The Buffalo Bills took care of business yesterday against the Miami Dolphins, beating an AFC East division foe 29-10. After upsetting the Chicago Bears on the road to kick-off the season, Ralph Wilson Stadium was rocking with energy and excitement. The news of All-Time Bills great, Jim Kelly, beating cancer, coupled with Terry Pegula purchasing the team, ensuring the franchise will be staying in Buffalo, made for an emotional week heading into the game.
The Bills fired on all cylinders, with every unit- offense, defense and special teams, making it a rough afternoon for the Dolphins.
Here at BillsMafia.com, I hand out my weekly team awards, with Vine videos to accompany them.
Offensive MVP: WR Sammy Watkins
The No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft had his “Welcome to the NFL” game against the Dolphins, catching eight passes for 117 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets. Watkins showed off his game-changing speed, change-of-direction ability and the reliable hands that made Bills’ General Manager Doug Whaley pull the trigger on the bold move to trade up.
Honorable Mention: RT Seantrel Henderson
Rookie seventh-round draft pick Seantrel Henderson’s matchup with the Dolphins’ Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake was one that I thought could be a huge deciding factor in the game and a large mismatch that favored Miami. Fortunately for the Bills, I was wrong, as Henderson held up well against Wake throughout the game.
Wake, the best player on the Dolphins’ roster, generated just one quarterback pressure and was held to a single tackle. Henderson has been incredibly consistent throughout his first two NFL games, and if the issues that caused his drop in the draft are behind him, it appears that the Bills stole a very good bookend to pair with Cordy Glenn.
Offensive LVP: LG Chris Williams
Free agent acquisition Chris Williams was, in my opinion, the weak link on the Bills’ offense for the second straight week. ProFootballFocus credited him with two quarterback pressures allowed, but I personally counted four.
In pass protection, Williams continuously lost his balance, lunged at defensive linemen and was literally thrown around throughout the game.
The Bills averaged 3.4 yards-per-carry as a team, but gained just five yards on the eight rushes behind Williams. On those eight rushes, the longest was four yards, and nine yards were gained after contact. Those numbers don’t paint a pretty picture for a player that was just signed to a three-year deal.
Defensive MVP: DT Kyle Williams, CB Corey Graham
For the second consecutive week, Kyle Williams and Corey Graham were the best players on the Buffalo Bills’ defense. Williams abused center Samson Satele and guard Shelley Smith all afternoon, racking up four tackles and a sack, while generating four quarterback pressures. Williams consistently penetrated the pocket, forcing Ryan Tannehill to force quick passes without the time to properly set his feet.
Corey Graham had an incredible game himself, showing up in big-time situations. Graham was targeted 12 times, but allowed just five receptions. He broke up three passes, including one that prevented a potential touchdown and another on an incredible leap, getting in front of Miami’s speedster, Mike Wallace. Graham has been a movable chess-piece in Jim Schwartz’ defense throughout the first two games, primarily lining up at left cornerback, but also saw time as a slot/safety-type defender.
Honorable Mention: LB Nigel Bradham
What a game Nigel Bradham had. His stat line of seven tackles and a pass break-up doesn’t to his performance on the field justice. Bradham, who made his season-debut after serving a one-game suspension, was flying to the ball and served as the physical force against the run. His speed, power and versatility should ease some of the pain fans felt after the loss of Kiko Alonso.
Defensive LVP: CB Stephon Gilmore
In a season in which the Bills’ No. 10 overall pick in 2012 was expected to emerge into a top-tier cornerback, Stephon Gilmore has had a rough start to the year.
Gilmore has everything you look for in a cornerback- size, length, strength, speed, athleticism and physicality, but his aggressiveness has led to some inconsistency in his game. Ryan Tannehill targeted Gilmore just five times on Sunday, but he allowed four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Offensive Play of the Game: Sammy Watkins Scores First NFL Touchdown
It took just two games for Sammy Watkins to score a touchdown, but the play highlighted all of the traits that make him such a special and talented player.
Watkins’ score was only from 12 yards out, but he adjusted his shallow crossing route to find the soft spot in the middle of the Dolphins’ zone coverage. After the catch, Watkins showed his incredible burst and aggressiveness, diving to break the pylon.
Defensive Play of the Game: Da’Norris Searcy Tackles Ryan Tannehill on 4th-and-1
There’s probably 15-20 plays that could qualify for this award, but to me, Da’Norris Searcy’s stop of Ryan Tannehill on a QB-Keeper that gave the Bills’ offense the ball back late in the game was the most impactful.
The Dolphins ran an option and Bills’ defensive end Jerry Hughes bit on the play-fake, giving Tannehill a wide lane for the necessary yard to move the sticks. Searcy flew into the backfield, bringing him down to not only force a turnover, but provided a surge of energy to the team and the fans in the stadium.