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Bills at Dolphins: Injury Report & Why QB Josh 'Can Relate' to Tua Tagovailoa

The Buffalo Bills' quarterback is rooting for his South Beach counterpart ... but obviously not this week.

One of the oldest cliches of a rivalry's story is one party telling the other some variation of the phrase "We're not so different, you and I." 

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen brought the trope to life this week on the podcast "Kyle Brandt's Basement" as his team prepares to face off with one of its resurgent rivals, the Miami Dolphins, on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, CBS). While the Western New York/South Beach rivalry is set to reach heights unseen since the turn of the century, Allen has no issue with his aquamarine counterpart (and potential MVP competitor?) Tua Tagovailoa ... even if he's a bit upset to see the Alabama alum start to hit his NFL stride.

"It (stinks) as a Bills fan and a Bills player to see. You don't want to see your division rivals winning football games. But I'm proud of him for (dealing with) all the adversity ... and all the naysayers and stuff like that. I can relate to a lot of that," Allen told Brandt. "He's playing really good football right now. I hate to see it, but it's very good for him." 

The two certainly do have plenty in common: both were called upon by downtrodden AFC East franchises to bring their respective squads back toward NFL relevancy in the post-Tom Brady era, each armed with oft-repeated "red flags." Allen, a 2018 draftee, was often chided for his arrival from a small school like Wyoming, while Tagovailoa faced questions about his health upon his professional entry in 2020. 

Little more needs to be written about what Allen has accomplished to date, but Tagovailoa is coming off by far his finest professional hour headed into Sunday's matchup: in guiding the Dolphins (2-0) back from two separate three-touchdown deficits against the Baltimore Ravens last weekend, he put in 469 passing yards and six touchdowns throws, the last being a game-winning toss to Jaylen Waddle in a 42-38 victory. 

"Every time I've interacted with him, he's been like the coolest, nicest person that you can think of," Allen further lauded. "It's hard not to root for a guy like that. It just so happens that he's in our division. Especially when he's playing against us, we can't root for that." 

Tagovailoa will look to end Allen's monopoly on the rivalry: since Miami dealt him a narrow 21-17 loss in their first get-together in December 2018, Allen has been remorseless to the Dolphins, winning each of the ensuing seven meetings and washing out South Beach by an average margin of over three touchdowns.

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Good health on the part of the Bills would help that cause. For the moment, Dane Jackson is of course out. And Jordan Poyer (foot) and Micah Hyde (neck) are unable to practice.

Allen, however, knows that healthy or something short of that, no matter how far the Bills (2-0) stretch their power, they can never take a divisional opponent lightly.

"Every year's different. Every game's different," he said. "You go into each game with a different game plan ... to see what they are when you play them, especially when it's an in-division rival. You're playing them twice a year, so they're going to switch it up. They're going to show you looks that they normally wouldn't because they know our tendencies and we'd like to think that we know their tendencies." 

"In-game adjustments and seeing how they're going to play us. That's really going to be the key early on, just trying to figure out what situations they're bringing pressur,e in what types of pressures are bringing, what can we do to combat that, and then how can we make plays going forward."

The Bills-Dolphins rivalry dates back to 1966. Miami leads the all-time series 60-51-1


Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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