Mark Gaughan's Matchup Watch: Quarterbacks on the spot - The Buffalo News

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Mark Gaughan's Matchup Watch: Quarterbacks on the spot

BILLS-DOLPHINS MATCHUPS

Tyrod Taylor vs. Jay Cutler

This is likely Taylor's last regular-season game with the Bills, and it's probably the last game of Cutler's NFL career. Cutler came out of retirement in August to sign a one-year, $10 million deal with the Dolphins after Ryan Tannehill blew out his knee. Cutler is 74-78 in his career as a starter with 227 TDs, 160 interceptions and an 85.3 rating. He will be remembered as a great arm talent who never shed his undisciplined tendencies. He has 14 INTs this year and will be in the top eight in INTs for the sixth time in 12 years. Taylor is 21-20 as a starter with 50 TDs, 18 INTs and a 90.9 career rating. Will he go down as the QB who ended The Drought? Or will he join the long line of didn't-get-it-done Drought QBs?

LeSean McCoy vs. Kiko Alonso

Alonso has been known for making "splash" plays throughout his career. Consistent down-to-down, hard-nosed linebacking? Alonso has not brought it to the Dolphins. He's not physical and he tends to get out of position in running around blocks. Miami's other two starting linebackers, Lawrence Timmons and Chase Allen, are liabilities in coverage, as well. The more the Bills can get McCoy out in space on short passes against Alonso, Timmons and Allen, the better. Pro Football Focus tracks Alonso as having allowed the most receiving yards in coverage (52 a game) of any linebacker in the NFL. For this reason, look for the Bills to use a heavy dose of two-tight-end and fullback sets, which force Miami to keep all three linebackers on the field.

Charles Clay vs. T.J. McDonald

Miami has given up 87 catches to tight ends this season, tied with Cleveland for most in the NFL. Tight ends have caught 944 yards on the Dolphins, fourth most in the NFL. Of course, when you play twice a year against Rob Gronkowski, your tight end numbers are going to be up. But Clay has had three strong games in five meetings with his former team, going for 68, 85 and 82 yards. The expectation is Miami will be geared up to stop McCoy. The Bills will need to loosen up the Dolphins' defense with some first-down passes, as they did in the first meeting. Clay, second on the Bills in receptions, needs seven more catches to hit 50 for a fifth straight season.

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