The Miami Dolphins take on the Buffalo Bills on “Thursday Night Football” to attempt to snap their two-game slide. To do so, the Dolphins have to take advantage of the Bills’ league-worst rushing defense, which surrenders an average of 163.7 yards per game. Coming off a game in which rookie QB Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions, it becomes especially critical that the Dolphins get the ground game going and protect their young signal caller. The Bills’ linebackers have struggled playing in space all year, which works right into the Dolphins’ favor with their zone-running scheme spearheaded by talented RB Reggie Bush. The “Playbook” crew breaks down Miami’s use of the stretch play.
To stop this stretch attack, the Bills’ linebackers have to be aggressive and attack downhill while the offensive line is still moving laterally. Buffalo’s linebackers have been slow to react and attack this year. That is a deadly combination against this type of running scheme, as you can see in the example illustrated above. If the Bills try to move laterally with the offensive line and don’t get momentum coming to the line of scrimmage, the Dolphins will eat them alive off of those combo blocks.
On the other side of the ball, the Bills’ intermediate passing game must build off of the success it had against the New England Patriots last week. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming off of a 337-yard output in that game, and the Dolphins’ secondary has been vulnerable, especially in that intermediate range; ranking 28th in the league with 278 yards allowed per game through the air. It is easier said than done, but if the Bills follow this blueprint on both sides of the ball, they can pull off the victory and keep themselves alive for at least another week. If not, it might be a long, cold night in Buffalo and a big day for Reggie Bush and this Dolphins offense.
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