Monday, September 13, 2010

Quick Hits: Dolphins-Bills Game Notes

September 13, 2010

Add a dirty, hard-fought "W" to the win column for the Miami Dolphins. In a raucous Ralph Wilson Stadium, the Dolphins earned their first week one victory in six seasons. Despite a lackluster preseason, Miami performed nicely in areas they received much criticism from fans and analysts. Statistics can only do so much justice to Miami's effort in Buffalo Sunday afternoon. Thus, here are a few key points to recap their season-opening win:

Nolan's Defensive Innovations Pay Off
  • In his first regular season game as Dolphins Defensive Coordinator, Mike Nolan crafted dynamic sets that kept the Bills in check all game long.
  • Miami's defense was essential to their success on Sunday - holding Buffalo to 10 points - as they drew two sacks, plenty of deflections and multiple forced passes on Trent Edwards. 
  • Buffalo's offense gained nine first downs all game, converted on 21% of third downs and only produced 166 yards of total offense.
  • Despite having various new faces on defense (seven new starters to be exact), Nolan made due with the available roster and placed the defense in a position to succeed. 
Secondary Impresses and Improves
  • The secondary was Miami's Achilles Heel last season, but Sunday revealed a more confident group on the field - only allowing one pass TD from Bills.
  • Two new defensive back starters, Jason Allen and Chris Clemons, did a fine job of replacing their predecessors, delivering six tackles and four tackles respectively.
  • Benny Sapp and Allen were both fingertips away from "pick sixes," but they each dropped potential interceptions. 
Spoiled Debut for Explosive Spiller
  • C.J. Spiller made his NFL debut Sunday afternoon only to face Miami's run-stuffing frontline in his first taste of the football season (seven rushes for six yards).
  • Miami's defense did not give Spiller room to breathe as they tackled him in the backfield for losses in three of his seven carries.
  • Prior to week one, Spiller had dazzled spectators during the preseason with 26 carries for 122 yards and three TDs in the four-game stretch. 
Henne Goes Scoreless, but Manages Game 
  • Chad Henne went 21-34 and threw for 182 yards with no TD passes and no interceptions.
  • His 61.8 completion percentage was over par compared to his average last season (60.8) and exhibited his solid accuracy as a young QB.
  • An under thrown pass to a wide-open Brandon Marshall in the second quarter was a low-point in the game, but proved that a deep threat is real.
Other Interesting Notes
  • Lousaka Polite had two receptions and was targeted for three passes. Polite had only 11 receptions all of last season, but may become a more common target in the passing game this season.
  • Jared Odrick suffered a deep bone bruise in his leg during the third quarter and will be evaluated upon arrival to South Florida. 
  • Miami's defensive frontline deflected more passes than the secondary (four compared to three), which attests to the effective pressure they applied to Edwards.

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