The Dolphins fall to the Bills 22-16 in the season finale at Hard Rock Stadium.
1. Tight End Takeover - The Buffalo Bills offense utilized the match-up of tight ends Charles Clay and Nick O’Leary against the Dolphins linebacking core. Clay and O’Leary combined for 66 receiving yards and a touchdown in the first quarter alone, and it could have been worse when Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor missed an open O’Leary in the end zone early in the second half. O’Leary caught the Dolphins secondary napping in the first quarter when he caught a wide open 26 yard pass from Taylor for a touchdown on the Bills opening series. This has been a reoccurring problem for the Miami defense, not only against the Bills, but throughout the season. Too many easy throws with room to run after the catch is something the Dolphins defense must improve on in 2018.
2. Fales Gets A Look - Dolphins back-up quarterback David Fales took over the Miami offense after the opening possession of the game replacing starter Jay Cutler. The third-year quarterback was able to spread the football around to multiple receivers, and in spots looked capable of handling the reserve role in the future, if that’s the job he auditioned for against the Bills. This is a position that will get clarity in the off-season when Ryan Tannehill’s health status is determined, and the status of Cutler and Matt Moore is settled. At least it appears to me that Fales would have an opportunity to compete for the reserve role with Miami next year because of his youth, and knowledge of this system.
3. Drake’s Future Bright/Penalties Continue - Running back Kenyan Drake continues to provide the Miami offense with consistent running and has had at least one run of more thabn 30 yards in each game that he has started since the departure of Jay Ajayi. His vision, quickness and toughness has been on constant display and it’s something that this Dolphins offense can build upon in the future. Also, his ability to play on all three downs give Drake the touches in the passing game that he’ll need to off set the between the tackle runs in a sixteen game schedule. As a team, the Dolphins must become more accountable and disciplined when it comes to mental and physical mistakes causing penalties. Holding calls and special teams blocks in the back happen, but the rate of these penalties, especially the pre-snap errors must be curtailed.