Monday Morning Breakdown

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Eric Wood | 5 observations on the 5-1 Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen celebrates a two-point conversion by throwing the ball into the stands during Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins, October 20, 2019 at New Era Field. Photo by Bill Wippert
Josh Allen celebrates a two-point conversion by throwing the ball into the stands during Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins, October 20, 2019 at New Era Field. Photo by Bill Wippert

1. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's creative play-calling is fun to watch

I think all year offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has been very consistent in the offense he dials up in that it's creative, but it's also simple. There are straight ahead runs up the middle and some simple outside zones, which have been successful. The team has been great with the jet sweep motions. Against Miami, they ran a fake reverse motion with Isaiah McKenzie and then got him out with the swing pass. It's basically an extended hand-off, which is great for a young quarterback like Josh Allen. It's a successful throw for the quarterback and it gets your playmakers out in space. This type of creativity is why I love watching this offense take the field.

Daboll did a great job on orchestrating the 98-yard touchdown drive on Sunday. To start the drive there were two runs up the middle. Then, you saw a screen pass and a play-action pass to John Brown. There were a number of different quarterback sweeps and we saw one on the two-point conversion as well. Better yet, Allen completed all of his passes on that touchdown drive. The multiplicity of this scheme makes it very fun to watch.

I think there's always a constant balance of doing what you're good at and constantly evolving as well so you're not showing defenses the same thing each week. They have done a spectacular job of doing just that. Each week presents you different mismatches and weaknesses in different spots, you obviously want to attack those. It would be easy to say that in the last game the Dolphins secondary was the weakness and probably the same for the Eagles this week, so there will be a lot of emphasis on the passing game this week.

2. Jerry Hughes' preparation pays off

It didn't surprise me one bit that Jerry Hughes was the one to pick up the forced fumble late in Sunday's win because he is constantly flying around the football field. When you see him prepare on a day-to-day basis, he is one of the first people in the building, he's always working out and doing something at all times to improve his craft. He works so hard and it's easy to see how it carries over to the field because he's always around the football or the quarterback. Players like that get rewarded when a fumble pops loose because they are the ones around the ball.

It's not shocking to me to see the level that he continuously plays at because of his work ethic leading up to Sunday. He's such a master of his craft and he brings a different kind of intensity to the team. As long as he's playing he will have that hustle in him. It almost seems like even at this point in his career, he is still peaking in his athleticism.

3. Big time players make big time plays

The Bills have a number of absolute studs on this team and Tre'Davious White is one of those studs. He is someone the Bills hit a complete home run on in the draft. He has developed since getting to Buffalo and now that is paying off in his third year with the team. White is playing the best football of his career; he leads the NFL in defender passer rating with 26.6. It was easy to see that yesterday because Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn't throwing at him much even before the interception.

Jordan Phillips needs a shout out too because he made an enormous play right before the interception to get a 10-yard tackle for loss to force Miami into a throwing situation. Then, White makes them pay with the interception that changes the trajectory of the game.

Wide receiver John Brown was so important to the offense yesterday. Allen needs a player like Brown who is consistently stepping up and beating man coverage. He is such a valuable player averaging 78.7 yards per game, which is 34 more yards a game than he averaged last year with the Ravens. Brown fits in so well with the scheme and he is a leader in the locker room. He was someone the team could rely on when they needed him yesterday making big time plays with a touchdown and 83 receiving yards.

4. Looking ahead: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Buffalo Bills in Week 8

I'm not sure where it came from or what the Dolphins were attacking, but Miami was having success running the ball up the middle of the field at times yesterday. That could have been partly due to the fact that the Bills were without linebacker Matt Milano who has had a great year. With Maurice Alexander taking Milano's place you have a smaller linebacker behind Ed Oliver who is also smaller defensive tackle, so Miami could have been attacking with a fullback and a running back. This is something the Bills need to fix before next week. 

On the stat sheet, the Dolphins looked like they had a more successful game through the air than they probably did based upon the amount of yards Miami put up towards the end of the game. But, the Dolphins were able to make some plays with the size they have at receiver and next week the Bills have to face two big receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz. 

Offensively it's easy for everyone to say, I want to see this team hit more deep balls because it hasn't been there all year. But, the fact that the Bills are 5-1 right now and haven't hit a deep ball is a great sign because the law of averages would say if they keep taking those shots they will come. Allen's chemistry with these newer receivers is going to only continue to get better. He hasn't thrown many deep balls to Andre Roberts this year and he just barely missed John Brown over the top on the fade ball down the sideline yesterday.

5. Observations from around the NFL

Eagles at Cowboys

The Cowboys were really able to put it on the Eagles in a 37-10 victory. Philadelphia has a talented roster and they are going to come in here at 3-4 and they will be desperate to get back to .500. The Eagles are a team coming off the Super Bowl two years ago that still has many of the same faces. They expect better than 3-4 at this point in the season. The Bills are going to get a very hungry version of the Eagles on Sunday.

Texans at Colts

Houston has a number of playmakers and Deshaun Watson is playing good football through the first half of the season. Their defense is traditionally talented and it presents a tough match-up. But, Indianapolis got the win 30-23. Colts' quarterback Jacoby Brissett made a statement by throwing for four touchdowns. I think a lot of people really wrote off the Colts when Andrew Luck retired. This Indianapolis team has a talented roster and their offensive line is playing so well together. A stellar offensive line, like you're seeing with Dallas too, can sometimes affect a game more than you think.

Ravens at Seahawks

This was a game where the Ravens came in as the underdog and got it done in an impressive way beating the Seahawks 30-16. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is a very interesting player. What he is able to do on the ground you just don't really see out of a quarterback. Running for more than 100 yards in the NFL for a running back much less a quarterback is not easy. Jackson also does this without taking a lot of shots, almost similar to LeSean McCoy, he has a knack for getting out of bounds, getting down, or simply just avoiding the big hit which is extremely impressive.

Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, who was in Buffalo in 2015, has been able to draw up some schemes this year that have been fascinating to watch. It almost looks like the triple option at times, and it basically is, it's just not under center like Nebraska used to run. It's crazy that they have had success off this in the NFL, but it doesn't look like a lot of other offenses and that's why it's tough to prepare for on a week-to-week basis.

Scroll through to see photos of all the action as the Bills take on the Dolphins during Week 7 of the 2019 football season.

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