In Josh Allen’s first game back from injury following the Buffalo Bills’ bye week, he returned with a vengeance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In a game that many fans had circled on their calendars from the moment that Jalen Ramsey made his “trash” comment about the young signal-caller, he made sure to ignite the Buffalo offense en route to a 24-21 victory.
Somewhat hilariously, the Bills made their way back into CBS’ “In the Hunt” graphic after improving to 4-7 last week. Rationally, it’s fair to assume that they won’t win out, despite having a relatively easy schedule for the rest of the year. Even if they do, it’s not a guarantee that a 9-7 record even gets them into the playoffs.
The rest of the season is all about Allen’s development (as has been the case for the entire year, really). He will need to replicate his performance from last week on the road against a Miami Dolphins team that has lost four of their last five games.
Allen Revenge Tour (Continued)
As has been the case for Allen’s entire career (high school, college, and probably even Pop Warner), his stat line against the Jaguars didn’t tell the whole story. Going 8/19 for a mere 160 yards and one touchdown, the rookie quarterback’s real impact came on the ground. With 99 yards on 13 carries, he was the team’s leading rusher in the contest, adding an incredible, hard-nosed rushing touchdown as well.
No, he wasn’t perfect, but 259 all-purpose yards is a sign of progress, and that’s what this season is all about for a prospect who, like it or not, is a project player at the league’s most important position. What will be important moving forward is Allen’s ability to generate yardage (and subsequently, points) through the air. He won’t be able to post gaudy rushing numbers every week against NFL defenses, so expect Brian Daboll to dial up more deep looks this week.
We’ll close out this section by talking about everyone’s favorite topic, completion-percentage. Yes, Allen only completed 42-percent of his passes last week, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story. The Bills ran a disproportionate number of low-percentage plays and the wide receiver group once again did the offense very few favors. Add that to the numerous dropped balls, and a massive gain that was called back on a bad holding penalty and that stat line isn’t really surprising.
Swimming with the Fishes
Let’s talk about that Dolphins defense, shall we? To put it plainly, this should be a much easier test in comparison to a Jacksonville team that is certainly in the conversation as a top-five defense in the NFL. As it stands, Miami has allowed the third-most yards in the league, with only Cleveland and Cincinnati relenting more. They have also allowed the third-highest average yards gained per-play at 6.3. Ouch. As a basis of comparison, the Jaguars have averaged 5.3 yards against, per-play this season.
Interestingly enough, despite their defensive deficiencies in terms of yards-allowed, Miami is currently third in the league in turnovers-forced with 22 on the year so far. Ball security, both on the ground and through the air, will be paramount if the Bills hope to string together three consecutive wins.
Miami might actually be worse on the offensive side of the ball. At 313.6 yards gained per game, they have the fifth-lowest average in the NFL. Ryan Tannehill continues to look less and less like a franchise quarterback and he still has trouble staying healthy. Before posting a solid outing last week in a 37-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the 30-year-old missed five consecutive games. His team went 2-3 in that span.
In nine career games against the Bills, Tannehill’s body of work has been absolutely dreadful. The Buffalo defense has only allowed him to complete 58.25-percent of his passes and 204-yards passing per game, on average. They’ve also intercepted eight of his passes in that span.
The Dolphins are 4-1 this season on their home turf at Hard Rock Stadium, so this is far from a cakewalk, but the Bills do match up nicely across the board. If they can mitigate damage through the air, the Bills will make easy work of an uninspiring Miami rushing attack.
Can these Buffalo Bills really win three-in-a-row? Why yes, yes they can. This game is on the road and that does make things interesting, but if the Bills’ defense plays to their full potential, a victory should be reasonably easy to obtain.
Final Score: Bills 20, Dolphins 17
Editor’s babble: Special thanks to my fellow UB alum for cranking out this preview with a broken heart. UB’s football loss to Northern Illinois University on Friday in Detroit was even more painful for Anthony because he was there! You can find Anthony and his scintillating commentary on Twitter @SciandraSports. He’s also a contributing writer for @diebytheblade. He knows his stuff :)