BY SEAN DONOVAN
When the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills first met in Week 7, one specific play shifted the game's balance from one side to the other.
That play was a late fourth quarter strip-sack by Bills defensive end Mario Williams, who beat Dolphins right tackle Tyson Clabo en route to the quarterback and a turnover for his defense. The fortuitous field position allowed Buffalo to run down the clock and kick a field goal in the final minute to win, 23-21.
Williams recorded two total sacks on the day, and Pro Football Focus credited him with five other quarterback hits and hurries.
The result of the ordeal was Miami's third straight loss and a trip to the bench for Clabo.
Nine weeks later, the two teams are set for a rematch. Clabo, since reinserted into the starting lineup after heavy personnel shuffling, will once again face Williams but with a new-found level of respect.
“I’m not going to hide or dance around the fact that guy is really good,” Clabo said this week, via ESPN. "There’s definitely a challenge. I’m going to show up.”
The Bills as a team have 49 sacks on the year, most in the NFL. Williams leads the way with 12 sacks, but Clabo knows that preventing any type of repeat of the previous performance means defending Buffalo's entire defensive front.
“They’re a good front and they’re very talented," Clabo said, according to the team website. “It’s going to be a challenge to try to keep that catastrophic play from happening because they’re all a threat and we have to all play well.”
The Dolphins have been better in pass protection in recent weeks, as a result of both comprehensive lineup changes and different strategy changes to get the quarterback out of harm's way. One of those adjustments was to utilize Ryan Tannehill's mobility to get him out of the pocket more, which is something that the Bills defenders have certainly noticed.
“He’s one of those guys who’s more athletic than your typical quarterback,” Williams said in his conference call with the Miami media. “That’s one thing we’ve noticed that’s different from the first time we played them. He’ll look for his throw, and if it’s not there he’ll move around more than what he did prior.”
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