MIAMI -- The NFL is a sport that, by its very nature, invites exaggeration. They play only once a week, so we tend to invest every game with monumental significance. So I'm trying hard not to overreact to what I saw here Sunday afternoon.
But here it goes: The team in blue looked a lot like a playoff team.
One week after being embarrassed by the Patriots, the Bills walked into Sun Life Stadium and turned Miami's home opener into a home invasion, dominating the favored Dolphins in every phase of the game in a 41-14 rout.
There was no tough talk this week, just a quiet excellence. Rex Ryan's team realized it needed to channel its emotions onto the field or risk dropping to 0-2 in the AFC East. They responded with their biggest win here in more than a decade, a complete and convincing performance that left the Dolphins looking like playoff impostors.
The Bills got a typically strong effort from the defense, which humiliated Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and had the home fans booing their team off the field at halftime. Ryan's staff, which was outcoached against New England, bounced back with a terrific game plan on both sides of the ball.
But the most impressive part of this win -- the thing that makes a skeptic believe this Buffalo team might finally break the 15-year playoff drought -- was the sensational play by the offense and quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor was magnificent in his first road start, completing 21 of 29 for 277 yards and three TDs. Taylor, making plays on the move, marched the offense to touchdowns on the first two possessions, giving the Bills a commanding 14-0 lead before the game was nine minutes old. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman put on a clinic.
Bills quarterbacks had thrown a total of five TD passes in the previous nine games in Miami. The Bills produced more than one offensive TD once in those nine outings. Taylor threw two on the first two drives of his first road start, hooking up with tight end Charles Clay for a 25-yard score and LeSean McCoy on a 10-yard TD.
For much of the playoff drought, the Bills have been compromised by mediocre offense and subpar quarterback play. They didn't have the offensive weapons to compete in difficult road games. Too often, the defense would play a fine game, but the offense couldn't keep up its end of the bargain.
That seems to be changing. Yes, it's early. Taylor has played only three games. But the big bucks that Doug Whaley invested in his offense are starting to pay off.
Clay showed why the Bills would invest five years and $38 million in his services -- a deal the Dolphins didn't think was worth matching -- with a spectacular catch and run for his 25-yard TD. He made a nifty move to beat one man and broke another tackle, looking as difficult to knock down as Cassius Clay.
McCoy didn't do much in the run game, but his TD catch was further evidence that he'll be a big factor as a receiver out of the backfield. Percy Harvin, who has quickly developed a chemistry with Taylor, had another fine game in his attempt to show the NFL that he's a better player and teammate than his reputation suggests.
So the Bills are 2-1, which is better than most skeptics anticipated. They have dominated the Colts, who went to the AFC title game last year, and the Dolphins, who were a chic pick to make the playoffs this season.
It's a little early for statement games. But Ryan's arrival spiked expectations for this team. Fans are looking for signs that this year's team is different from past editions. This win says the Bills are more the team we saw in the opener than the one that fell flat against the Pats a week ago.
That team has a legitimate chance to play in the postseason.