Anatomy of a Play: Why didn’t Bills WR Isaiah McKenzie get out of bounds?

Why didn’t Bills receiver Isaiah McKenzie run out of bounds near the end of the loss to the Dolphins? McKenzie explained his process after the game.

Okay. So, here was the situation.

With 18 seconds left in the game against the Miami Dolphins, and the ball at the Buffalo 47-yard line, Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen threw quickly to receiver Isaiah McKenzie under extreme pressure (Miami’s defense was really good in this game), and for whatever reason, McKenzie chose not to go out of bounds.

The Bills had no timeouts left, so now, it was up to Allen to get back to the line of scrimmage in a mad dash to spike the ball so that kicker Tyler Bass could try a long game-winner.

Allen couldn’t do it in time, and the Bills lost their first game of the season, while the 3-0 Dolphin took sole possession of first place in the AFC East.

You can see the entire sequence here.

And this is what caused Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to go all Keith Moon on his game work in the coaches’ box. Quite understandably.

After the game, McKenzie explained his thought process on that play.

“I was trying to get out of bounds,” he said. “I was also trying to get yards. I knew [Tyler Bass’] range, so I was trying to get out of bounds but also get up the field. I tried to get out of bounds. There was nine seconds left and I was trying to get to the hash, and I kind of got bumped by going to the ref and it just went down from there. If I could take it back, I would probably just go up field, get down, put it on the hash myself and live to fight another down.”

Or, just go out of bounds.

Not that it was all McKenzie’s fault. The Bills started at their own 23-yard line with 1:25 left in the game after Dolphins punter Thomas Morstead’s now-legendary butt punt went through the back of the end zone, forcing Miami to kick from their own 20-yard line. Morstead recovered his good name by booting a 74-yard kickoff.

And with 22 seconds left, a holding call on Bills offensive lineman David Quessenberry pushed the ball back from the Miami 43-yard line to the Buffalo 47-yard line, which is when all the drama really started.

So, it’s never just the one thing.

“We were just in the moment,” head coach Sean McDermott said after the loss. “As a competitor, you’re just in the moment. As players are, as coaches, we’re the same. We’re trying to get our team in a position to execute… We were right where we needed to be with another play or two in there, and we practice that all the time.

“A lot of faith and confidence to come out and kick the game winner. They made a play, and so we move on and learn from it.”

By running out of bounds when a similar situation presents itself, perhaps.

NFLPA wants to review how Dolphins handled Tua Tagovailoa’s injury

The NFLPA wants to investigate how the Miami Dolphins handled Tua Tagovailoa’s first-half injury against the Buffalo Bills.

One of the more remarkable aspects of the Miami Dolphins’ 21-19 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday was that the Dolphins did that without their starting quarterback in some of the second quarter.

Why? Because with 2:28 left in the first half, Tagovailoa was hit hard by Buffalo linebacker Matt Milano, and his head hit the turn equally hard. Tagovailoa was wobbly and shaking his head as he got up, and this looked for all the world as a prototypical concussion.

Tagovailoa was taken into the NFL’s concussion protocol, and came out to play for the entire second half. As the game progressed, news leaked regarding the supposed source of Tagovailoa’s malady.

Given the NFL’s highly specious history regarding head trauma, this was met with massive suspicion, and rightly so. After the game, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel echoed this diagnosis.

“That was live-speed action,” McDaniel said. “Now, Tua, he went out with a lower back, and I hadn’t had that rep with him yet. He kind of got bent back pretty significantly on a quarterback sneak earlier. I was kind of with everyone else. When he hit his head on the ground, I assumed it was a head injury, but his legs got wobbly because his lower back was completely loose and as he described it, he said his lower back was like Gumby or something. That is a challenge.

“That happens all the time in NFL games. It was kind of fast and furious. We had some skill position players get dinged. We had some linemen fight through it, but those are things that you just have to be able to adjust on the fly. Your whole staff better be in concert. You better have contingencies, and you better know some plays you want to go to if things happen. We were able to do the best we could, but it was a lot better when we had everyone back. That’s for sure.”

Tagovailoa really wanted everybody to know that he’s good.

“On the quarterback sneak [the play before], I kind of got my legs caught under someone, and then they were trying to push back and then kind of felt like I hyper-extended my back or something. Then on the next play I kind of hit my back and kind of hurt. Then I got up and then that’s kind of why I stumbled – my back kind of locked up on me. For the most part, I’m good. I passed whatever concussion protocol they had, so I’m good.”

Maybe it’s all true, but the NFLPA stepped in right away, as it should have.

 

 

In 2018, the NFL made improvements to its concussion protocol in an attempt to improve its process.

From the league:

According to the policy, the NFL and NFLPA will each designate a representative to monitor the implementation of the protocol and investigate potential violations. The investigation will not reach medical conclusions; it will only determine whether the protocol was followed. Following the investigation, the NFL and NFLPA will review the findings to determine if a violation occurred and, if so, to recommend the proper disciplinary response. If the parties are unable to agree, the matter will be brought to a third party arbitrator. After conducting a thorough review, the arbitrator will issue a report to the Commissioner, NFLPA Executive Director and the involved parties.

As jointly agreed to by the NFL and NFLPA, the Commissioner retains absolute discretion in determining penalties for violations of the concussion protocol. Potential disciplinary action includes:

  • A first violation will require the club employees or medical team members involved to attend remedial education; and/or result in a maximum fine of $150,000 against the club.
  • Second and subsequent violations of the concussion protocol will result in a minimum fine of $100,000 against the club.
  • In the event the parties agree that a violation involved aggravating circumstances, the club shall be subject, in the first instance, to a fine no less than $50,000. The Commissioner shall determine appropriate discipline for subsequent violations involving aggravating circumstances.
  • In the event that the Commissioner determines that the club’s medical team failed to follow the protocol due to competitive considerations, the Commissioner may require the club to forfeit draft pick(s) and impose additional fines exceeding those amounts set forth above.

The enforcement policy is one of many collaborations between the NFL and NFLPA to improve player health and safety.

We’ll see how this goes for the Dolphins. Hopefully, Tagovailoa was not put in a position where any head trauma would be exacerbated by further head trauma, as so many players have before.

Here’s why Bills OC Ken Dorsey lost his mind at the end of the Dolphins game

Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey went ballistic in the coaches’ box at the end of the Dolphins game. Isaiah McKenzie was the reason why.

It’s unlikely that any video will be more frequently shared than the one showing Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey trashing his part of the coaches’ booth at the end of the Bills’ 21-19 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Dorsey was trying to get his usually productive offense in field goal range before time expired, and those efforts were assisted by the Dolphins’ butt punt with less than two minutes left in the game.

It was not to be. The Bills ran out of time as Josh Allen was trying to get under center to stop the clock for one more play. It was at that point that Dorsey went on a jag that would have made both Keith Moon and John Bonham proud.

Or Axel Foley, for that matter.

So, here’s why Dorsey went all nuts. With 18 seconds left in the game, and the ball at the Buffalo 47-yard line, Allen threw quickly to receiver Isaiah McKenzie under extreme pressure (Miami’s defense was really good in this game), and for whatever reason, McKenzie chose not to go out of bounds. As the Bills had no timeouts left, that essentially ended things.

You can see McKenzie bleeding the clock at the worst possible time, then Allen rushing to snap and spike, then failing, then throwing his helmet in frustration as time elapsed. Has McKenzie simply run out of bounds instead of trying to get a few extra yards… this offense certainly had the opportunity to do something interesting. .

Given that ending, it’s fair to say that Dorsey had a reason to go a bit off-script.

Bills OC Ken Dorsey pitches a fit at end of loss to Dolphins

Ken Dorsey lost his mind as the Bills lost to the Dolphins

The pressure of being the Super Bowl favorite must be overwhelming.

How else can you explain the tantrum thrown by Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey at the end of the team’s 21-19 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday?

Now that was a classic fit thrown by someone who had great moments in his career in South Beach as a Miami Hurricane.

Dorsey threw for more than 9,500 yards and 86 touchdowns from 1999-2002.

We’re guessing that wasn’t on his mind when the Bills absorbed their first loss of 2022.

This could explain some of the frustration.

Dolphins’ Thomas Morstead performs the ultra-rare butt punt

The Dolphins barely beat the Bills on Sunday, despite Thomas Morstead’s late-game butt punt.

We all remember what happened to then-New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez on November 22, 2012. The Jets were waylaid by the Patriots, 49-19, and Sanchez became a forever meme by running into right guard Brandon Moore with his face, and fumbling the ball.

On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins barely beat the Buffalo Bills, 21-19, in a game that propelled Miami to 3-0 and first place in the AFC East. The win did not come without its challenges. With 1:37 left in the game, the Dolphins were backed up in their own end zone, and veteran punter Thomas Morstead — who had suffered just one blocked punt in his 15-year NFL career — was just trying to avoid a second career block that would allow the Bills to jump on the ball in the end zone for a game-winning touchdown.

Morstead got the punt off, and the ball wasn’t blocked by any Bills player — it was blocked by the butt of teammate Blake Ferguson.

The ball went out of the end zone, giving the Bills a safety and two points, but that was not enough. On Buffalo’s subsequent drive, they progressed to their own 47-yard line before time ran out as Josh Allen tried to get under center to spike the ball and stop the clock.

So, a win for the Dolphins, and a win for anyone who was looking for an expansion of the “Butt-whatever” theme in the National Football League.

To Sanchez’ credit, he’s got a great sense of humor about the whole thing.

How the Bills’ defense can still be great despite Micah Hyde’s season-ending injury

Bills cornerback Micah Hyde is out for the rest of the 2022 season with a neck injury. Here’s why Buffalo’s defense should still be okay.

The Buffalo Bills were already coming into their game-of-the-week matchup against the Miami Dolphins and their explosive passing game lighter than they’d like on defense. Cornerbacks Tre’Davious White (ACL) and Dane Jackson (neck) are out, as is defensive tackle Jordan Phillips (hamstring) and safety Micah Hyde (neck).

On Saturday morning, the news went from bad to worse when Jack Bechta, Hyde’s agent, revealed that Hyde’s neck injury, which he suffered in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans, will cause him to miss the rest of the 2022 season.

This is obviously a major blow to Buffalo’s league-best defense, as Hyde and Jordan Poyer have comprised the NFL’s best safety duo for a few years now. By the way, Poyer will probably be a game-time decision with a foot injury. So, ouch.

Beyond whatever happens against the Dolphins, how do the Bills get past this? They are viewed as the prohibitive Super Bowl favorites in the AFC, and for good reason, but as much as they’ll miss Hyde, head coach Sean McDermott and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier must adopt the “Next Man Up” philosophy as they go.

“I know we have a number of injuries here, but I remain very confident in our football team, and very confident in the back end,” Sean McDermott said this week.

That was more about rookie cornerbacks Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford, who will be on the field in place of White and Jackson, but it now must apply to Hyde’s position.

How the Bills can stop the Dolphins’ explosive passing game

The Buffalo Bills’ defense has quite the challenge this Sunday: Stop the Miami Dolphins’ ridiculous passing game. Here’s how the Bills can do it.

It is unclear what the Buffalo Bills collectively thought when they first saw their 2022 regular-season schedule, with the Miami Dolphins as their Week 3 matchup. As Buffalo beat its AFC East rival in both games last season by combined scores of 61-11, perhaps there wasn’t much thought about it at all.

Now, the Bills know exactly what they’ll be facing this Sunday in what is unquestionably the game of the week. The 2-0 Dolphins, under new head coach and offensive shot-caller Mike McDaniel, are just about as hot as the 2-0 Bills after their amazing game against the Baltimore Ravens in which Miami overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to beat Baltimore, 42-38.

The stats in that game were pretty impressive for McDaniel’s team. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the first time in 12 years a team has come back from a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Since 2011, NFL teams are 0-711 when trailing by at least 21 points in the fourth quarter. And per NFL Research, the Dolphins were the first team in NFL history to have a player record 400+ passing yards and 5+ passing TDs (quarterback Tua Tagovailoa) in the same game as two teammates recording 170+ receiving yards and 2+ receiving touchdowns (receivers Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill).

Tagovailoa’s six passing touchdowns tied a franchise record and was the most by any NFL quarterback since Patrick Mahomes had six touchdown passes on Nov. 19, 2018 against the Los Angeles Rams.

It got to the point where McDaniel and Tagovailoa were able to quickly communicate on what the head coach called the “F— it” play, which became one of Hill’s two deep touchdowns. 

The Dolphins’ ‘F— it” play vs. the Ravens typified their explosive potential

The Bills have been just as much about great defense as great offense this season (they rank first in Defensive DVOA, while the Dolphins rank second in Offensive DVOA behind the Ravens), but head coach Sean McDermott is well aware of the test his team faces.

“He’s a once in a lifetime player with his speed, and his ability to go after the contested catch,” McDermott said of Hill this week. “They’ve got tremendous speed on offense. They put up points, they do a great job scheme-wise, and Mike does a great job putting them in positions to be successful. So, it’ll be a big challenge for us.”

It’s likely that the matchup between Buffalo’s explosive offense and Miami’s average defense will once again have the Dolphins playing catchup. Here’s how the Bills can prevent what happened to the Ravens happening to them.

All advanced metrics courtesy of Sports Info SolutionsPro Football Focus, and Football Outsiders unless otherwise indicated).

Matt Milano with pick-six as Bills are demolishing Titans

Matt Milano with a pick-six as the Bills are pummeling the Titans

The Buffalo Bills are making sure everyone knows why they are the favorite to win the Super Bowl.

After ripping the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1, the Bills treated their home crowd Monday to an all-out demolition of the Tennessee Titans.

A game that was once 7-7 turned into a 41-7 romp at the end of three quarters.

Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs had combined for 3 touchdown passes.

Ryan Tannehill threw a pass in the third quarter that was picked off by linebacker Matt Milano, who returned it 43 yards for his first NFL touchdown.

The ESPN broadcast booth had been effusive in its praise over Milano throughout the game and he kept on showing the national TV audience why he is one of the best in the game.

Josh Allen, Stefon Diggs complete touchdown hat trick

It has been as easy as 1-2-3 touchdowns for Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs

Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are destroying the Tennessee  Titans.

The game was a bit past midway through the third quarter and the great quarterback-wide receiver tandem had already combined for a trio of touchdown passes Monday night.

That’s a hat trick the Buffalo Sabres would appreciate.

The Bills led 34-7 after the PAT.

Bills punt for the first time this season, and recover it

Even when the 2022 Buffalo Bills have to punt, it tends to work out in their favor.

With 8:33 left in the third quarter of Monday night’s Bills-Titans game, Buffalo punter Sam Martin, generally a very bored man, got to do his job for the first time this season. The Bills hasn’t punted through their first six quarters of regular-season football in 2022, and as it turned out, the Titans weren’t quite sure what to do about it. Returner Kyle Phillips muffed the punt, and Bills linebacker Tyrel Dodson recovered the ball at the Tennessee 20-yard line.

On their subsequent drive, the Bills made it to the Tennessee 19-yard line, whereupon Tyler Bass booted a 37-yard field goal, putting the Bills up, 27-7.

Maybe the Bills should punt more often, but at this rate, we wouldn’t bet on it.