Every team has that statement game of the season, and for a variety of different reasons. One might be to announce that they found their QB, or establish their defense, or maybe to just confirm that they were total crap. For both the Dolphins and Bills, each team were getting the national spotlight to make a statement about what direction each were heading in and it paid off for one of them. Have the Bills really gotten on track after a pathetic opening night loss to the hapless Jets? Did the Dolphins just beat up on crap defenses or were they ready to take command of the AFC East and possibly conference? Josh Allen, Dorsey, and McD have entered the chat.
1 - Allen - I've been waiting since week one to write this thought and am glad it came this soon. No, the Dolphins don't have a world beater defense. But they do have an offense that can make you feel like you have to score on every single drive to keep up. With a 2.5 game division lead on the line, all the media hype about the Dolphins having a transcending offense, and questions about the Bills offense, this was a week where you might expect to see an overhyped Josh force the ball, take dumb hits, and turn the ball over. What did we get instead? Probably Josh's best game since the Patriots perfect game and 13 seconds. Josh was the perfect combination of pocket, mobile, accurate, and careful. The best throw of the game wasn't even a completion (thanks Shakir). His second best throw was an absolute strike to Davis for the games first touchdown. Most Qb's would put some air under that ball. Not Josh though. Josh through an absolute rope that hit Davis perfectly in his outstretched arms. Seriously, I don't even know what else there is to say besides 158.3 Josh was perfect and showed you exactly what this offense was capable of.
2 - Dorsey - While the game was firm in hand, Josh kept the ball on a RPO, Dawkins swung to the right side, and Josh walked cleanly into the end zone from 11 yards out. While it might be a simple play, it was the checkmate in Dorsey's game of chess against the Dolphins. I made a comment earlier in the game thread about being surprised at that lack of designed runs for Josh. On that touchdown run, I was like the DiCaprio meme pointing at the TV saying "there it is." This game was Dorsey's statement game after one and a quarter seasons. His game plan was masterful. Every play was either a success or setup a future play. I don't pretend to know what happens behind the scenes, but this game was an absolute clinic to where Dorsey stole Fangio's lunch and then ate it right in front of him.
3 - Shoulda coulda woulda - I know there's some that don't like to talk about the "almost" plays because they happen in every game and go both ways. For me, this game was different because they only went against the Bills, and I mean that in a scary good way. Bernard didn't intercept a tipped ball. Shakir dropped a touchdown pass. Tre (we'll miss you) dropped a pick 6. The Dolphins recovered a fumble that had Bills all around it. All of these plays could have led to even more points or the Bills, and we still put up 48 points. That's absolutely terrifying for opposing teams.
4 - Well someone trying to tell me where it's at,
And how I do this and why I do that,
With secret smiles like a Chesire cat,
And little wings like a vampire bat,
I fly away to my cold water flat and eat my way to a bone of fat,
And I say to the man with the funny hat,
5 - Mic Drop - I'm probably reading too much into this, but I felt like McD made the most passive aggressive mic drop comment with a reporter regarding his defense. He was asked what adjustments he made, and McD said something to the effect of "I didn't change anything, the guys just had to settle into the game." I'm going to reach and exaggerate here. What I heard was "Listen here mother *****, my defensive game plan was air tight and my guys couldn't figure it out at first. Once they did after two drives, we shut down the "best" offense in the league and were done with this game at half time. The only thing McD could have done more in that moment was rip his shirt off, finish the beers that Diggs opened, and slapped McDaniels in the face. This defense was spectacular. Think about this; after the first two drives, we gave up one long run that led to 6 points. That's in the entire final 3 quarters against an offense that just put up 70. Oh yeah, we didn't have Poyer, lost Tre and still didn't skip a beat. Seeing Waddle and Hill on the sidelines, absolutely dejected in the 4th quarter was BillsMafia porn. Also, why was Tua still out there and those guys were benched?
6 - Second read - Let me preface by saying that Tua has genuinely impressed me and, if he can stay healthy, is going to get rightfully paid this offseason. With that being said, McD put a dunce cap on him and made Tua sit in the corner for most of this game. All week, all we heard about is the way McDaniels creates space and Tua gets the ball out in 2 seconds or less. All McD did was predict that first read, cover it, and watch as Tua fell apart. For those comparing Tua to Josh coming into this game, you saw the biggest difference between them in real time. You come at Josh, you disrupt a play, then Josh shows you the man he is. Tua loses his first read and things don't go to plan and you get sacks, interceptions, 0-3 on fourth down, and other mistakes. Again, Tua has accomplished too much to call him a fluke. But I don't think it's a huge stretch to say that he is a system quarterback in a highly effective offensive system. His next step will be to get where Josh is when a play breaks down or he needs to progress to his third read.
7 - The No Man's Land known as Milano and Bernard - While we did get some sacks and had a strong defensive performance, there are some guys who may not have showed up on the stat sheet. First up is Milano. I'm staring to think he has those wheelies installed in his cleats. Milano and Bernard play ridiculously fast and cover the middle of the field in a way that we haven't seen in a long time. Milano covered the edges like a man possessed. Bernard won't get credit for the interception, but he made Tua throw high and right into the hands of Hyde. Both of them blitzed at times and created great pressure.
8 - Depth - Going against a team that can throw the ball over the field to track starts, you would think missing your All-pro safety in Poyer, losing Tre for the year mid-game, Johnson and Benford both leaving with injuries (both did return) would create some noticeable gaps in our defense. Nope. That's a hard nope. In fact, Jackson taped down the Nope button when he entered the game by laying a huge hit on a receiver in the flat. If I didn't let you see player names, you wouldn't think we were missing anyone on our defense. It's crazy how efficient this team is in that regard. Losing White sucks, but I have complete faith in Benford and Jackson, with Elam on the bench. Rapp played great in this game and we will get Poyer back. Not to mention, Murray did a great job in his limited snaps to hurt the Dolphins defensive line. Oh, by the way, we get a guy named Von Miller back soon. I mean, come on now....
9 - We don't pay attention (proceeds to pay attention) - Mic drop moment number two of the day was when Josh left the post game podium. A reported baited Josh into making a statement to all his doubters or trash talkers about the Bills so far this season. Josh just said "nope" and walked away. In a "and I took that personally" moment, Diggs was not going to be denied in this game and proceed to make his 🤔 face every chance he got. Even Josh got in on it. These guys can tell you they don't track on what we say in the media, but you can tell since Week 1 that Josh has a chip on his shoulder. Diggs wasn't going to let anyone on the team forget that the Dolphins didn't like the spread for this game. Yet with all this hype, as great teams do, they stood up, proved it on the field, then walked off without saying a word. This is personal for these guys and I'm absolutely here for it.
10 - Enjoy this - Three straight games now, the Bills have been able to sit their starters in the 4th quarter. We have won all three by an average of 30 points. For those wondering when McD was going to prove his defensive expertise, or when Dorsey would prove as a worthy successor to Daboll, or when all this draft capitol spent on DB or D-Line depth would pay off, I present to you the 2023 Bills. I will say this, and then my BBFS take over. There is not a better team in the AFC right now than the Buffalo Bills and they can absolutely win the whole thing based off what we've seen so far. Yes, Mahomes still exists and the 49ers are a strange running team that has a great defense, but these Bills are probably the best roster and performing team since McD got here. And I say this as someone who was ready to jump off a bridge after week one. I don't know what will happen next week or for the rest of the season, and injuries can happen, but this team is capable of great things.
Lastly, shout out to Knox for his angry run. Something about seeing Knox plant a man into the stadium foundation just moves me.
I'm off to London. Hope you all have a great week and see some of you across the pond.