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Week 2: Bills Shock Dolphins 16-6
Seven sacks lead impressive defensive performance.
by Steve Saslow
Week 2
Bills  16
Dolphins   6
Gameday Grades

The Bills have been told that without Troy Vincent they would struggle with their young defense that played as many as five rookies at a time in this game. Takeo Spikes and Matt Bowen supposedly added to the woes of the defense. Don't tell the young players that, they led an inspiring defensive effort that shutdown the offense of former head coach Mike Mularkey for the first 58 minutes of the game before allowing any points. Donte Whitner stopped any hope of a replay of last year's game in Miami with a two point conversion pass deflection securing a 16-6 Bills win as they finished their tough two game road trip with a split.

It was a defensive struggle in the first half with the Bills winning the all important field position battle thanks to some great punts by Brian Moorman. The Bills were only able to turn one first half possession into points thanks to some great runs by Willis McGahee on his way to a 91 yard rushing game. The drive ended in the first of three Rian Lindell field goals and a 3-0 lead.

That lead held until halftime thanks to a beautiful Angelo Crowell interception where he tip-toed the sidelines better than most wide receivers could. That along with three Ryan Denney sacks in the first half held the Dolphins off of the scoreboard in the first half.

The Bills had a nice drive to start the second half thanks to a huge 50 yard pass interference call on Miami DB Will Allen after he was beat by Lee Evans for what would have been a touchdown. The Bills quickly turned it into one as J.P. Losman rolled out and hit Josh Reed for a four yard score on the next play and a 10-0 lead.

Losman didn't do much through the air in this game as he finished with just 83 yards passing but once again he didn't make the big mistake. The offense was led by McGahee who had all the big runs for the Bills as the offense didn't have to do much to win the game as the defense dominated throughout.

Special teams also shined in this one as Moorman had five punts downed inside the 20 and four of them inside the 10 helping the defense keep Miami off the scoreboard and giving the offense great field position that led to a Lindell 45 yard kick that made it 13-0.

A Coy Wire blocked punt setup a field goal that could have been a touchdown but a questionable pass interference penalty on Josh Reed nullified a Roscoe Parrish touchdown on a wide receiver screen pass. The Bills had to settle for a 16-0 lead.

The defense allowed a long, time consuming drive late in the game that ended with a nice touchdown grab from Chris Chambers but any hope for a comeback by the Dolphins ended when Whitner knocked down the two point conversion attempt.

Anyone would have been happy with the Bills coming away with a split of the first two division road games. What nobody expected was how good the team played in both games as they came away with that shocking and all important split. The played well in losing last week to New England but played even better this week in the heat of South Florida to win. People thought the Bills would wilt in the sun of Miami instead they dominated and never let up to pull out the upset.

Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Dolphins:

  • Ryan Denney - Had three sacks, all in the first half that including a forced fumble and a vicious hit.
  • Brian Moorman - Nice bounce back from last week. He punted six times, dropping five inside the 20 and three inside the 10. He finished with a 41.3 yard average.
  • Rian Lindell - He has become Mr. Automatic and can hit from a distance as well. He was good from 33, 45, and 43 in the game.
  • Willis McGahee - He had 91 yards on 25 carries and has some big runs.
  • Angelo Crowell - He liked Spikes; strongside linebacking spot as he had a beautiful interception, a sack, and eight tackles.
  • Josh Reed - He only caught four balls and had a penalty that cost them a touchdown but he had four catches that were all huge. One was a touchdown and two went for a first downs.

  • Goats
  • Anthony Thomas - He had an eight yard run on his first carry and had -4 yards the rest of the way.

  • Player Of The Week
  • Ryan Denney - More than anybody else, he has real benefited from the new defensive scheme as he is finally developing into the type of player the Bills thought they were getting when they drafted him in the 2nd round of the 2002 draft.

  • Positional Breakdown and Grades Gamebook
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