Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
The Miami Dolphins were blown off the field on Sunday as the Buffalo Bills took it to their AFC East rivals. It was ugly in oh so many ways, with the Dolphins unable to match anything the Bills did and, when Miami did seem to find some momentum, they always seemed to get into their own way. Fumbles, penalties, dropped passes. It happened all over the field on Sunday, and Miami was rightfully dominated in a 35-0 loss.
The loss drops Miami to 1-1 on the year and in a three-way tie atop the AFC East with the Bills and the New England Patriots, who beat the New York Jets (0-2). The Dolphins were in a prime position to make an early season statement, but Buffalo came out swinging and, after an early touchdown, punched Miami in the mouth. The Dolphins managed to land a few jabs of their own in the game, but they were clearly staggered by the early play of Buffalo and should have had a standing-eight count sometime around the half.
Each week during the 2021 season, we will take a look at the Dolphins’ last game through the snaps played by each player. Below you will find charts for the offensive and defensive snap counts, along with the each player’s season total. Finally, some thoughts of each position group close out each side of the ball.
Obviously, the biggest story for the Dolphins – besides the scoreline – was the injury to Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins quarterback appears to have avoided any major issues with his ribs, but he could still miss some playing time as he works back from the injury. Jacoby Brissett, who played the majority of the game on Sunday, would start in Tagovailoa’s place should the second-year passer be unable to play this weekend, while Reid Sinnett would likely be elevated from the practice squad for the game.
Myles Gaskin continues to be the top running back, which really is not a surprise. He played 61 percent of the snaps on Sunday, though he only had nine touches, including just five carries, in the game. Salvon Ahmed established himself as the second running back on the depth chart on Sunday while Malcom Brown saw just nine snaps, with many of those coming at the end of the game as the Dolphins were looking to run clock and stop the bleeding.
Mike Gesicki, who only played 39 percent of the plays in Week 1, jumped up to 64 percent on Sunday. The Dolphins’ offensive line woes could lead to Gesicki seeing fewer snaps in the weeks ahead, however, as the team returns to Durham Smythe seeing additional playing time as a sixth offensive lineman. Smythe played 30 percent of the game in Week 2 after 70 percent in Week 1. Hunter Long was inactive this week as the team saw Adam Shaheen return after missing Week 1 on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Shaheen played 27 percent of the game, while Cethan Carter was just behind him at 22 percent.
DeVante Parker continues to lead the wide receivers, playing 74 percent of the game on Sunday. Rookie Jaylen Waddle appeared in 64 percent of the plays, while Albert Wilson was third with 55 percent of the game played. Preston Williams, who missed Week 1 as he worked his way back from a foot injury last year, was on the field for 30 percent of the game, while Mack Hollins saw 22 percent of the snaps. Jakeem Grant only played seven snaps as an ankle sprain sidelined him. The team still has to fit Will Fuller into the receiving group; Fuller missed Week 1 as the final game of a six-game suspension he received last year and was inactive in Week 2 dealing with a personal matter. He returned to the team on Monday.
The offensive line was a mess on Sunday, with way too many players ripping through unblocked to pressure Tagovailoa and Brissett. Only three of the linemen played all 74 snaps, tackle Austin Jackson, center Michael Deiter, and guard Robert Hunt. Guard Solomon Kindley was in for 91 percent of the snaps, while Robert Jones played nine percent of the game. Tackle Jesse Davis was on the field for 61 percent of the plays, while rookie Liam Eichenberg was on the field for the other 39 percent. Miami could look to mix up the offensive line this week after an abysmal performance against the Bills.
Raekwon Davis on injured reserve led Miami to have a light rotation on the defensive line. Adam Butler and Emmanuel Ogbah played the most snaps, each in the game for 72 percent of the plays. Christian Wilkins was not far behind at 68 percent played and Zach Sieler, who was on the field for 51 percent of the plays. After that, there was a large drop down to John Jenkins with 28 percent of the snaps. The Dolphins need to hope Davis will be available to be activated off injured reserve in a couple of weeks so they can bring down some of these snap counts and give players a little more time to rest. Otherwise, they are going to see big runs and no pass rush late in games as the defensive linemen wear down.
At linebacker, Jerome Baker is seemingly always on the field, missing just two snaps this week. Andrew Van Ginkel was out on the field for 71 percent of the game, while Brandon Scarlett played 31 percent of the snaps and Elandon Roberts and Jaelan Phillips each played 28 percent of the game. Sam Eguavoen was only on the field for 12 percent of the contest, while Duke Riley made a brief appearance, showing up for three percent of the snaps. Phillips seeing more playing time over the next few weeks could help create more of a pass rush for the Dolphins.
Xavien Howard and Byron Jones both played nearly ever snap, missing three for a 95 percent mark on the game. Justin Coleman jumped from just two defensive snaps in Week 1 to 49, or 75 percent of the available plays, in Week 2. Going the other way, Nik Needham played 47 percent of the game in Week 1, then only three percent in Week 2. The Dolphins have a great top duo at the position but are clearly still trying to find the right third player, depending on matchups and practice performance. Jamal Perry, elevated from the practice squad for the game, only appeared on special teams, while Noah Igbinoghene continues to be inactive for the game.
Jason McCourty played 89 percent of the game for Miami at safety, while Jevon Holland jumped from 32 percent of the playing time in Week 1 to 77 percent in Week 2. Eric Rowe saw his snaps drop from 87 percent in Week 1 to 40 percent in Week 2, below Brandon Jones, who went from 11 snaps in Week 1 to 41 snaps, 63 percent, in Week 2.