The Bills defensive line had a tough time putting pressure on Tom Brady last week. That's due primarily to the fact that Brady gets the ball out consistently in less than 2.5 seconds. That makes it virtually impossible for any defender to provide pressure, especially when engaged with a pass protector. The success New England had has Buffalo's defense convinced they'll see more of that approach beginning this Sunday in Miami.
"With the success that New England had our up front guys, the talent that we have up there, that is one of the things that we have to expect and prepare for," said LB Manny Lawson. "As far as the linebackers and the DBs are concerned we have to cover a little bit longer and little bit harder and stay closer to our man."
New England's passing game is a well-oiled machine that's difficult to stop once it gets rolling. Miami and quarterback Ryan Tannehill aspire to be as efficient. In fact the Dolphins approach in their second meeting with the Bills last season was to get the ball out quick for short gains and hope the run game could be effective enough as a complement to pull out a win.
Buffalo's pass rush did get five sacks, but Tannehill completed better than 76 percent of his passes and threw for 242 yards with a pair of touchdowns in a 22-9 Dolphins victory, their first in four games over the Bills. The Miami running game rolled up 125 yards thanks in part to a Buffalo offense that managed just 237 total net yards.
The Bills offense figures to have more production in light of all their offseason additions and encouraging play of QB Tyrod Taylor. Through the first two games Taylor ranks eighth in the league in passer rating (103.9) just ahead of Miami's Tannehill (101.7) and is completing more than 75 percent of his passes.
With more sacks over the last two seasons than any other defensive front in football (111), Buffalo's defensive linemen know they'll continue to see a lot of quick game. Marcell Dareus is relying on a revamped plan for Miami in comparison to New England.
"Everybody isn't Brady for sure, and at the same time it's a different game plan," said Dareus. "We're getting prepared for it now. There are a lot of tricky things and a lot of misdirection, but we're going to be prepared, we're going to line up and do the best we can."
Potentially working in Buffalo's favor is the hamstring injury suffered by Dolphins starting left tackle Branden Albert last week at Jacksonville. He did not practice Wednesday and would be a significant loss for Miami's pass protection, which would put Jerry Hughes what looks like a favorable matchup with backup LT Jason Fox.
Even more important than the pass rush however, is how the back seven execute their coverage assignments.
"Really it's about trying to get him to hold the ball," said Lawson. "Man up and probably do a lot more man coverage and matching up with the guys quicker in zones so the quarterback has to at least pump and hold onto the ball for an extra count to allow our front to get there."
Head coach Rex Ryan doesn't sound the least bit concerned. He even joked about how to counter the quick passing game approach by Buffalo's future opponents.
"I think we're going to get a lot of that stuff and gosh I don't know if we'll have answer," Ryan said sarcastically. "I know historically where I've been. Let's see if we'll have this conversation at the end of the year. I know the conversation we'll have at the end of the year and it'll be far different than it is now. So I'm confident of that and I believe it'll start this week."