Breaking down the game

The Dolphins were asked all week what it took for them to win on the road, the questions the result of the team's disappointing performance in the Week 2 loss to the Jets at Giants Stadium. But it's only one road game the Dolphins lost, it's not as though this team is incapable of winning on the road. Clearly, the Dolphins will need a better effort against the Bills than they produced against the Jets, however.

The Dolphins had big problems against the Jets on offense, partly because the offensive line struggled and couldn't block defensive end John Abraham.

Buffalo doesn't have a pass rusher near that good, so there's reason for hope for the pass protection.

Buffalo is ranked first in the NFL in pass defense, but that stat is misleading because Buffalo has trailed often this year and teams have been content to run the ball to protect a lead.

Sort of sounds like the Dolphins from last year, doesn't it?

But the truth is the Bills defense also isn't as stout as it was last season. One big loss was the departure of big DT Pat Williams in free agency.

Now, his replacement Ron Edwards is out with a shoulder injury and, of course, LB Takeo Spikes is out for the season.

So it's a depleted unit the Dolphins will be facing.

Gus Frerotte's biggest job, though, will be avoiding the big mistakes that killed the Dolphins against the Bills last year. You may remember that Buffalo scored a defensive touchdowns in each of the two meetings last year, games they won by seven and 11 points.

It will be interesting to see if Ronnie Brown can build on his breakout effort against Carolina, although we wouldn't suspect he'll gain 132 yards again.

But the Dolphins should be able to move the ball against the Bills.

On the other side of the ball, stopping Willis McGahee obviously is priority No. 1.

McGahee rushed for 111 yards and 91 yards in the two games against Miami last year and is off to a strong start this season.

But the Dolphins have been tremendous against the run all season.

That might put the burden on new starting quarterback Kelly Holcomb, who is a good pocket passer but has little mobility.

Because of that, one would expect the Dolphins to blitz him quite a bit, sort of like what they did against Carolina's Jake Delhomme.

If they don't get to Holcomb, the Dolphins could have their problems with speedy wideouts Eric Moulds and Lee Evans.

Another big factor could be the special teams, where Buffalo has some tremendous returners and the Dolphins need to be sharp in their kick coverage.


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