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Bills Today: Taylor was terrific last time vs. Dolphins

Posted Dec 17, 2017

Here's the Bills news of note for Dec. 17th.


1 - Taylor was terrific last time versus Dolphins
After missing Week 14 with a knee injury, quarterback Tyrod Taylor is set to return as the starter in Week 15. Taylor’s return could be timely, as he delivered a huge performance in his last game against the Dolphins.

“I recall seeing him run around a lot and make a lot of plays,” Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said. “He was very frustrating for us, I know that.”

It was Week 16 of the 2016 season when Taylor had his stellar outing. He completed 26-of-39 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Buffalo’s signal-caller didn’t surrender a single interception and tallied a passer rating of 118.4

Taylor’s 329 passing yards is a career-high for the seven-year veteran. Also, his three touchdown passes are a career-high. He’s tossed a trio of TDs six different times, with the most recent coming against Miami.

“I feel like he plays well against us,” said Gase. “We’ve got to do a good job of not letting him do what he did last time.”

To add to Taylor’s strong performance, LeSean McCoy also got it going in the ground game. He racked up 24 rushes for 128 yards and one touchdown.

With the Bills, Taylor has taken on the Dolphins four times. In those games, he’s totaled eight touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a passer rating of 122.5.

“Every time we felt like we were about to make a move in that game, he would do something and Shady [McCoy] would do something. It’s a tough combination to deal with,” said Gase. “Both of those guys are so athletic and can hurt you in so many different ways. That’s what makes it tough to go against them.” 

2 - Bills defense has to deny Drake
Miami comes to Buffalo riding a two-game winning streak. During that span, they’ve received strong contributions from their running back, Kenyan Drake.

The past two weeks have been close to perfect for Drake. In Week 13, he had 23 carries for 120 yards and one touchdown. He also added three receptions for 21 yards in their win over the Broncos.

In Week 14, he notched 25 carries for 114 yards. He also was Miami’s leading receiver in their win over New England, tallying five receptions for 79 yards.

“He’s a dual threat. He’s made the most of his opportunities so far since [Jay] Ajayi left and then the other runner [got hurt],” said head coach Sean McDermott. “He runs hard, seems to understand the game plan. He’s a threat both in the running and passing games, and a threat on third down.”

Drake’s handled a heavier workload exceptionally well. Prior to being named the starter, he had much less carries but still made an impact. In Week 16 last season against the Bills, he only had four carries but rushed for 56 yards and one touchdown. Buffalo’s defense can’t allow that on Sunday, as Drake should carry the ball around 20 times.

“It makes more sense now why they traded Ajayi away. They have a backup in Drake who’s been running the ball really well and that’s what we have to face first,” said Lorenzo Alexander. “We’ll have to come out first quarter and all the way through the last and really make sure we keep him at bay and not let him get in the open. He’s very explosive as a runner.” 

3 - Pluses to playing Dolphins late
The Bills will take on the Dolphins twice in the next three Sundays. With Buffalo’s playoff hopes in reach, the stretch of divisional games could be beneficial.

“It makes for exciting football down the stretch,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “So much is decided with what happens in your division.”

This scenario shouldn’t be too unfamiliar for McDermott. In 2015 with Carolina, his team took on the division rival Atlanta Falcons in Weeks 14 and 16.

“I had the same experience a few years ago I think with Atlanta when I was in Carolina,” said McDermott. “We played them two years ago in almost the same window of time. It seemed rather short like this one, in terms of the turn around.”

Bills player have found other benefits to playing the Dolphins late in the season. In Miami’s win on Monday, they revealed a four-wide receiver set that had a lot of success.

“It’s key that they used that against the Patriots and not us. Before this week they hadn’t really shown too much of the four-wide receiver sets,” Lorenzo Alexander said. “Obviously it’s going to be something they build off of. It just allows us to get a week of seeing it, and knowing it’s something they’ll go to because it worked last week.”

With it being Week 15, most of the tape is out there on each team to this point. The Bills used that to their advantage throughout the week and hopefully it will boost the team to 8-6 on the season.

“I would say, like you said, there’s a lot of tape out there. As far as watching them and trying to get tendencies. Of course this is a team that we’ve played but a new defensive coordinator, but a bunch of the same players,” said Tyrod Taylor. “There’s a bunch of film out there for us to study this week and prepare the best we can to go out there and execute a game-plan that coach puts together on Sunday.”

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