Fine Against the Fins

The Buffalo Bills provoked yet more heart palpitations while nudging fans to once again despise their football enemies. You don’t have to thank the kickoff coverage team for making the most recent scrap against the Miami Dolphins more dramatic with sloppy coverage in the last minute. But the overall effect was merriment achieved through overcoming tough situations, even if they created some of them.

(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

When the offense is only producing in glimpses, they can only hope their compatriots can be memorably dominant. Thankfully, the 95th edition of the rivalry was bookended by the Bills’ epic defensive plays. First, there came six points from Nickell Robey, who lurked as a predator waiting for Ryan Tannehill to negligently contribute to his impending doom. Any team who aspires for more than mediocrity better win when their defense scores, and Buffalo exploited the advantage earned through canny foresight.

It’s easier to defend receivers while getting pressure on the quarterback with four guys. They alternated their strong basic setup with confusing blockers on blitzes by keeping potential rushers near the line in two-point stances. The ability to overpower the Miami quarterback’s alleged protectors was best seen during the second gloriously emblematic defensive moment, namely the Williams Brothers combining to not only sack but also plunder the quarterback. If they’re not actually siblings, I hereby offer to adopt them both.

Some colossal plays on defense were necessary considering how the other unit had about one full-powered back between the two. Thankfully, their most senior rusher’s stalwart mindset overcomes physical adversity. Fred Jackson’s guts can’t be injured. Watching him drive into the end zone after refusing a cart to the locker room embodies why people eagerly follow this team and care about football. It’s not just sports: everyone should strive to be so determined as Jackson no matter the task. Kiko Alonso thinks he’s a legend.

Jackson’s zeal for gaining yards no matter the circumstances are especially prominent compared to a team that’s contemptible for being so unmemorable. An exciting outcome helped the Bills Mafia remember to hate the Dolphins and everything about them, from Dan Marino’s cluelessly empty look to their super-tough color scheme which I still think could use more aqua.

I loathe Mercury Morris’s champagne parties as much as I do how the forgettable squad with an impossibly feeble mascot they thought would look tougher by losing its helmet insists on wearing white at home, not that many people in South Florida notice. Their fan base’s blasé attitude is almost as shameful as how few people display it, seen in how the franchise apparently decided to decorate the edges of their stadium with a ribbon of orange seats. Having fans in those spots might be more festive.

The Dolphins should be more astute about falling apart unless they want to be seen as reflective of stereotypes about their hometown’s soft life. People scared of seasons aren’t about to do anything uncouth like attend a sporting event. Those Bills fans who wouldn’t think of missing a snap, much less a game, can’t appreciate the expansive definition of the word “fan” that is also oddly applied to the relative handful who back their southernmost AFC East rival.

Maybe they’d be inspired to cheer if they had more genuine villains to gleefully support as in years past. Cartoonish lunatic Bryan Cox helped create a venomous rivalry, so maybe the Dolphins should draft more players who could double as wrestling heels. In the meantime, the franchise’s uninspiring nature must be painful for fans who bother paying attention. Jelani Jenkins classily hitting Thad Lewis in the head may have been an attempt to spark contempt; if so, it worked.

The bliss inspired by a win shouldn’t cloak areas of concern. The defense needs to not only be aware of reverses but also prepare to shift personal momentum with haste. As for the offense, linemen pushed into their backfield should feel motivated to claim the line of scrimmage as their own and move forward from there. But enough big moments helped the Bills do their part to rekindle a smoldering rivalry. And they only figuratively gave the Dolphins the finger.

About Anthony Bialy

Anthony Bialy recently moved back to Buffalo from New York City and acts like he never left. He thinks "Buffalo 66" is biographical and considers it a crime against mankind that Steve Tasker is not in the Hall of Fame. He likes getting Tim Hortons on the way to get Labatt Blue. Follow him on Twitter at @AnthonyBialy.