Xs and Os - The Buffalo News

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Matchup Watch: Dolphins at Bills Jarvis Landry vs. Leonard Johnson It's good that the Bills are getting their slot cornerback back. Johnson missed the Colts game with a sore knee but it didn't matter due to the winter weather. This week the Bills face one of the top slot receivers in the NFL in Landry. He's second in the NFL in catches with 88, and 50 of them have co…

Bills

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase likes to run receiver screens, and he has a dangerous weapon to execute them in Jarvis Landry. It's an extended handoff, and even if it doesn't get big yards, Landry has the elusiveness to turn it into a positive gain. It's often a run-pass option for the quarterback. Miami ran receiver screens for 11 and 14 yards at Buffalo last year.…

Bills

Consider Kenyan Drake's emergence for the Miami Dolphins this month as the umpteenth example of why running backs should not be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Dolphins pulled the plug six weeks ago on Jay Ajayi, trading him to Philadelphia after a disappointing first half to the 2017 season, despite the fact he rushed for 1,272 yards last year. As Bil…

Bills

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is having another great season and will be a handful for the Buffalo Bills' offensive line on Sunday. Suh has the second most sacks (51.5) among all NFL defensive tackles since 2010 and wears down foes with his power, second effort and counter moves as the game wears on.   On this play against Oakland in Week 9, …

Bills

LeSean McCoy showed off remarkable ability to get traction in the snow in Sunday's victory over the Indianapolis Colts. McCoy was able to get outside the numbers for 73 of his 156 yards in the Bills' 13-7 victory. "I think the harder you cut, you plant in the ground, you can get upfield," McCoy said. "When you're slowing down and try to cut, you're liable to slip. ..…

Bills

It was a close call but NFL referee Brad Allen arguably got the key penalty correct at the end of regulation time in Sunday's 13-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were called for offensive pass interference on a two-point conversion play, wiping out a successful pass from Jacoby Brissett to tight end Jack Doyle. Colts receiver Kamar Aiken clearly blocked Bill…

Bills

Deonte Thompson used to chase rabbits through the mucky soil of sugar cane fields when he was a youngster growing up in Belle Glade, Fla. Belle Glade, located due west of West Palm Beach, is sometimes referred to as Muck City. Maybe that experience long ago helped the Buffalo Bills' receiver navigate the ankle-high snow Sunday at New Era Field. Thompson made the c…

Bills

Colton Schmidt vs. Rigoberto Sanchez Both punters were superb. Neither had a shank or a muffed exchange. Schmidt's net average was 38 yards, Sanchez's was 35.6. Schmidt made the clutch punt of the game, kicking from deep in the end zone with the Bills backed up at their own 5 with 2:16 left in the half. He booted a 40-yarder with no return. "That was the hardest kick…

Bills

LeSean McCoy vs. Colts LBs The Colts' defensive line has played well. But the linebacking corps took a big hit this week with the loss of John Simon for the season to a neck injury. Former Browns top pick Barkevious Mingo takes his left outside spot, and he has been productive rushing the passer. But he's not as good against the run. Second-year inside starter Antonio M…

Bills

The Colts lead the league in sacks allowed. They have young inexperience on the offensive line and at skill positions. It will be interesting to see Sunday how much the Bills test the Colts' pass-protection communication with blitzes and stunts by the defensive line. The sacks aren't all the offensive line's fault. This was a sack by Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszn…

Bills

Opponents have bulked up and played more physical with the Buffalo Bills' defense the second half of the season. The Bills think they're managing the problem a little better, but the proof will come in the final four games, starting with Sunday's meeting with the Indianapolis Colts. Over the past five games, opposing offenses have used "running personnel groups" on 1…

Bills

Awful offensive line play and quarterback injuries are the two quickest ways for a football team's season to fall apart. The Indianapolis Colts have endured both in stumbling to a 3-9 record. With franchise QB Andrew Luck out for the year due to shoulder surgery, young Jacoby Brissett is learning on the job. Brissett has a big arm, ideal size and he moves well. Bu…

Bills

Mark Gaughan's Big Play Breakdown: T.Y. Hilton Double-Move Out and Up  Hilton is the Indianapolis Colts' game-breaking receiver, a three-time Pro Bowler. He's second behind only San Francisco's Marquise Goodwin among all starting receivers in yards per catch this season at 19.29. His 58 catches of 25-or-more yards since 2014 are tops in the NFL. Hilton is only 5-…

Bills

Rob Gronkowski put on a clinic Sunday at New Era Field, up until his illegal hit on Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White near the end of the game. No matter how the Bills tried to defend him, the New England tight end proved he was too good to be stopped. Here's breakdown of Gronkowski's nine-catch, 147-yard day: X Gronk beat the blitz three times for 61 yards. One …

Bills

The inability to stretch the field in the passing game has become a recurring nightmare for the Buffalo Bills' offense. The Bills' longest completion in the 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots was just 14 yards. The Bills were 0 for 2 on passes that traveled more than 20 yards past the line of scrimmage against the Patriots. Tyrod Taylor missed deep for Deonte Thom…