Folks, you realize that we're a Brett Favre prayer away from being 3-0 in the division? Football's a game of inches, but man would I like to have that game back. That said, today's win was for the most part solid from top to bottom. It was an enjoyable, albeit nail biting, game. What I liked most about this game was how we finished it out. Unlike the Houston game, which we let slip away, or the Baltimore game, which we didn't show up for, we closed this game out. In the fourth quarter we stopped Buffalo cold, forcing 2 fumbles and a safety. Our defense rose to the challenge. That's how you close out a game. What I Liked Good effort from everyone out on the field today. Breaks that we had not gotten the last two weeks went our way today. The secondary, considered outgunned and outmatched against Trent Edwards and Lee Evans, put together a solid effort, minimizing mistakes and keeping the passing game (mostly) in check. Offensively, Chad Pennington continues to have one of the best seasons ever for a Miami QB. He will never have Dan’s arm, but Pennington is a proven leader, and more importantly, knows how to win games. Opening Drive - We scored a touchdown on the opening drive, for the first time since 2006, when Joey Harrington connected on a pass to Marty Booker. Last week, we came out against Baltimore, marched down the field and kicked a FG. We're doing a good job of establishing offensive rhythm when we get the ball to start the game, something that we simply did not do last year, at all. I’m curious to know if we are scripting our plays in some fashion, or if this is just a byproduct of good preparation. Wildcat: Less Is More - There was a concerted effort to minimize the use of the Wildcat today, and I think that paid off for us. When the Wildcat was used, it was in the context of the game, not just because we’re the Dolphins and that’s what we do. The "wrinkle" this week (no motion through on pre snap) seemed to set things us for us on the left hand side of the formation, something that Buffalo wasn't prepared for. The formation continues to evolve, as only the Ravens have been able to solve it. I'm excited to see it in action against Denver next week. Finally, a Pass Rush – Even if we exclude the other-worldly Joey Porter, we still managed a consistent pass rush against Buffalo, as Edwards never really looked comfortable in the pocket against the rush. We got a good push up front from Holiday, Merling, Starks, Langford, and Ferguson – the big uglies up front - allowing Porter to do his thing. Special Teams Coverage - I was concerned going in that we would giving up chunks of yards in the special teams game, giving the Bills offense a shortened field to work with. Overall though, I was impressed with how we covered Buffalo, they have one of the best special teams units in the NFL. Brandon Fields also had a couple of excellent punts that really backed Buffalo up. What I didn't Like We still made some errors out there, and had a few moments of inconsistency. I'm growing increasingly concerned that we can't handle it when teams go to hurry up or no huddle on us. I don't know if that's because we don't have anyone capable of handling making the defensive calls or what - but I'm concerned about it. We had to burn a timeout in the first half when Buffalo went no huddle. As a rule, I don’t like leaving points on the field. We're lucky that blocked FG didn't come back to haunt us. Ignoring Ronnie Brown - Brown is one of those backs that needs 18-25 carries to really get into the swing of things. Today we got away from Ronnie, even though he played well on the first series. In fact, Ronnie only touched the ball a dozen times after the first series. On the day he ran 14 times for 43 yards, an average effort at best. Let's hope we get him more involved against Buffalo. Run Defense - I'm surprised the Bills got away from the run. Marshawn Lynch gouged us for 61 yards on 13 carries, a 4.7 YPC clip, and Fred Jackson got 41 yards on 10 carries, 4.1 YPC, as a change of pace back. Part of this was due to the Ferguson injury, I'm sure, but it's not all on him. It seems like we are up-and-down when it comes to run defense, sometime prone to lapses that allow teams to victimize us for large chunks of yardage. Mental Mistakes - We had way too many missed tackles. On Buffalo's TD drive in the third quarter, I counted 12 missed tackles, including 3 on Lynch as he juked his way into the end zone. Its fundamentals. There's no reason for that many missed tackles when it's Week 7 and you're playing in the NFL. We also had too many penalties for my tastes - 7 for 51 yards, although one was a phantom call against Andre Goodman late in the game. We're still generally awful on third down, today we were 3 of 11. Rich Gannon had a pretty amazing stat - we're 1 of 27 on 3rd and long (7 yards or longer) situations. Yikes. Standout Players One thing about this team - it's a team effort. We don't have any superstars, Ronnie Brown included. This game kind of illustrates that. We had a number of folks make plays today. While it can be hard to see your favorite player ignored, the good thing is that we're starting to see contributions from multiple positions. On our third quarter TD drive, we saw Pennington connect on passes to David Martin, Ted Ginn, Greg Camarillo, and Anthony Fasano, with Wildcat plays to both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, and Williams finishing off the drive with a nifty little cutback for the TD (and that TD run was, dare I say, vintage Ricky). It was a wonderfully called drive by Dan Henning, and probably the one series I would point to as a turning point in the game. Ted Ginn - What a great day for our #1 draft pick from a year ago. Ginn enjoyed his best day as a pro, snagging 7 catches for 175 yards. He probably could have done more damage, had Pennington not underthrown him on the first catch, and had he simply tried to get to the corner on his 64 yard reception. Ginn showed today a complete game, now we need to see him put that kind of effort forward consistently on a weekly basis. Joey Porter - Peezy has 10.5 sacks in 7 games. Here’s some numbers: For the record, that works out to 24 sacks on the year, which would be 1.5 more than Strahan's record-setting 2001 season, and 5.5 more than the Dolphins individual record. Other stats to think about: In Jason Taylor's 2006 Defensive MVP, 99 only tallied 13.5 sacks. Porter's nearly got that now - in a half a season. The man is playing on another level, and has to be on the short list of Defensive MVP candidates. He might be putting together the best season for a Dolphins defender ever – and that includes JT’s masterful 2006 performance. Chad Pennington - That Henne bandwagon sure didn't last long. All Pennigton did on Sunday was complete 66% of his passes for over 300 yards. Chad's replacement and "upgrade" in New York, Brett Favre, threw for under 300 yards on 40 attempts, including 3 picks. Nice upgrade, fellas. I can't fathom how different this team would be with Josh McCown or John Beck under center. Pennington may be our offensive MVP through the first 7 games. Jason Allen - In his first extended playing time of the season, all Jason Allen did was lead the team in tackles, making plays all over the field. There were a few mental errors (particularly in punt coverage), but overall it was a solid effort from a maligned player. If Will Allen's knee is hurt, we may actually see Jason Allen matched up on Brandon Marshall next week. And you know what, I'm actually kind of excited about the matchup. Invisible Players As I alluded to earlier, there seems to be a concerted effort to get multiple personnel involved with the game. Still, I was disappointed with a couple of guys today. Matt Roth - I don't know if opposing offenses have keyed on Roth or what, but you'd think with Porter wreaking havoc and getting attention, it would free Roth up to make plays. The only play I recall seeing Roth involved in was his overpursuit of Edwards, allowing the Buffalo QB to scramble and pick up a first down. Renaldo Hill - Starting in place of the now unemployed Chris Crocker, Hill didn't do to terribly much out there. He didn't give up any big plays, but he didn't make any plays, either. Derek Hagan - What was the point of having him active? Well, at least he's not the guy below ... Ernest Wilford - Wilford might be our worst free agent signing. Ever. Overall Thoughts Last week, I stated that I liked our chances in this game. Sparano and company didn't let me down. We hurried Trent Edwards throughout the day, with Joey Porter continuing to be a one man wrecking crew. Chad Pennington finally went deep, and wouldn’t you know it, Ted Ginn finally showed up. I would have liked to see more involvement from #23, but overall this was a good win for the team, and really a solid effort all the way around today. I feel the same way about our chances in next week's game, as I really like how our offensive line and scheme lines up against Denver's front seven. My worry is shutting down Denver's passing attack, something that's easier said than done. I like our chances to run the ball next week, letting us control the clock and keep Cutler and Marshall off the field. After Denver, we have Seattle and then Oakland. Opportunities for us to play spoiler, to some extent, in the AFC playoff picture.