MATCHUP WINNERS: Bills vs. Dolphins
Tyrod Taylor vs. David Fales
Taylor forever will be remembered as the quarterback who helped end The Drought. And he will be remembered as a Miami killer. In six Bills games against the Dolphins, Taylor is 4-2. He has averaged 65 percent completions and 239 yards a game passing with 10 TD passes and no interceptions. He has added 228 rushing yards and two rushing TDs. (Taylor's passing average for all games is 201 yards a game).
Since the Bills took control early, they played a ball-control game and didn't ask Taylor to do a lot. The Bills caught a break by the fact Miami played Fales, the fourth-year journeyman who was a sixth-round draft pick in 2014. However, one might argue Fales was safer with the ball than veteran Jay Cutler, who is a turnover machine. Fales threw a pick in the final minute but passed for 265 yards.
Jarvis Landry vs. Leonard Johnson
Miami's top receiver entered the final week of the season leading the NFL in catches with 103. Landry caught nine balls for 92 yards and one touchdown on the Bills. He ended with an NFL-best 112 receptions.
Landry did most of his work from the slot, as he did all season. Johnson, the Bills' slot cornerback, covered Landry some of the time. But most of the game, the Bills were sitting back in zone coverages, making sure Miami had to bleed a lot of game clock if it was going to drive to scores. It's tough to stop underneath crossing routes sitting back in a soft zone, and that's how Landry did his damage. Landry is known as an emotional player, and it showed after he scored on a 1-yard shovel pass. He wound up getting into a fight and being ejected. Landry will be a free agent in March.
Zach Sterup vs. Jerry Hughes
The Bills caught a slight break because of the fact Miami's left tackle, Laremy Tunsil, sat out the game with an ankle injury. Tunsil, a talented athlete who has been inconsistent this year, wasn't able to practice all week. Starting in his place was Sterup, a 6-foot-9, 318-pounder.
Sterup entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Nebraska in 2016. The Dolphins signed him off Cleveland's practice squad on Nov. 8, which means he could not make the 53-man roster for the worst team in the NFL. Sunday was his first career start, and his presence likely was a big reason Miami stuck to a lot of quick throws. Hughes gave him problems, and Sterup gave up a near-sack on a twist stunt by Kyle Williams. That play was a key, fourth-down stop in Buffalo territory in the third quarter. Hughes had at least three hurries.