In one of the most highly anticipated home openers in franchise history, the Bills were able to walk away with a win and grab ahold of first place in the AFC East. It was mostly due to the success of the special teams unit.
Here's a rundown of all that happened:
-K Dan Carpenter made five of six field goal attempts.
-Three of P Colton Schmidt's four punts landed inside the Miami 20.
-C.J. Spiller scored the game's first touchdown on a 102-yard kickoff return.
-RB Boobie Dixon blocked a punt and set the Bills up on Miami's 31-yard-line.
-LB Randell Johnson recovered a muffed punt in the fourth quarter.
The highlight of the day without a doubt was when RB CJ Spiller returned the kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown, just two yards shy of the franchise record. The last ball returned for a touchdown took place nearly two years ago when Brad Smith ran 89 yards to the house at home versus the Tennessee Titans.
It came as somewhat of a surprise to fans when Spiller announced he would be assuming returning duties but it is something that didn't faze him.
"Pretty much the coaches came up to me and asked me if I was to do it, would I feel comfortable and I told them I'd be fine," said Spiller. "It was something that I've done my whole life and hadn't done in a while. I felt very comfortable, just having to get back into the groove of catching it, making great decisions. There's really no magic about being a kick returner. You have to be patient but as soon as you see it, you've got to go full speed."
Johnson, who recovered the muffed punt, echoed Spiller's sentiment that there are no real secrets when it comes to special teams. He chalked the recovery up to just being at the right place right time.
Dixon on his blocked punt – the first since Coy Wire in 2006 – said he had watched film last week of Miami's punt unit and was able to take advantage of a miscue during the game. The film showed Miami making a cut block, which Dixon anticipated the first time around but when it didn't happen, he took the open lane to execute the play.
A mainstay of the Bills' special teams unit is WR Marcus Easley, who had two tackles against the Dolphins. He has a consistent knack of being first on the scene for any special team play and if he's not, he's the first in the handshake line for a teammate who made the play. As he puts it, there are three phases to football and the special teams unit always has an opportunity to make a big contribution as seen in the Miami game.
Head coach Doug Marrone was excited about the success he's seen from the special teams unit early in the season.
"It goes back to training camp when we were talking about, 'Hey we have guys and how we want to use them that can make plays and it's exciting.' They can make plays Dan [Carpenter] can make the field goals and the punter [Colton Schmidt] is a young kid that made some plays for us already in just a short two games," he said. "Those things are exciting because what happens is that it creates opportunities. What gets lost in everything is the field position that we've really done a good job the last two weeks in that we've won in a large way."