by Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
The Dolphins and the Bills both had their opportunities in Week 9 to make moves in the AFC East. The Texans took command and gave the Bills no chance for a second half comeback. Miami was in it to the end, but couldn't pull it out.
Here are five things we learned:
1. Just like old times. (Colts 23 - Dolphins 20)
It must be like a reoccurring nightmare for Miami rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He must have thought the close, three-point losses were over. But alas, that is exactly what happened again to him and the Dolphins.
Tannehill went up against fellow rookie quarterback and number one overall pick Andrew Luck. Luck decided to break the rookie quarterback single game record for yardage with 433 yards passing today at the expense of Tannehill. Miami's 27th ranked running game on our Offensive Hog Index did not help Tannehill today.
The Dolphins only rushed for 84 yards as a team. And it didn't come through when they needed to stretch the game out and keep a hot Luck off the field.
Ryan Tannehill played a good game, particularly for coming off of an injury. Tannehill completed 22 of 38 passes for 290 yards and a touchdown. But the three point difference is what counts at the end of the day.
2. Even beatings are big in Texas. (Texans 21 - Bills 9)
The Bills made a game of it for a half, but the big Texans three proved too much to be reckoned with. Matt Shaub, Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster were on top of their games in Week 9.
Shaub threw for 268 yards and a touchdown. Johnson caught eight passes for 118 yards with an average of 14.8 YPC. Foster ran 24 times for 111 and one touchdown. The Texans were the epitome of offensive balance.
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick put in a good effort. He completed 25 of 38 passes for 239 yards. Although he didn't throw any touchdowns, he also didn't throw any interceptions. If you've watched Fitzpatrick this year, then you know that was a personal victory for him.
Like Tannehill, Fitzpatrick received virtually no help from his running game. As a team the Bills ran for only 78 yards. Running backs C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson ran for only 39 and 21 yards respectively. The Bills came in ranked number four on our Offensive Hog Index. That number will be going south for the winter without question.
Houston's number three ranked Defensive Hog run defense nullified the Buffalo run game all day. Houston is also number three in our Defensive Passer Rating as well. That makes Fitzpatrick's error free day even more amazing. It also makes the final score less amazing.
3. At least Mario was happy in Houston.
Bills high priced-free agent-defensive end (that's a long title) Mario Williams made news this week saying that he never wanted to leave Houston. This of course would lead one to conclude that he didn't want to go to Buffalo. Well, Williams must have felt like a pig in slop as he returned to his original NFL home.
The Houston crowd must have been wondering what all the hub-bub was about. Williams easily had his best game of the year, and the best game as a Buffalo Bill. An interesting coincidence that it happened in front of his old team.
Perhaps the smell of BBQ in the air gets his motor running? The only thing to smell in Buffalo is antifreeze from all of those cold car engines. While Bills fans might appreciate his effort on the day, it may become a negative if he goes back to his pedestrian play once he leaves the bosom of big Texas.
4. Bush needs to be better.
Dolphins running back Reggie Bush is supposed to have recovered from his injuries. He was determined to prove he was an every down back. He was supposed to show why he was supposed to be taken number one in the 2006 NFL draft.
So far he hasn't shown that. The question is why. Bush has had one outstanding game so far this year. That was against the Raiders in Week 2.
In that game he rushed 26 times for 172 yards and two touchdowns. The thing is, that was the only game that he ran for over 100 yards and the only game where he had multiple touchdowns. It was also the only game where he had 20 or more attempts.
Bush simply has not been getting the ball enough. Yes, its good to keep Bush fresh by inserting backups Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, but at what cost? At the very least the Dolphins should look at the stats above and try to see if that 172 yard game was a fluke.
With a running game near the bottom of the league, they need to try something before their opportunity in this weak AFC East floats away.
5. Now that the smoke has cleared . . .
. . . If Mario Williams was smart, he would tape a Texas cow patty to his face mask so he can keep playing up to expectations before he gets shuffled out of Buffalo.
. . . Miami still hasn't won four in a row since 2008.
. . . The Bills get to welcome the Patriots back after their bye-week. It just gets better and better for Buffalo.