There's no question that Chad Pennington has had a calming effect on Miami's offense after being cast off by the Jets prior to the start of the 2008 season. Through six games Pennington has been playing his highly efficient brand of quarterbacking, completing over 68 percent of his passes with twice as many touchdown tosses as interceptions and a passer rating that ranks fourth in the AFC (97.4).
In the red zone where Pennington has been very consistent throughout his career, he's led the Dolphins to a touchdown percentage that ranks fifth-best in the league (66.7%).
"He's been operating the offense up and down the field and he has only three interceptions on the season," said Donte Whitner "They don't turn the ball over a lot."
But that hasn't been the case for Chad Pennington when he plays the Bills.
In his career Pennington has 30 more touchdown passes than interceptions (88/58), but against the Bills his numbers favor the turnover side of the ledger. The former Jets' signal caller has a career passer rating of almost 90 (89.6), but against the Bills it's almost 10 points lower.
Pennington has faced the Bills eight times in his career, all with the Jets. The only statistic that holds firm to his career marks is his completion percentage as he's completed 66 percent of his attempts against Buffalo. His career percentage is 65.9.
But his passer rating against the Bills is just over 80 (80.8), and he's thrown six touchdowns against seven interceptions. So what gives?
"I don't know," said Bills defensive end Chris Kelsay. "It's tough to pinpoint one thing. I wasn't aware of those statistics. I feel like there's just something about the division games. I haven't had a lot of sacks like (Aaron) Schobel has, but the sacks I have gotten, the majority of them have come in the division."
Getting consistent pressure has been a key in Buffalo's success against Pennington. In eight games they've sacked him 17 times and forced seven fumbles. Pennington has a total of nine turnovers in eight career games against the Bills, numbers that certainly run counter to his career statistics.
Not surprisingly, those poor numbers translate into a 3-5 career record for Pennington against the Bills. Those figures caught the players in Buffalo's locker room by surprise.
"It's just one of those things that happens," said Terrence McGee who has two career interceptions against Pennington. "Hopefully it can be the same thing where we have a good game because if you watch him on film he's doing a real good job. So hopefully we can get to him and force some turnovers."
But not everyone is convinced that their rate of success against Pennington with the Jets will mean similar results against him with the Dolphins.
"I guess that's a good thing and hopefully that can continue this Sunday, but there is different personnel around him and they are doing different things," said Kelsay.
"It's a totally different offense from what he had up in New York," said Donte Whitner. "Personnel, they're kind of young at the receiver spot, so Chad has been doing a great job, and they rely on their defense. We're going to have to force them into some mistakes and stop the running game once again to set up everything we want to do as a defensive unit."
Either way the Bills will take every advantage they can find, even if it's psychological. No one on Buffalo's roster has time to figure out why they've been so successful against Pennington, but it helps to know they have been when many other teams haven't.
"I don't know why that is," said Kelsay. "But there's no sense in changing it now."