Vic Carucci's Take Five: Bills prevent Dolphins' D from dictating - The Buffalo News

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Vic Carucci's Take Five: Bills prevent Dolphins' D from dictating

Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 24-16 victory against the Miami Dolphins Sunday worked out:

1. Keep Cameron Wake and the Dolphins' pass rush from controlling the game. Check-plus.

Tyrod Taylor generally was able to function with few problems on the way to having a solid game: 17-for-29 for 224 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. It was many times better than his previous two home performances and even more impressive when you consider that he was returning from a knee injury that sidelined him last week.

Taylor was only sacked twice, once by Wake, and hit five times.

Taylor also ran effectively, gaining 42 yards (including a nine-yard touchdown) on six carries. His play had the most to do with the Bills taking a 21-6 halftime lead.

If anything, the Bills' offensive line had the upper hand for most of the game.

2. Don't let Jay Cutler do another Tom Brady imitation. Check-plus.

The Bills intercepted Cutler three times, including Tre'Davious White's game-sealing pick with 28 seconds left after the Dolphins recovered an onside kick after pulling within eight points.

Cutler threw for 274 yards, but didn't connect for any touchdowns. He didn't look anything like the quarterback who was large and in charge in Miami's Monday Night Football victory against the Patriots in Week 14.

The Bills managed to frustrate him at times with their coverage variations and disguises. They forced him into errant throws beyond the ones he put into the hands of Bills' defenders.

The Bills also did a good job of pressuring Cutler, sacking him three times and hitting him five times.

3. Win what figures to be a highly challenging coaching battle against Adam Gase. Check.

Gase often tried to get the better of the Bills' defense by having his receivers make speed cuts to the inside and catch intermediate throws from Cutler before exploding upfield.

The Bills didn't allow themselves to be scorched by the tactic. They usually had at least two safeties deep enough to make tackles before the catches could do extensive damage.

The Bills' offensive plan also worked well, with the Dolphins' defenders struggling to contain Taylor's passing and running as the Bills took control of the game in the first half.

4. LeSean McCoy must gain far more than the 39 rushing yards he needs to reach 10,000 for his career. Not quite.

McCoy finished with only 50 yards and averaged 2.5 yards per carry, but what he did as a runner and a receiver was effective enough.

He had a four-yard touchdown run to cap the game's opening drive, and also caught a 16-yard TD pass to give the Bills a 14-6 lead late in the first half.

McCoy had 46 of his rushing yards in the first half, but by the time the Dolphins figured out how to shut him down, the Bills had opened a 24-6 lead in the third quarter.

5. Don't let Kenyan Drake do a Jay Ajayi imitation. Check-plus.

The Bills held the standout running back to only 78 yards, a far cry from the 200 yards they twice allowed Ajayi (now with the Philadelphia Eagles) to have with the Dolphins last season.

Drake did average 4.9 yards per carry, and the Dolphins might have made a mistake by not leaning more heavily on his powerful, explosive rushing. However, the Bills opened up a wide enough lead by halftime and into the third quarter to force the Dolphins to rely more on Cutler's throwing.

That, literally, played right into the Bills' hands.

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