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Bills drop third straight 35-8 to Miami

Posted Nov 20, 2011


It was a game the Bills had to have after dropping two in a row, but for Buffalo it played out much the same way as last week’s game in Dallas. They fell behind early and never recovered as they were blown out 35-8 by the Dolphins in Miami.

“I wish I could give you an explanation,” said head coach Chan Gailey. “I cannot give you an explanation of how we played effectively earlier in the year and we’re not playing effectively now and we lost that one as a team every phase had problems, real problems.”

Buffalo’s offense showed good rhythm early getting off to a good start with a couple of big plays. C.J. Spiller caught a quick slant and went 18 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later Fred Jackson took a screen pass 26 yards to move into Dolphins territory. But the drive stalled at the Miami 12-yard line when Ryan Fitzpatrick couldn’t connect with Stevie Johnson on a 3rd-and-2 pass. Buffalo took a 30-yard Dave Rayner field goal for a 3-0 lead early.

“First drive we went down there and didn’t convert on third down and kicked a field goal and then from there it was downhill,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick. “Obviously we’re searching for a lot of answers right now. We have a lot of questions as to why this is happening and what we need to do to get better and it wasn’t a good day.”

Miami would answer the Bills field goal drive with an even longer possession going 87 yards on 12 plays, including a big 3rd-and-12 conversion by Matt Moore with a 19-yard back shoulder throw to Brian Hartline to set up 1st-and-10 at the Bills 12-yard line. Three plays later Moore hit Anthony Fasano for a one-yard touchdown reception and a 7-3 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter.

After a three-and-out by Buffalo’s offense, Miami would put together another scoring drive and again the Bills were victimized for a big play. On a 2nd-and-8 from the Miami 43, Moore hit Charles Clay over the top for a 46-yard pass play. Reggie Bush took it in from five yards out two plays later to give the Dolphins a 14-3 advantage.

The Bills offense would only compound the problem as a Fitzpatrick pass on 3rd-and-8 from Buffalo’s own 16 went in and out of the hands of Brad Smith on a hard hit and was intercepted by Nolan Carroll at the Bills 23. Moore would hit Charles Clay for a 12-yard touchdown play to cap a short five-play drive to put the Dolphins up 21-3 with just over two minutes gone in the second quarter.

“Embarrassing,” said Chris Kelsay of the defensive effort. “We’ve just been beat up. Those guys were out-physicaling us. We aren’t executing. They are, Miami played a good game and we didn’t.”

After both defenses got a couple of stops Buffalo’s offense would turn the ball over deep in their own territory again. On a 3rd-and-10 from their own 18 a Fitzpatrick pass intended for David Nelson went off his hands and was picked off by Yeremiah Bell. Bell returned the pass to the Buffalo four-yard line. After a touchdown catch in the back of the end zone by Brandon Marshall was reversed on review, Moore would hit Bess for a four-yard touchdown catch (28-3).

“It wasn’t a very good performance for us offensively,” said Andy Levitre. “And that’s what happens when you put the defense on the field the whole game. Just not in a rhythm. We weren’t moving the ball very effectively.”

Buffalo got a lift heading to the locker room as Fitzpatrick moved the offense down the field in their hurry up with just 1:32 on the clock and no timeouts. Dave Rayner then boomed a 56-yard field goal attempt through the uprights for a 28-6 score at the half.

The Bills special teams would play a part in Buffalo’s third-straight defeat as a failed blocking assignment allowed Miami to block a Brian Moorman punt at the Bills own 28-yard line by Chris Clemons. It was then recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Lex Hilliard to make it 35-6.

“We didn’t block out the way we were supposed to,” said Gailey.

Buffalo had two scoring opportunities to cut into Miami’s lead with a pair of possessions inside the 20, but came up empty both times as the Dolphins forced a turnover on downs with a stop on 4th-and-14 at the Miami 19 and a 4th-and-goal at the Miami one-yard line.

“We got down there and couldn’t run the ball like we wanted to,” said Fred Jackson, who finished with a season-low 17 yards rushing. “Give them credit, they made plays when they had to and they came out with a good game plan.”

The Bills only second half points came on a safety when Kelvin Sheppard knifed through the line to stop Daniel Thomas in the end zone following the second turnover on downs.

Buffalo failed to convert a third down on 12 opportunities, marking just the sixth time in team history the offense failed to move the chains once in a game.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever been through that ever,” said Gailey. “If you’re 30 percent you normally lose. When you’re that bad you’ve had a pitiful day.”

With the loss the Bills fell to 5-5 on the season into a tie with the Jets for second place in the AFC East. The Jets host the Bills next Sunday at MetLife Stadium.