Expectations are higher for the Miami Dolphins in 2021, and the team’s upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills appears to be a statement game for the team.
The Dolphins lost to the Bills 56-26 in the regular season finale in 2020. That loss has remained on the mind of several Miami players. That includes cornerback Xavien Howard, who admitted he has had Sunday’s matchup against Buffalo circles on the calendar.
Sometimes revenge narratives can distract a team too much, so the Dolphins have to be careful here. That said, they’re coming in 1-0 off a win at New England, so confidence should be high. They haven’t shied away from expecting big things in 2021, either.
The Bills are coming in off a loss to Pittsburgh, and an 0-2 start would raise major red flags. Expect them to come out motivated here too.
The Buffalo Bills had a surprise guest at Monday’s practice in the form of Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Kuechly, a seven-time Pro Bowler who abruptly retired from the NFL after the 2019 season, was working with the Bills’ linebackers during Monday’s workout.
Kuechly was almost certainly in Bills camp at the invitation of head coach Sean McDermott, who was Kuechly’s defensive coordinator for six seasons in Carolina before landing the Buffalo job.
It’s probably not an indication that Kuechly is set to take a full-fledged coaching position with Buffalo, though he has signaled interest in one in the past. He spent last season as a pro scout for the Panthers, but has left that role and seems to be embracing a roving instructor role. The Bills will certainly be happy to have him, even if only for a day.
Josh Allen signed a massive contract extension with the Buffalo Bills on Friday, and you can probably guess how Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs felt about the news.
Shortly after the Bills announced that they have agreed to a six-year extension with Allen, Diggs shared the famous Terrell Owens “that’s my quarterback” meme on Twitter.
The Bills acquired Diggs in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings last year, and he ended up being a perfect fit for their offense. He led the NFL with 1,535 receiving yards and scored eight touchdowns. Allen and Diggs are expected to be one of the best QB-WR duos in the NFL again this season, so you can understand why Diggs was happy for his teammate.
Diggs and Allen gave us a glimpse into their great relationship with a hilarious postgame interview (video here) late last season.
Allen’s six-year deal is worth $258 million, which makes him the second-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL.
Josh Allen enjoyed a breakout season last year in which he established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, and the Buffalo Bills have rewarded their former first-round pick.
The Bills announced on Friday that they have agreed to a six-year contract extension with Allen. The new deal ties Allen to the franchise through the 2028 season. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the total contract is worth $258 million with $150 million guaranteed.
Allen’s average annual salary of $43 million will make him the second-highest paid quarterback in the NFL behind only Patrick Mahomes. The Kansas City Chiefs star makes $45 million per year. The total guarantee is an NFL record, as Mahomes got just over $141 million guaranteed.
Allen threw for 4,544 yards with 37 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. He also ran for 421 yards and had eight scores on the ground.
With Allen having gotten his massive pay day, one former NFL MVP has to be licking his chops.
It’s almost certain that Zach Ertz’ Philadelphia Eagles career is over, but there has been no resolution on where he might wind up. It sounds like the Eagles might finally be getting close to a deal, however.
Longtime Eagles play-by-play announcer Merrill Reese claimed on The National Football Show that the Eagles are close to trading Ertz to the Buffalo Bills.
“The word today is that they are very close to a deal and I don’t have any inside information to substantiate this, but the word is that they’re close to a deal with Buffalo for Zach Ertz,” Reese told host Dan Sileo, via Ryan Talbot of New York Upstate. “I believe you have as much chance of being on this roster as Zach Ertz in a few weeks.”
Ertz has not reported to Eagles camp this offseason. It’s been said he’d prefer to pick his new team, so a trade might not make Ertz happy, but it would get him out of Philadelphia. It would also put him on another contender in Buffalo, so it’s not a bad situation for him at all if it comes to pass.
The Buffalo Bills continue to eye a new stadium, but something very intriguing could happen before a new one is built for the team.
Thad Brown of RochesterFirst reported Friday that the Bills are planning to build a new stadium in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park. However, it is unlikely that the new facility would be ready for use before 2025 at the earliest, while the Bills’ lease on Highmark Stadium expires in 2023. That could leave several seasons where the Bills do not contractually have a home stadium.
The report states that the Bills are looking at other options in case they are unable to get an extension on the current lease. One is playing home games in Toronto, while intriguingly, Penn State’s Beaver Stadium is also a consideration.
It’s no secret that Happy Valley is one of the toughest environments in college football to play in. That atmosphere might not translate as well to the NFL, but it would certainly make for an interesting scene if it came to pass. For now, it sounds like a far-fetched contingency plan.
Bills Mafia is famous for their table-jumping antics, so they might have a new favorite player in Spencer Brown.
Brown, an offensive tackle from Northern Iowa, was the Bills’ third-round draft pick on Friday night. To celebrate his selection, he did what the most diehard Bills fan would encourage — he threw himself through a table.
If there’s a more perfect way to endear yourself to the Buffalo fanbase, I’ve yet to see it.
For the unfamiliar, the table-jumping craze is such a big tailgate staple among Bills fans that it’s become pretty much synonymous with them. At this rate, Brown is going to be an early fan favorite, and he’ll have lots of people rooting for him to make an impact on the team’s offensive line.
The Buffalo Bills have used third-round draft picks on running backs the past two years, but neither player has emerged as a clear-cut starter. That is likely one of the reasons the team is not ruling out taking another back in the draft next week.
The Bills currently hold the 30th overall pick in the draft. General manager Brandon Beane was asked on Tuesday about potentially using that on a running back, and he did not dismiss the idea. He said it depends if there is a player they feel can provide the team with something Devin Singletary and Zack Moss can’t.
“What does his skill set have in comparison to what we have on the roster?” Beane said, per Matt Parrino of NewYorkUpstate.com. “Is this player going to do something … I don’t think either one of our backs are home run hitters, so is there an elite trait that this guy has and says, ‘Man, he’s got something we don’t have.’ That’s probably the conversation, versus, ‘OK, are we going to take the same type of back as Devin, are we gonna take the same type of back as Zack? Because even those two guys have different skill sets.”
Singletary averaged 4.4 yards per carry last season. Moss averaged 4.3. Those are solid numbers, but Buffalo ranked near the middle of NFL last year in rushing yards even with Josh Allen racking up 421 yards on the ground. The Bills have become more pass-heavy as Allen has improved, but an explosive back would make their offense that much more dangerous.
Former Clemson star Travis Etienne is one player to watch for Buffalo. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry during his college career and is certainly a home run threat.
The Buffalo Bills lost to the Houston Texans in the playoffs two seasons ago in part because of a controversial call it overtime. It took more than a year, but the NFL has finally admitted the Bills may have been robbed.
Buffalo and Houston went to overtime tied 19-19 in their 2020 postseason game. The Texans got the ball first, but the Bills stopped them with a three-and-out and had a chance to win the game with a field goal. They were in field goal range after Josh Allen scrambled for four yards on 3rd-and-9 from the Houston 42-yard line, but offensive lineman Cody Ford was called for a blindside block. That backed Buffalo out of field goal range and forced a punt.
The Texans went on to win 22-19. On Friday, the NFL shared a video on Twitter explaining what officials look for with blindside blocks. One of the examples of a clean block that should not have been called was Ford’s block. You can see the play at around the 1:10 mark below:
Had no flag been thrown, Stephen Hauschka would have been able to attempt a game-winning field goal of around 55 yards. That is hardly a chip shot, so there’s no guarantee the Bills would have won. However, the NFL has confirmed that Buffalo at least deserved a shot.
As New Orleans Saints fans could tell you, the blindside block penalty wasn’t the most egregious officiating blunder we have seen in an NFL playoff game. A certain non-call on this pass play still holds that title. That said, it has to sting Bills fans to see the NFL admit the mistake now.
Josh Allen is still under contract with the Buffalo Bills for a bargain price next season, and they have an option for him in 2022. But the team wants to keep its franchise quarterback for much longer and will start talking about an extension with him this offseason.
ESPN reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques reported during the week that Bills GM Brandon Beane said the team will talk with Allen about an extension. Beane said their talks could come in May or during the summer.
Allen has shown improvement in every season during his pro career, but he took things to another level last season. The 24-year-old passed for 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions while leading the Bills to a 13-3 season. He also rushed for 421 yards and eight touchdowns. He led the Bills to the AFC Championship Game.
Many of those who watched Allen play last season believe the young QB is in the early parts of a special career. Even one Bills legend feels that way.
A report in January said the Bills were planning to give Allen a “massive” contract extension. For some context, Patrick Mahomes, who was drafted a year before Allen, got a 10-year, $450 million contract from Kansas City last offseason.