The Bills sorely missed Marcell Dareus in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The Bills’ defense has been getting great production out of an undermanned cast this season. It entered the game ranked 12th in yards allowed and fifth in points allowed.
But good scheme can’t carry a defense forever in the NFL. At some point elite talent is what it takes to get some stops.
That’s what the Bills needed against a Miami’s breakout runner, Jay Ajayi. The Bills needed the eight or nine disruptive plays in the backfield Dareus is supposed to be giving them.
This isn’t to take the Bills’ defenders off the hook. The cast on the field should be good enough to keep Ajayi under 150 yards. But it wasn’t. Ajayi gained 214 on 29 carries.
Other rapid reactions:
* The Bills’ Lorenzo Alexander was awesome. He had a sack, three other hurries, a tackle for loss, a bat-down at the line of scrimmage and made two coverage plays on punt returns. Alexander probably took a bad angle on a 14-yard Ajayi run on Miami’s go-ahead TD drive. But it was another darn good day by Alexander.
* I’m still not sold on Ryan Tannehill. He’s a fine short to intermediate passer. But he doesn’t make enough special plays, and he’s an inaccurate deep thrower. In the third quarter, he had Kenny Stills open on a deep ball but underthrew it, allowing Corey Graham to break up the pass. In the fourth quarter, his deep TD pass to Stills was an underthrow. Tannehill did make an excellent pass on a dead run over the middle to Jarvis Landry for 18 yards on a key third down on the go-ahead TD drive. Tannehill isn’t bad. He’s just not exceptional enough.
* Miami was overplaying the Bills’ first down runs most of the game. The Bills finally burned them on the 67-yard bomb to Marquise Goodwin for a TD.
* Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake were outstanding on the defensive line for the Dolphins, and Mario Williams was pretty good. Wake gave Bills tackle Jordan Mills fits. Suh made life hard for John Miller. Williams played 32 snaps, by unofficial count. He dropped into coverage once. He stuffed LeSean McCoy for a 2-yard loss on a play in which McCoy cut back right into Williams. He had a fourth-quarter hurry on Tyrod Taylor. Then he was unblocked on a Wildcat play and tackled Mike Gillislee for a 10-yard loss. It was a bad call against the defense Miami ran.
* You have to feel awful for Aaron Williams, who was injured on the blind-side block by Landry in the first half. Hopefully it’s not another concussion. Landry hit Williams with a shoulder, but he should have gone lower, not at the safety’s head.