Sunday, September 12, 2010
Karlos Dansby hits ground, Bills running
By Tim Graham
Karlos Dansby's sack three plays into the game set the tone for Miami's defense.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Karlos Dansby struck a stance more fitting for a Miami Dolphins receiver than an inside linebacker. He took his spot on the right end of scrimmage, sidling next to outside linebacker Cameron Wake. Dansby's torso pitched forward, putting weight on his left leg. His right foot was cocked to sprint.
There was no doubt Dansby was headed forward in a hurry. Obvious as it was, the Buffalo Bills failed to notice him on quarterback Trent Edwards' blind side. At the snap, Dansby broke straight for him.
Bills left tackle Demetrius Bell properly picked up Wake, presenting Dansby a naked path. As Dansby zeroed in, he hoped Edwards would raise his right arm.
"Show me the ball," Dansby thought. "Show it!"
But Edwards didn't. He couldn't. He didn't have enough time. Dansby got there too quickly and engulfed Edwards for a 9-yard loss and forced the Bills to punt three plays into the game.
"I was just waiting for this moment," Dansby said. He'd made his Dolphins debut a memorable one, playing a mammoth role in a 15-10 victory over the Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Dansby was a force, immediately showing why the Dolphins identified him as the player who could turn around their defense. They made the former Arizona Cardinals star the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history with a five-year contract worth $43 million.
"He's one of those guys that you're willing to go to war with," Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis said.
Dansby and safety Yeremiah Bell led the Dolphins with eight tackles each. Dansby recorded a game-high three quarterback hits and was influential in keeping Bills' star rookie halfback C.J. Spiller from having any kind of impact.
Spiller gained 14 yards on 11 offensive touches. Dansby made the solo tackle or assisted on four of Spiller's plays. One of his Spiller stops came on a pass play near the sideline.
"I'm all over the place," Dansby said. "You can't really pinpoint me."
Dansby even found himself defending Buffalo receiver Lee Evans at times. Buffalo tried to spread the field with extra receivers for favorable matches, but Dansby isn't a common linebacker.
"He ran out on me a couple times, buzzing out hard," Evans said. "That's one of the things he can do. He's a mobile linebacker. He can get out to the flat, play underneath and run around on the inside as well."
Dansby finished the day with eight tackles and three quarterback hits.
The play that resonated, however, was Dansby's sack 13 seconds into the game. With the Bills facing a third-and-10 situation after a pair of incomplete passes, Dolphins defensive coordinator Mike Nolan unleashed him.
How could the Bills miss Dansby there?
"You tell me," Davis replied. "If I was on offense, I'd say [Dansby's jersey number] '58! 58!' I'm calling it out."
Dansby's sack set a tone for the rest of the game. Edwards never got on track. He completed 18 of his 34 passes for 139 yards. He did feather a pretty pass to Roscoe Parrish for a 31-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but that wasn't representative of the overall afternoon.
"It gave him happy feet," Dansby said of the sack. "It made him think to get rid of the ball fast because we were bringing so much pressure on him."
What should have Dolfans even more excited and leave the Bills' faithful additionally depressed is that a couple Dolphins players suggested they pulled some punches Sunday, choosing to play a vanilla style that wasn't substantially enhanced compared to the preseason. They have more important games coming up, including next Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
"Not much more," Dansby said when asked about opening up the defensive playbook for Buffalo. "We still got a lot we didn't show. We just played hard and played fast.
"A lot of our pressure was just physicality. It wasn't a scheme. We just lined up and told the guys to go get it. They did a great job of pressing the pocket and getting Trent Edwards off his game."
The Dolphins recorded three sacks. Wake and rookie Koa Misi had one apiece. Eight Dolphins made tackles for losses. Wake and safety Chris Clemons each had two. The Bills gained 166 net yards. None of their running backs rushed for more than 19 yards.
"This is what we expected to do," Dansby said. "We expected to come in here and win like this. It doesn't have to be pretty as long as we come out with the W and have fun doing it."