

Injuries Taking Their Toll

The Dolphins were dealt a harsh blow with the loss of Terron Armstead, expected to be sidelined for weeks, is a significant setback. The unavailability of LB Jaelan Phillips and C Connor Williams due to injuries further exacerbated issues, impacting both the pass-rushing and pass-protection aspects of Miami’s game plan. These injuries disrupted Miami’s strategy and undoubtedly contributed to their struggles on the field.

A Shot at Redemption

Defeats may sting, but they also provide the opportunity for redemption. In the grand finale of the regular season, the Dolphins will host the Bills—a team they have a peculiar knack for defeating at home, even if Buffalo’s backyard proves elusive. Could it be for the division title? After all, a win in Miami is worth two in Buffalo, isn’t it? If the Dolphins aspire to dethrone the Bills and crown themselves AFC East champions, there’s a captivating journey ahead and a lot of work to be done.

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