There wasn’t much that Josh Allen didn’t excel at in Buffalo’s Week 13 matchup with the Dolphins.
By: Kyle Silagyi
Aside from one or two balls that went awry, his passes were crisp and on target. The rookie tied his career high for completions in a single game, going 18 of 33 for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Allen also made an impact with his legs, rushing for 135 yards on nine attempts.
The 22-year-old was arguably the best player on the field on Sunday, regardless of team. He gave the Bills a legitimate chance to win, which is really all you can ask of a rookie quarterback in his seventh career start.
Allen’s excellence has been recognized by Pro Football Focus, as he’s earned a spot on the outlet’s Week 13 “Team of the Week.”
While PFF writer Gordon McGuinness was impressed with Allen’s arm strength in the loss, it was the rookie’s legs that really made him take notice.
He really impressed as a runner though, picking up seven first downs, forcing two missed tackles, and seeing six of his rushing attempts go for 10+ yards.
Allen earned an overall grade of 90.8 in the contest. He is the first rookie quarterback to appear in an edition of PFF’s “Team of the Week” this season.
Allen wasn’t the only Bill to receive love from PFF last week. Safety Micah Hyde, who intercepted a pass in the loss, also earned a spot on the team of the week.
2 - Frazier: Safeties were uninhibited in Week 13
Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier got a bit creative in Buffalo’s Week 13 matchup with the Dolphins, designing a number of exotic blitzes that centered around his safeties.
Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, and Rafael Bush were often sent after Ryan Tannehill in the loss, and for the most part, they were effective in creating pressure. Poyer finished the game with five tackles and one quarterback hit. Bush, who played on 20 snaps from the ‘big nickel’ position, was able to take Tannehill down in the first quarter, his first full sack of the season.
“Our safeties have been very active for us,” Frazier said when asked about the group’s versatility. “[Sunday], they were uninhibited in what they did. They were doing a lot of things that impacted the game. Just finding ways to make a difference, even with our disguises at times. Just making a quarterback think we’re playing one thing, then we’re playing another post-snap. Our safeties did a really good job of being active and moving around and impacting the game.”
Buffalo’s defensive backfield was solid in coverage, as well, as the team held Miami to just 115 net passing yards. Though Hyde was not able to take Tannehill down on Sunday, he was arguably the team’s most effective safety in coverage, intercepting a pass in the second half.
The Bills’ safeties have combined for five interceptions this season.
Frazier feels as though the group’s ball-hawking nature and innate playmaking ability adds a unique dimension to the defense.
“We’re fortunate to have two veterans like Micah along with Jordan who make a difference,” Frazier said. “Then when you add Rafael like we were able to do [Sunday], it gives you quite a trio when it comes to our safety position along with what Rafael did when we brought him in as our big nickel, as well. It was a good job by those three for sure.”
3 - McDermott still ‘confident’ in Hauschka despite two-miss outing
To say that Stephen Hauschka’s rough Week 13 outing was uncharacteristic would be an understatement.
Typically, the veteran kicker is one of the league’s best. After all, the word “money” is in his nickname. The Buffalo kicker had made 16 consecutive field goals entering Week 13, and three more makes would have allowed him to usurp Rian Lindell as the holder of the franchise’s longest field goal streak.
Unfortunately, Hauschka struggled in the loss. His rough day started early, as he missed an extra point in the second quarter. The miss was his first on an extra point since Week 17 of the 2016 season.
Hauschka’s tough outing would continue, as he missed a 55-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. Prior to watching his kick sail right on Sunday, Hauschka hadn’t missed a field goal since Week 1.
Despite the two-miss outing, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott has not lost confidence in his kicker.
“I’ll start out by saying that I have all the confidence in the world in Hausch,” McDermott said. “You look back at his numbers over the course of the last couple of years, and what he’s done with extra points compared to other kickers out there, and the way he’s performed this season. I don’t question Hausch at all in terms of my confidence in him.”
Hauschka’s Week 13 struggles can perhaps be attributed to yet another change in holder. Punter Matt Darr made his Buffalo debut on Sunday, and he also spotted the ball for Hauschka. Darr is the Bills’ third holder this year. He replaced Colton Schmidt, who replaced the injured Corey Bojorquez earlier this season.
McDermott is confident that Hauschka will return to his near-automatic form once he acquaints himself with Darr.
“That said, he’s had three different punters, three different holders,” McDermott said. “I recognize that, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to get it done, and I’m confident that he will get it done moving forward.”