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Top 4 storylines to follow for Bills at Dolphins | Week 2

Gabriel Davis (13) celebrates his 4th quarter TD catch with Stefon Diggs (14). Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins, September 20, 2020 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo by Bill Wippert
Gabriel Davis (13) celebrates his 4th quarter TD catch with Stefon Diggs (14). Buffalo Bills vs Miami Dolphins, September 20, 2020 at Hard Rock Stadium. Photo by Bill Wippert

The opening week of the 2021 season is over and all eyes are turned to what's ahead for Week 2. Buffalo's searching for its first win of the year, while the Miami Dolphins will look to start 2-0 on the season.

Here are some of the top storylines for Buffalo's first road game of the season.

1. Recent success against Miami

Sunday's loss against the Steelers was Buffalo's first opening weekend loss since 2018. The team will re-group, watch the tape and begin prep for the Dolphins on Wednesday afternoon when they hold their first practice of the week.

Buffalo has fared well against Miami in recent years. The Bills have won the last five matchups against the Dolphins. In last year's two meetings against the Dolphins, the Bills had a three-point victory and a 30-point victory. Their 56 points scored in the second matchup against Miami was the most points scored by an offense in 2020.

Since Buffalo has had a lot of success against the Dolphins in the last few years, it might be the perfect Week 2 matchup for Buffalo. Miami is a familiar opponent for Buffalo, and its team hasn't changed too much from 2020 to 2021. They drafted wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and linebacker Jaelan Phillips in the first round and drafted safety Jevon Holland and tackle Liam Eichenberg in the second round.

They have a talented defense that's similar to last year's group featuring players like CB Byron Jones, CB Xavien Howard, LB Jerome Baker and DE Emmanuel Ogbah who ranked first in Week 17 allowing only 18.8 points per game. Miami also added a few weapons to their offense that ranked 22nd last season averaging 339 total yards per game.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier hopes the team takes what they learned from their Week 1 loss into the next game.

"Hopefully we learned some really good lessons from this game yesterday, and that will help us in the future," Frazier said. "That's been the case in the past, whether you talk about the Arizona game and how that game ended, or bouncing back from the low period we had against the Chiefs and the Titans a year ago and then getting on a winning streak. Now, we'll see.

"We all believe that we have the right pieces on our team to bounce back from yesterday and not let that be the defining moment in our season."

2. Can the Bills offense bounce back?

Buffalo's offense struggled to get into a true rhythm on Sunday's home opener against the Steelers. Pittsburgh's pass rush and defense as a whole was hard to get by and it resulted in the Bills scoring just 16 points compared to the 31.3 points per game they averaged in 2020.

The offensive line didn't help in elongating drives because they had six holding penalties that made it tougher to get into scoring territory. The offense converted only one of three fourth downs and was one of four in the red zone.

"That's the game, right there," offensive coordinator Brian Daboll said of the missed opportunities. "There's plays here and there throughout the game that you're going to hit, you're going to miss. But one for four in the red zone, we're down there and we're settling. That's hard to win a game, particularly against a defense like that."

Bills quarterback Josh Allen completed 58.8 percent of his touchdowns for 270 yards and finished with a passer rating of 79.7. The group knows their performance wasn't good enough to win and they are working to bounce back in Week 2.

"There's obviously plays that we'd all like to have back, but certainly made some good ones against a good defense," Daboll shared. "But at the end of the day, we stalled there, and in the fringe of the red zone, we missed on a couple of those short yardage opportunities. And that's the game against a really good defense that holds opponents to usually 300 yards or less the most of their games. We have to capitalize on those opportunities, and we have to all do a better job."

3. Tua in Year 2

Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa doesn't have to wonder who's getting the start or if he will come in during the game this season because, for now, he's the Dolphins' QB1. In his rookie season, he played in 10 games and completed 186 of 290 passes for 1,814 yards. Tagovailoa threw for 11 touchdowns, five interceptions and rushed in for three touchdowns.

In his second season, Tagovailoa is doing what he can to prove he's the right QB for Miami. In his first game of the year, he completed 16 of 27 passes for 202 yards and threw for one touchdown, one interception and rushed in for one touchdown. His favorite targets in Week 1 were DeVante Parker and his former college teammate Jaylen Waddle. Parker caught four passes for 81 yards and Waddle had four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.

After their win against the Patriots, head coach Brian Flores said he liked the way Tagovailoa got the offense started by leading a touchdown drive on their first offensive possession.

"I thought he made a lot of good plays, a lot of big throws that we needed," Flores said. "That third down to start the second half was a big throw. We needed it. Good throw, good catch by DeVante [Parker]. So like everybody, players, coaches, I know we'll make corrections and try to improve and get better like we talk about every day."

From watching a little tape, Frazier said to was easy to see how the team has improved from last season to this season.

"Tua has really improved his role for sure and they have quite a wide receiving corps with Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle, Preston Williams," Frazier explained. "They have an excellent wide receiving crew and an offensive line that's still intact from a year ago. Their running back, Myles (Gaskin), he's a good back as well so they've got an improved offense.

"We're going to have to do a really good job of controlling and not giving up big plays and finding ways to take the ball away on defense to put our offense on a short field or score on defense, but they've got some weapons on that side of the ball."

4. Will Miami remain the AFC East's lone undefeated team?

Miami has the chance to become the only AFC East team to start undefeated heading into Week 2. With one game down, let's breakdown what happened last Sunday.

The Dolphins defeated the New England Patriots in Foxborough 17-16. Miami's defense sealed the victory with two forced fumbles, one of which came on New England's final drive in the red zone. The Patriots led the game in pretty much every statistical category, including yards (393), first downs (24) and third down conversions (11 of 16). One thing that factored into their loss was they had eight penalties for 84 yards.

Rookie quarterback Mac Jones won the efficiency battle against second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Jones was 29 of 39 (74.4%) for 281 yards and threw for a touchdown. Tagovailoa was 16 of 27 (59.3%) for 202 yards and threw one interception, one passing touchdown and rushed in for one touchdown.

The Jets faced off against their former quarterback Sam Darnold who is now a Panther. Carolina got the victory with a final score of 19 to 14. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson didn't have all day to make decisions as he was sacked six times and intercepted once. One reason why he felt this much pressure was because starting left tackle Mekhi Becton came out in the second half with a knee injury and never returned. Wilson finished his first start 20 of 37 (54%) for 258 yards and threw for two touchdowns and one interception.

So far, Miami is the only team in the division with one win.

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