Thu, 22 Oct 2020

Inside the Numbers: Dolphins Bills Week 2

Miami Dolphins
22 Sep 2020, 08:05 GMT+10

Travis Wingfield

Every Monday (and on Friday following the Week 3 game on TNF in Jacksonville), we'll go inside the numbers from the previous game. We'll take a look at the snap counts, cumulative team stats for the season, and advanced metrics from a variety of analytics sites such as Pro Football Focus, NFL Next Gen Stats and Pro Football Reference.

Dolphins-Bills Team Stats

(These statistical rankings do not include the Monday Night game tonight between Las Vegas and New Orleans).

The Dolphins fell to 0-2 Sunday with a 31-28 loss to the Bills. That result makes it four straight for Buffalo over Miami, though the three points separating the teams was the closest final score in the series since the Dolphins 2016 overtime victory on Christmas Eve.

Through two games, the Dolphins rank 20th in total offense and 26th in scoring. The passing offense ranks 15th with the running game 25th in the NFL, both in total rushing and yards per carry.

Miami averages 5.2 yards per play, 24th in the NFL, but the 48 first downs earned are 12th most. The offense has committed seven penalties for 55 yards, both 3rd-fewest among teams with two games played.

The Dolphins finish 57.1 percent (4-of-7) of red zone drives in the end zone, ranking 22nd in that category. Miami's only fourth down attempt was unsuccessful and the team's 39.1 percent third-down conversion rate ranks 22nd in the league. Miami's average drive time is two minutes and 48 seconds, the 13th longest drive sustain rate in the NFL.

Jason Sanders and the Miami kicking game are one of 14 teams without a missed field goal and one of just nine teams without a missed field goal or point after. Sanders' 52-yard field goal is tied for the fifth longest in the NFL this year. Matt Haack's 51.8 yards per punt ranks fifth in the NFL and his long of 66 is fourth highest.

Opposing offenses have gained 881 yards through two games; Miami ranks 30th in total defense and 19th in scoring defense. The passing defense ranks 27th and the run defense ranks 29th in the NFL.

With nine penalties assessed for 102 yards, the Dolphins defense ranks 7th in penalties against and 15th in yardage coming from those fouls.

The defense has surrendered five touchdowns on six red zone visits from the opposition (83.3 percent) tied for the third-highest rate in the league. Opposing offenses are converting half of the third-down attempts against Miami's defense, which is the seventh-highest rate in the NFL.

All of the above stats are courtesy of Pro Football Reference. PFR has Miami's defense at a 15.5 percent blitz rate, 18th-most frequent in the NFL sending extra rushers. The 12.1 percent pressure rate ranks 23rd in the NFL.

Offense Snap Counts

Any way the numbers are construed, Ryan Fitzpatrick had a big day statistically. Under pressure on 14 drop backs, Fitzpatrick completed six of nine passes for 87 yards, per PFF. However, on the 38 drop backs in which the Miami quarterback had a clean pocket, he completed 25-of-38 for 241 yards and both touchdown passes. He also completed 8-of-12 throws when Buffalo blitzed for 138 yards and nine first downs.

After a very strong training camp, Myles Gaskin continues to lead in snaps-played among Dolphins running backs. He's showing the same dual-threat abilities that made him one of college football's all-time most productive backs. Gaskin averaged 4.43 yards after initial contact. With 3.94 average yards after contact on the season, Gaskin ranks 8th among all NFL backs with at least 10 carries.

Mike Gesicki had a career day. He caught eight of 10 targets for 130 yards (13 yards per target) and all eight of his receptions moved the chains. He caught four of five passes on Buffalo cornerbacks for 60 yards.

Isaiah Ford caught seven of his eight targets and moved the chains on each catch.

DeVante Parker worked exclusively on Buffalo's Levi Wallace, per PFF. Parker caught five of his eight targets for 53 yards, three first downs and a touchdown.

Center Ted Karras pitched a pass-protection shutout. On his 54 pass-blocking reps, PFF didn't credit any of Miami's 16 pressures surrendered to the man in the middle.

Ereck Flowers' lone pressure allowed was a sack, but he earned PFF's highest graded among the offensive line in pass protection.

Defense Snap Counts

The Dolphins' tackling was not as sharp this week. After three missed tackles against New England, PFF credited Miami with 10 misses in this game.

For the second straight week, a defensive tackle captured the highest grade for the Miami defense per Pro Football Focus. Davon Godchaux put pressure on Josh Allen twice (a hit and a hurry) and made two run stops. Godchaux was active up front holding the point and penetrating the Bills backfield.

Last week's top-graded defender checks in at third on the team (behind Jamal Perry who played five snaps Sunday). Christian Wilkins is off to a strong start in his second season - he had three pressures and three run stops.

Raekwon Davis makes it three for three in defensive tackles at the top of PFF's Dolphins defensive grades. He picked up the first two pressures of his career.

Emmanuel Ogbah had half of the lone sack of Josh Allen and picked up two more pressures (three total) in the game.

Andrew Van Ginkel split the sack with Ogbah and was Miami's fifth-highest graded defender in the game. He had the half-sack and two run stops on just eight run-down snaps.

Critical Moments

After the Patriots took early MVP candidate Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks to the final play, and with the Bills demonstrating their position of power in the AFC, Miami's Week 1 and 2 opponents are proving to be more than formidable.

The difference in those games was a few critical plays and Ryan Fitzpatrick talked about the importance of making those when they matter most.

"They go and score and we've got a critical drive where we get the ball and have probably our worst drive - definitely our worst drive - of the second half where we needed it most," Fitzpatrick said. "So there's some stuff that we need to continue to get better at and a lot of it is just those critical moments, making sure that we're doing the best we can."

Brian Flores echoed the statements of his quarterback.

"We didn't do enough to win the game," Flores said. "We had a chance during the fourth quarter. We made a couple plays, took a lead. But you know, just offensively, defensively, we just couldn't finish the game. So you've got to finish in this league. If you want to win the game you've got to finish the game off. I thought we played well in the third quarter, but nothing is more important than finishing the fourth quarter. We didn't do a good enough job there. We had opportunities. We didn't take advantage."

Fitzpatrick referred to the drive following Buffalo's fourth-quarter touchdown to make it a 24-20 game, saying the team had its worst drive at the biggest moment.

With 130 plays ran between the two offenses, like most NFL games, it came down to the four or five plays Buffalo made. The missed opportunities that Flores mentioned will sting for a day or two, but it also provides the Dolphins with some coaching points and reasons for optimism.

Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, safety Eric Rowe and cornerback Xavien Howard have all made big plays and big interceptions in this league. Each had a chance to get one from Josh Allen, but the play just didn't go their way.

Fitzpatrick also referenced the goal-to-go series from the 1-yard line in which Miami couldn't punch it in from one yard away on four occasions.

Point to those four plays, reverse the results and the scoreboard might read differently at the final buzzer. Again, no lollipops, but the opportunities are there. They'll get another opportunity quickly with a short week on the road against Gardner Minshew and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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