Much as been made of the disappointing defensive play by the Buffalo Bills under Rex Ryan. The Bills defense was certainly not a big factor in the 33-17 win over the Miami Dolphins Sunday as well, except for one play made by Jerry Hughes.

To Ryan’s credit during the Dolphins game he had moved Hughes to the left side of the Bills’ defensive line going up against number 74 Jason Fox. The Dolphins only trailed the Bills 19-14 with 4:40 left in the 3rd quarter when Hughes stripped Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and also recovered the football.

On the following Bills possession Tyrod Taylor hit Sammy Watkins on a 44 yard TD pass and the Bills never looked back. The Dolphins were demoralized and were only able to muster a field goal the rest of the way and the win was in the bank.

Hughes had two sacks in all on the day, the only two the Bills had and  his play was a difference maker for Buffalo. It was a much needed turnover at a key time, something this defense has not been doing.

After the game a relieved Rex Ryan credited the Dolphins for running a lot of miss direction plays accounting for heir success. Ryan acknowledged that the team needed to play better defensively, but actually praised Mario Williams, saying more or less he had softened up Jason Fox prior to Hughes moving over to the left side. Williams was credited with only one tackle on the entire afternoon and his line-mate Marcel Dareus  had just one assisted tackle.

An example of how poorly the Bills front seven played, the top three tacklers for the Bills against Miami were all defensive backs. Darby, Graham and McKelvin accounted for 24 of the 50 tackles made by the entire Bills unit, almost half.

The Bills line-backing core also had a tough time against the Dolphins, missing tackles at the line and pass coverage assignments.

In all the Bills defense gave up almost 400 yards in total offense and more and more it is becoming obvious that Ryan’s scheme is not meshing with the talent he inherited.

Ryan also seemed sensitive in his post-game remarks to the fact he gave his team an entire bye week off. Several times Ryan remarked how hard his team prepared for the Dolphins when they returned to practice this past week. When asked what beach he went away to during his time off, Ryan only joked that he drank plenty of beer during the bye week.

It’s too late into the season to make any scheme changes defensively. In today’s NFL teams do not spend enough time on the practice field to overhaul a scheme put in over six weeks of Training Camp. Coaches have to live all season with what they installed during the spring and summer months so what you see on the field right now is what you’ll see the last eight games.

Hopefully players like Jerry Hughes will again make the difference down the road because the scheme doesn’t appear to be doing the job.




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