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Mark Gaughan’s 10 plays: Clay crosses up his former team

1. Welcome back, Charles. The Bills used a good design and got a good matchup on the first touchdown of the game.

Tight ends Charles Clay and Matthew Mulligan lined up tight to the right side of the formation. It was a play-action pass, and Clay ran a crossing route against linebacker Koa Misi, which was a mismatch. Misi tried to grab Clay off the line but Clay swatted his arms away and caught a 10-yard pass. He faked out safety Michael Thomas at the 12 and scored on a 25-yard catch and run. Misi chased him all the way to the end zone.

“That’s part of that matchup, that you have a guy who can do it all,” said Bills coach Rex Ryan.

2. Tannehill implodes. The rout was on when Bills linebacker Preston Brown intercepted a Ryan Tannehill pass and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. It put the Bills up, 24-0.

The Bills rushed six men, and safety Bacarri Rambo was untouched blitzing through the A gap between the center and left guard. He hit Tannehill, who rushed a dump-off pass to the right directly into Brown’s arms. Brown was coming off left tackle.

“Coach called a great play, and he threw it right to me,” Brown said.

3. A perfect matchup. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor got a look he had to love from the Miami defense on Buffalo’s second drive of the game. Miami had a single safety high with eight men in the box and Sammy Watkins singled up on journeyman cornerback Brice McCain. Green light for Taylor. Watkins beat McCain on a go route up the left sideline and Taylor hit him for a 40-yard gain.

4. McCoy at WR. LeSean McCoy’s role as a receiver diminished last season in Philadelphia. He saw his catches drop from 52 to 28. But the Bills’ running back showed how dangerous he can be in the pass game on a 10-yard TD strike, the Bills’ second touchdown. McCoy was lined up wide right with Watkins in the right slot. Simple play: Watkins runs straight, McCoy runs 3 yards up and slants underneath him. Miami safety Reshad Jones tried to go behind Watkins and the cornerback. McCoy was wide open for the score. It was McCoy’s first receiving TD since 2013.

5. Turnover No. 1. The passes need to be precise in a horizontal pass offense like Miami’s. The ball wasn’t precise enough on a quick slant late in the first quarter from Tannehill to second-year receiver Jarvis Landry. The ball was on his back shoulder. Landry bobbled it directly into the arms of Brown, who was in underneath zone coverage. Call it 30 percent Tannehill’s fault, 70 percent Landry’s fault. It led to a field goal that made it 17-0.

6. Hogan’s easy TD. The Dolphins made it too easy for Tyrod Taylor on the 38-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan early in the fourth quarter. It was a third-and-9 play and Miami had a single safety deep with eight men closer to the box. Cornerback Jamar Taylor let Hogan go deep, thinking he had safety help. But there was no way that Walt Aikens could get over from the deep middle. Aikens and Taylor were arguing after the play. It had to be Taylor’s mistake.

7. Welcome back, Dan. Bills place-kicker Dan Carpenter got a raw deal in Miami. He had four good years for the Dolphins and made one Pro Bowl. Then he had an off statistical year in 2012. He missed five kicks, but three of them were more than 50 yards and the other two were 47 and 48 yards. He made his last 16 to end the season. The Dolphins drafted a kicker the next spring and Carpenter lost his job.

Miami’s trash was Buffalo’s treasure. Carpenter has made 71 of 79 field-goal attempts for the Bills, including 11 of 16 from 50 or more yards. Carpenter connected from 51 yards to give the Bills a 27-0 lead in the second quarter. How has Miami done without him? Not so well. The Dolphins have ranked 27th and 29th the past two years, respectively, in field-goal percentage.

8. Pack it in. There was no life left in Sun Life Stadium in the second half and no life left in the Miami defense in the fourth quarter. Rookie Karlos Williams rumbled for a 41-yard touchdown with 6:46 left in the game to give the Bills a 41-14 lead.

9. Darby INT. Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman dialed up another win late in the first half. It was an overload blitz off left tackle that sent Jerry Hughes and Nickell Robey free on the QB. Tannehill’s pass was way off target and intercepted by Ronald Darby.

10. Miami’s late TD. Tannehill showed off his good arm on a 46-yard TD pass to Rishard Matthews with 7:56 left. Almost nobody was left in Sun Life Stadium to see it.


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