The Bills first road win of the season was delivered by the defense, with Mario Williams coming through in the clutch. While Williams had only the two sacks, his fingerprints are all over the defensive identity. Take a look at the tape, as Jeremy White takes one more look at the win with the All-22.
Bills DE Mario Williams has been named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. His strip-sack of Ryan Tannehill in the 4th quarter put the Bills in position to get the game winning field goal. Williams made a difference throughout the day, starting on the game’s first possession.
The Bills got on the board early with a pick-six from Nickell Robey. The play, upon review, is a good look at the perfect meeting of preparation and execution.
As Ryan Tannehill sets to make his throw Nickell Robey is all over the play. The pass is intended for Brandon Gibson who slows and turns to the inside....and then proceeds to to the sideline.
Robey says that they saw this on film, and from the look of his jump on the ball, he knew just what to expect.
It's a great read from Robey and an example of what film study can reap.
So how did Mario Williams factor into this play? You see him rushing the passer but not getting to the quarterback, right? He gets in relatively quickly and it's possible that he obscures Tannehill's vision in the process. We can say that he's a part of the pick on the play.
Also consider this though: The Dolphins are passing here on 3rd and 5. They picked up 5 yards on 1st down to face a 2nd and 5. As Miami lines up for 2nd and 5, the Bills are still not in the Nickel package that features Nickell Robey. Mario lines up on the right side of the line, and draws a false start penalty. It’s the first passing snap of the game for Miami (likely), and the right tackle is already worried about Mario Williams. 2nd and 5 becomes 2nd and 10. The Dolphins run a sweep play for 5 more yards, and face 3rd and 5. Games change on a single play, and this game may have changed on a non-play on the game’s first drive. Mario Williams was in the head of ____, and he was just getting started.
Late in the game, Miami is pushing for insurance points. Leading 21-20 Williams gets his first sack of the game with a stutter step move. He ducks inside the slow-footed right tackle and smokes Ryan Tannehill.
If you head back and watch the tape of the Carolina game, you'll see Mario's full arsenal of moves. This comes late in the game, and Williams has gone around the outside so many times, he's able to change it up and duck inside. The sack leaves Miami with 3rd and 14 and they ultimately punt. The Bills go three and out, and Mario heads back out with another chance to get after Tannehill.
Here's the play of the game from Williams. Set up on the left side again, he succeeds with his best move in my opinion. Williams drives up the field, and then swims through underneath.
Strip-sack-fumble for the win.
Other big plays in the game?
- The Dolphins second series, Williams rushes the left side and forces Tannehill to move. The 3rd and 2 throw is off target and Miami punts.
- Miami 1st and 10 at their own 7 yard line. Williams stands at right end, and pressures Tannehill into an incompletion near side to Mike Wallace. Tannehill isn’t able to make clean throw.
- 2nd and 12
- 3rd and 12 Mario is primary pressure on a play where Tannehill throws the ball into the dirt (to the RB that stayed in for protection)
- On 4th and 12 the Dolphins missed the FG
The 100 million dollar man (who’s contract was for 98 with approximately 50 in guarantees) came to play and made a huge impact on the game. The Bills defense scores 7 on a play where he draws a false start, another three points is shaved on a FG miss after a Mario TFL and pressure, and the final field goal from Dan Carpenter is hand delivered from big #94. When you win a game 23-21, and your defensive end is indirectly responsible for 13 points...I’d say the AFC Defensive Player of the Week honor is warranted.
Mixing the run and pass
Watch the sequence of plays that gets the Bills offense into the endzone. The dual threat of a run/pass option opens doors and helps red zone efficiency.
First the play action to Chandler....
Watch Miami's pursuit, as they bite on the run.
Then the pass fake and handoff to Fred. Watch the LBs and S. Watch that half flinch that slows their pursuit ever-so-slightly.
The Bills often use the delay handoff. This is a good look at the small edge gained when using it. Fred Jackson is able to meet the defender and carry him into the endzone.
A look at Lewis
Thad Lewis' day wasn't as impressive as his Bills debut against the Bengals. He was sacked four times and did hold on to the ball a bit too long. Looking at each sack...
1- Good read from Lewis. Looks and sees Safety shading toward Robert Woods on deep route. Turns to left and looks for Lee Smith who turns from an out, to an up just as Lewis is about to throw the ball. Lewis pulls it down mid-motion. Line held up. Fault: Timing of Smith route. Not a bad sack.
2 - Coverage down the field is solid. What's interesting here is that the Bills have Scott Chandler and Stevie Johnson on the same side of the field. The two run verticals with Robert Woods on the sideline doing the same. There isn't much room to squeeze a ball in here. TJ Graham is open underneath on a dump-off but by the time that opens up, Kraig Urbik's man (Randy Starks) is in on Lewis and forces the fumble.
Fault: Urbik beaten but there was time to throw. Good coverage down field.
3 - Dolphins send five, including S Reshad Jones who beats Fred Jackson cleanly.
4 - Play action pass where Lewis turns into a blitzing DB. No chance.
Many had asked me if the Bills are having line problems. While anyone would say they can always get better, I don't think the number of sacks surrendered is an indication of a massive drop in the offensive line's overall play.
I'm still looking for Lewis to throw a receiver open.
He made a few nice non-throws like a game-manager would.
For those of you that like the passing chart, here's Michael Purinton (@NickelCityBills) chart for the Miami game.
Give him a follow on Twitter too!
Thanks for reading!