Here's the Bills news of note for December 21st.
1 - Manipulating the matchupsEach week every offensive staff works a tireless number of hours to devise play designs to create favorable matchups where their playmakers can win more often than not. Buffalo's offensive game plan last week may have been the best of the season when it came to exploiting Charles Clay in the pass game. It was a long time coming for Clay.
The question now is can the Bills continue to devise personnel advantages to the degree that Clay was exploited last week?
Tyrod Taylor believes they can have similar success in finding advantageous matchups against the Dolphins this week, especially having the benefit of facing Miami once already this season.
"There's definitely a lot to learn from the first game matchup-wise," said Taylor. "They had a couple of shake ups in the secondary, but definitely getting Charles Clay going and our other guys going and winning those individual matchups, comes down to us putting a plan together.
"We've done a good job with our first and second down plan so far and we'll continue to keep building on the third down and red zone. It's our job to get our players in the best situation possible to go out there and be successful. I think we're doing that. We've just got to keep getting better at it."
Knowing the Bills did not have Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods or a healthy LeSean McCoy for the first meeting with the Dolphins, Taylor is confident the offense will be able to deliver more game changing plays.
"Just having those guys back those are big time playmakers," said Taylor. "Guys that make plays. Guys that can create plays and make plays happen. So having those guys back in our lineup definitely makes our team a better team. It's just about us going out there and executing and playing four quarters the way we know how to play."
2 - Watkins: pass game has to produceIt's been a trying season for Sammy Watkins to say the least. To his credit he's been battling through his persistent foot problem since he returned from injured reserve. He knows he's a critical component of the passing game, and to see the team ranking 31st in passing bothers him.
Watkins had just one reception for 10 yards last week against the Browns. He was covered by Joe Haden for much of last week's game and there was safety help rolled over the top for most of the game. So Tyrod Taylor exploited the matchups with Charles Clay and Marquise Goodwin most often.
And as much as he respects what his offense is capable of on the ground, he believes the pass game has to produce more for the offense to reach its full potential.
"I think we can be one of the best passing teams. We've got all the weapons," said Watkins. "We've got to put more effort into passing and running and mixing everything up. We've been doing a good job of it, but we've got to do a better job at passing. I think it takes passing to win games.
"We've been rushing for 320 yards sometimes, but this league is changing. It's a passing league. In order to win those tough games against the Raiders or Kansas City or New England I think you're going to need to pass the ball against those guys."
**3 - No lingering Landry retribution
**In the first meeting between the Bills and Dolphins back in Week 7, Miami WR Jarvis Landry laid a vicious hit to the head of Aaron Williams as he launched his shoulder into Williams' chin on an illegal crack back block sending him to the ground with a neck injury.
Williams was taken to a Miami area hospital as a precaution, knowing the safety's injury history. He had returned in 2016 from offseason neck fusion surgery.
He was able to travel home with the team, but soon after was placed on injured reserve effectively ending another season prematurely for Williams.
Landry was fined more than $24 thousand for the illegal hit, and did apologize.
"I apologized," Landry said. "I just told him to get better. You never want to see that happen to anybody. If I could take that hit back, I would. It's a guy's livelihood."
With the rematch between the two clubs this Saturday, head coach Rex Ryan said there will be no incentive to get any kind of retribution against Landry.
"Obviously it was a big hit. It was an unfortunate thing. I have a lot of respect for that guy as a player. He's a great player, physical, all that. Fact of the matter is that Aaron hasn't been able to return, hope it's not his career or something. Those hits are what we're trying to take out of the game, that's what the league is trying to take out of the game. But for us, we want to win the game. It's not about getting somebody back, we are trying to win a football game."
Buffalo's players, while unhappy with the hit, sound as if they're falling in line with Ryan's thoughts on the matter.
"It's something you don't want to see especially to your players," said Preston Brown. "I'm not going to say it was dirty or not dirty. It's football and stuff happens, but when a guy like that who had neck injuries and now hasn't been around since then, it is something you think about. But it's not like you're trying to get the guy. It is what it is. We'll go out there and play the game."