Sal's Sticks: Dolphins at Bills

December 30, 2018 - 9:22 pm
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Two big things came to an end Sunday in Orchard Park.  The Bills’ 2018 season, and Kyle Williams’ 13-year career.  Since it was a 42-17 Bills’ win, we’ll start with the positives, which is nice for the last Sticks column of the season:


AHEAD OF THE STICKS

  • The Bills handling of Kyle Williams’ day

It’s always tough to say goodbye to someone you love.  And there’s never an easy way to do it. But the Bills did a fantastic job of sending Williams out with class and without creating a circus.  It was classy.  The team normally is introduced as a whole without any individual players.  Sunday they all went out first, but Williams was introduced to the crowd last and separately.  Then Williams was inserted on offense at fullback and caught a pass for nine yards, firing up his teammates and the crowd.  And finally, head coach Sean McDermott intentionally turned the ball over on downs by having QB Josh Allen knee on fourth down, in order to have the defense come on the field one last time and call a timeout to have Williams taken off individually.  It was all well done.

  • QB Josh Allen

Boy, the “Josh Allen is Awful” crowd is going to have a tough time explaining this one.  I’m sure they’ll point to a few poorly thrown balls that fell incomplete, because they were there.  Or the one interception he threw, which was a bad decision and throw.  But, unless you’re trying really, really hard, it’s pretty tough to come away not impressed with the rookie’s overall performance.  He also made some terrific individual throws, and finished 17-for-26 (65.4%) for 224 yards and three touchdowns passing, then added another 95 yards and two touchdowns running.  It was Allen’s best day so far, putting his running and throwing together for a full sixty minutes, and it came at a great time, to end the season on a high note.

  • DE Shaq Lawson

I felt this was Lawson’s best game of his three-year career.  He dominated from his defensive end position, finishing with two sacks, another tackle for loss, a pass breakup, and a forced fumble on one of those sacks.  The Bills recovered it and that led to a touchdown.

  • LB Tremaine Edmunds

It may have also been Edmunds’ best all-around game so far.  The rookie led all tacklers with twelve, including one tackle for loss.  He also had a sack, a QB hurry, a pass breakup, and an interception he returned for seventeen yards that led to a touchdown.  He was all over the field and filled up the stat sheet.

  • Bills’ start

The Bills started this game exactly how you want, especially against a team on the road with nothing to play for.  They took the opening kickoff right down the field, scoring a touchdown after a 66-yard drive.  Then Edmunds intercepted QB Ryan Tannehill on the Dolphins’ third play from scrimmage.  Boom! Just like that, less than seven minutes into the game, it was 14-0 and the route appeared to be on.

  • WR Zay Jones

Jones matched his highest yardage output of the season, with 93 yards on six grabs, averaging a healthy 15.5 yards per catch.  He also scored two touchdowns for the second time this season, finishing as the team’s leader in catches (56), receiving yards (652), and TD catches (7).

  • CBs Tre’Davious White and Levi Wallace

Both Bills’ corners had a solid game.  Wallace had eight tackles, a QB hurry, a pass breakup, and a forced fumble, while White had an interception and a pass breakup.  Dolphins’ wide receivers combined for only 53 yards receiving.

  • Third down defense

Miami converted only 3-of-12 third downs (25%) and were 0-for-5 in the second half.

  • Red zone offense

A great day for the Bills in the red zone, converting each of their four trips there into touchdowns.

  • Penalties

Only three penalties for 24 yards called on the Bills all day.
 

BEHIND THE STICKS

  • The 2nd quarter

Remember when I wrote how well the Bills started the game?  They did, but then they had an awful second quarter that allowed Miami to tie the game 14-14 headed to halftime.  The Bills’ drives in the second quarter ended like this: "missed field goal, punt, punt, interception, end of half."  They went three-and-out on two of those possessions and gained a total of nineteen yards on the final four possessions of the half.  Josh Allen also threw a pick-6 that gave the Dolphins their second TD and tied the game.  And that was right after the defense gave up their longest drive of the game.  Miami took it 56-yards in eleven plays to get their first score. In the Bills' progession to the next step, they need to put their foot down on an opponent early when they have the chance.

  • Dolphins' LB Kiko Alonzo

The final Behind the Sticks of the season gets the first-ever for an opposing player.  The Bills played a good game. I could nitpick other things to put here for them, but this spot is deserved for Alonso after his attempted dirty hit on Allen.  This coming after a late roughing the passer he was called for, on top of numerous other times he’s been either flagged, fined, or simply seen taking cheap shots at opposing players.  Because of all this, and the fact that Allen completely embarrassed Alonso by running circles around him the last time the two teams played, Bills’ players knew to be aware of Alonso.  And they obviously had good reason.  He was rightfully ejected for his bush league play, and hopefully will be fined again, as well.
 

THE BIG PICTURE

Instead of writing a Big Picture this week, I’ve written a column on the direction of the organization and the transition for 2018 into 2019.  You canread it here:

https://wgr550.radio.com/articles/opinion/capaccio-step-back-2018-wasnt-unexpected-now-its-time-bills-start-winning

 

Follow me on Twitter @SalSports

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