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Joe B: Buffalo Bills All-22 Review - Week 13 vs. Miami Dolphins

Posted: 3:27 PM, Dec 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-04 20:27:31Z

One week ago, rookie quarterback Josh Allen, with a performance that oozed potential, helped the Buffalo Bills to a victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. This time around, Allen one-upped himself even though the Bills fell short to the Miami Dolphins 21-17

Up next, the Bills return home for the first of two straight games at home, this time against the New York Jets. Before that happens, first is an in-depth look at the individual performances from the Week 13 loss to the Dolphins, which dropped the Bills' record to 4-8 on the 2018 season. 

Each week, WKBW.com will review the film, and bring you how each player graded out in the previous week, with the help of the Game Pass app on NFL.com. You can see a full explanation of how the grades get calculated at the bottom of the article.

Before we get to the individual grades, first some takeaways from the game to help fill in some of the gaps between the grades that you'll see:

1) Josh Allen's breakout game
- In Josh Allen's Week 12 performance against the Jaguars he delivered highlight reel throws, though with only completing eight total passes, it left the window open to the "Yeah, but..." police. Those folks can take the week off after Allen's performance against the Miami Dolphins. If you've been reading me a while, you'll know that I'm in no way hyperbolic, and what I'm about to write next is not just on a whim and to look for clicks. That isn't my style. Josh Allen, without question, was the best player on the field for either team in Miami. By rookie standards, his performance was phenomenal. By the standards of a veteran NFL player, Allen's performance was still terrific, as he almost single-handedly willed his team to a victory on the road. Regarding standing tall in the pocket, Allen did just that. Except for two or three plays, Allen hung in the pocket with his eyes down the field until it was the point of no return with a rusher in his face. From there, he escaped the pocket and looked for a downfield target, threw the ball away, or he saw space in the second level and took advantage with one of his many big runs. When Allen did have time in the pocket, he was calm, scanned for his target, and delivered tight window throws all game long. Of course, a few of his passes weren't on the money -- but he was putting his receiver in a position for success far more often than not. On a more subtle note, Allen was much improved with his short throws, exhibiting pronounced footwork that he worked on in practice last week to not make the same mistake he did against the Jaguars when he threw the ball in the dirt. It was especially important on the two-point conversion when Allen hit Jones right in the hands and in stride for him to pick his spot of how to wiggle into the end zone. Allen was pushing the ball down the field, but he wasn't reckless. He was staying within the offense, while still keeping the defense guessing. Allen would probably want to have his interception back, but Kelvin Benjamin ran just about as terrible a route as you'll find on that play, too. When you add in the running element in addition to his passing prowess from the Dolphins game, it makes Allen into a coaches nightmare as to how to defend him. That is, of course, if Allen is "on" in the passing attack, which he needs to show he can do on a consistent basis now. There are still some things he needs to work on -- consistent accuracy, recognizing blitzes pre-snap, sliding a tad earlier than he is during runs. However, through it all -- and even the plays he'd want back -- this performance from Allen was his best of the year by a country mile. The mark of a good quarterback is a player that can help raise the level of play around him -- even when the talent isn't there. Allen did just that in Miami and delivered a performance that should have Bills fans incredibly excited about his potential. It's a long road to becoming what the Bills think he could, but this was an incredible performance by Josh Allen -- no matter if it came in a loss.

2) The offensive line was unequivocally horrific
- What made Allen's performance even more remarkable was that the offensive line in front of him had about as bad of a day as you'll see any offensive line have this year. Except for left tackle Dion Dawkins playing at an average level -- who still had a couple of beats to his name -- the rest of the Bills offensive line was an extreme liability in every phase. Left guard Wyatt Teller has had two solid showings to open up his starting career, but the game against Miami was his first "rookie game," where the defensive line took advantage of him. I'm less concerned about him because he's shown the ability to do the job well enough in his first two starts. However, as for the other three, I'm not as optimistic. Right tackle Jordan Mills found himself on the ground far too often in his attempts to block Cameron Wake all game. Center Ryan Groy, playing for the injured Russell Bodine, continued the same type of play that brought on his benching after just two games to start the 2018 season. And right guard Jeremiah Sirles, who was starting in place of the injured John Miller, garnered one of the only 'F' grades I've ever given out. On average, he was the liability of a play once every six plays. Sirles is a veteran player, but if Miller is still injured, I don't see any harm in the Bills choosing to go with undrafted rookie guard Ike Boettger against the New York Jets. And then at right tackle, I think it's about time to start giving Conor McDermott some actual game reps with only four games to go. If you're concerned about starting two young players in front of Allen, don't be. It really can't get any worse in front of him than it was against Miami.

3) Tre'Davious White has his first clunker of 2018
- In 2018, the sophomore season for cornerback Tre'Davious White has been a superb one. White has been atop the season-long rankings all year long, routinely providing a large shadow cast over the receivers that he covers. However, against Miami, White was extremely fortunate that he did not get saddled with a huge reception against him that was right there for the taking by Miami. On three separate occasions, White lost his way in coverage on routes that you don't expect from him. He took one too many steps a couple of times, got fooled by the route a bit, and it ended up leaving his many open. On two of those, it resulted in a reception with some room to roam for the receiver. On the one that didn't result in a reception for the Dolphins, White bit hard on a double move and then saw his man run deep down the right sideline as he tried desperately to catch him -- but to no avail. What ended up happening on that play? Micah Hyde's interception, of course. Had Ryan Tannehill not stared down his intended target, Hyde wouldn't have been triggered to book over to the deep left middle, and White likely would have surrendered a deep touchdown. Playing at a Pro Bowl level for much of the year, White has done a great job of not allowing those big plays to get him as they did a few times through his rookie season. With how he's played, I'd expect this type of performance was merely an anomaly for the young cornerback.

4) Safety play bailed out Bills frequently
- If it weren't for the starting duo of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, I don't know that the Bills would have been just a half-a-yard from winning as they were. Hyde's interception one play after Allen threw his interception was undoubtedly a big part of it, but both players were tireless in their pursuit of the run and their educated guesses of where to be on the field in coverage paid off on some big play attempts by the Dolphins. On Miami's final touchdown, Poyer was a mistimed jump away from having a perfect game for the Bills -- and on film, it looked as though he had a pretty good chance to at least knock down the pass. It was a terrific throw from Tannehill, so you have to give credit when due, but Poyer sniffed out the play and did everything except to time the jump correctly to try and break up the play. The linebackers and cornerbacks didn't have their best game which put a lot of pressure on Hyde and Poyer to perform at a high level at the risk of things getting away from the Bills, but they did just that. And along the way, they had their best collective game as a duo of the 2018 season -- and a bit of a throwback to the 2017 season when the Bills had to rely on them a lot more than they have to this year.

5) Shaq Lawson making his case to keep the starting job
- While we don't know exactly how much the injury is holding back defensive end Trent Murphy, the one thing we do know is that third-year player Shaq Lawson is having a great season -- and his best by a lot. While Murphy has played at a slightly above average level in his time on the field, Lawson has easily outperformed him and has been the superior player against the run. Both players could stand to get better in their pursuit of the quarterback, but each has had their moments through the season. Lawson has started the last two games as Murphy has been working back in slowly, but if Lawson continues the consistency he has exhibited, I would not be surprised in the slightest to see him be the full-time starter and Murphy as more of the rotational player -- flipping their defined roles coming into the season. After all, you have to go with the hot hand -- and that's been Lawson for most of the season. Furthermore, considering the draft status of Lawson from just a few years ago, the first-round pick is putting the Bills in a somewhat difficult position for the upcoming offseason. They have to decide if Lawson is worth the fifth-year option. While it would guarantee another two years with the defensive end, it would also bump up his salary considerably and take up much more cap space. The Bills have been pleasantly surprised by Lawson, but for a player that wasn't drafted by any part of this regime, is he a part of the long-term plan now? We'll get some clarity on that in a few months.

Without further ado, the individual grades:

1) QB Josh Allen
Snaps on the Field: 72/72
Grade vs. Dolphins:  A-

2) S Jordan Poyer
Snaps on the Field: 55/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: A-

3) S Micah Hyde
Snaps on the Field: 55/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B+

4) DE Jerry Hughes
Snaps on the Field: 37/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B+

5) WR Zay Jones
Snaps on the Field: 66/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: B+

6) MLB Tremaine Edmunds
Snaps on the Field: 54/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

7) DT Harrison Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 19/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

8) WR Robert Foster
Snaps on the Field: 35/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

9) DE Shaq Lawson
Snaps on the Field: 33/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

10) RB LeSean McCoy
Snaps on the Field: 54/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

11) DT Jordan Phillips
Snaps on the Field: 18/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B

12) DT Star Lotulelei
Snaps on the Field: 27/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

13) DE Trent Murphy
Snaps on the Field: 20/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

14) WR Isaiah McKenzie
Snaps on the Field: 35/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

15) WR Deonte Thompson
Snaps on the Field: 25/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

16) S Rafael Bush
Snaps on the Field: 20/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

17) DT Kyle Williams
Snaps on the Field: 37/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

18) CB Levi Wallace
Snaps on the Field: 55/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

19) SLB Lorenzo Alexander
Snaps on the Field: 24/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

20) LT Dion Dawkins
Snaps on the Field: 72/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

21) CB Taron Johnson
Snaps on the Field: 30/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: B-

22) CB Tre'Davious White
Snaps on the Field: 55/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: C+

23) TE Charles Clay
Snaps on the Field: 45/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: C

24) TE Jason Croom
Snaps on the Field: 25/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: C

25) WLB Matt Milano
Snaps on the Field: 55/55
Grade vs. Dolphins: C

26) WR Kelvin Benjamin
Snaps on the Field: 43/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: C-

27) C Ryan Groy
Snaps on the Field: 69/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: D+

28) RT Jordan Mills
Snaps on the Field: 72/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: D

29) LG Wyatt Teller
Snaps on the Field: 72/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: D

30) RG Jeremiah Sirles
Snaps on the Field: 66/72
Grade vs. Dolphins: F

Players with less than 15 snaps:
RB Chris Ivory (12)
FB Patrick DiMarco (10)
DE Eddie Yarbrough (10)
G Ike Boettger (8)
RB Marcus Murphy (6)
C Russell Bodine (3)
WR Andre Holmes (2)
MLB Julian Stanford (1)

Active players without an offensive or defensive snap: 
QB Matt Barkley
WLB Corey Thompson
SLB Deon Lacey
CB Lafayette Pitts
S Siran Neal

Inactives: 
*(Total games inactive in 2018)
T Conor McDermott (11)
QB Derek Anderson (5)
CB Ryan Lewis (5)
WR Ray-Ray McCloud (5)
TE Logan Thomas (3)
G Vladimir Ducasse (2)
G John Miller (1)

Season-long grades:
*(Minimum 180 snaps)

1) CB Tre'Davious White - 3.31 (1)
2) DE Jerry Hughes - 3.23 (2)
3) SLB Lorenzo Alexander - 3.17 (3)
4) DE Shaq Lawson - 3.15 (4)
5) NCB Taron Johnson - 3.04 (5)
6) WLB Matt Milano - 2.97 (6)
7) S Micah Hyde - 2.95 (7)
8) DT Harrison Phillips - 2.92 (8)
9) WR Robert Foster - 2.91 (NR)
10) S Jordan Poyer - 2.88 (11)
11) RB Chris Ivory - 2.88 (9)
12) DT Star Lotulelei - 2.84 (10)
13) WR Zay Jones - 2.81 (12)
14) RB LeSean McCoy - 2.78 (14)
15) MLB Tremaine Edmunds - 2.75 (16)
16) DT Kyle Williams - 2.75 (13)
17) DE Trent Murphy - 2.74 (15)
18) DT Jordan Phillips - 2.72 (NR)
19) DE Eddie Yarbrough - 2.71 (17)
20) WR Andre Holmes - 2.61 (18)
21) S Rafael Bush - 2.55 (19)
22) LT Dion Dawkins - 2.54 (20)
23) QB Josh Allen - 2.44 (29)
24) TE Jason Croom - 2.44 (21)
25) TE Charles Clay - 2.45 (22)
26) G Vladimir Ducasse - 2.42 (23)
27) TE Logan Thomas - 2.42 (24)
28) RG John Miller - 2.39 (25)
29) WR Kelvin Benjamin - 2.27 (27)
30) CB Phillip Gaines - 2.22 (28)
31) RT Jordan Mills - 2.21 (26)
32) LG Wyatt Teller - 2.12 (NR)
33) C Russell Bodine - 1.90 (31)
34) C Ryan Groy - 1.81 (30)
(Last week's rank in parentheses)

How the grades work:

Every Tuesday, when the All-22 film becomes available, we’ll go through and watch each play and every player on each play as many times as necessary, to assess a letter grade for that game to the player. It is a subjective analysis, and it’s important to note that we do not know the play calls and full responsibilities. With that written, the grades stem from technique, outstanding efforts, and presumed liability.

The study accounts only for players that take a snap on offense or defense, and players with under 15 snaps -- unless they have a significant impact on the game -- will not factor into weekly rankings. 

Season-long grades have been tallied and documented, with an individual game’s grade weighted for how much the player was on the field in a given week. Those will be available starting in Week Two.

Previous Weeks:
Week 1 - Ravens 47, Bills 3
Week 2 - Chargers 31, Bills 20
Week 3 - Bills 27, Vikings 6
Week 4 - Packers 22, Bills 0
Week 5 - Bills 13, Titans 12
Week 6 - Texans 20, Bills 13
Week 7 - Colts 37, Bills 5
Week 8 - Patriots 25, Bills 6
Week 9 - Bears 41, Bills 9
Week 10 - Bills 41, Jets 10
Week 12 - Bills 24, Jaguars 21
Week 13 - Dolphins 21, Bills 17

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

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