Buffalo?s offense was looking to rebound Sunday in Miami after an unsuccessful performance against New Orleans the week before. But there was little that the Bills could muster as a physical Dolphins team notched their first win of the season in a convincing 38-10 decision over Buffalo.
?Really a huge disappointment for us,? said head coach Dick Jauron. ?There?s no place for me to point except for at myself. I just have to get them ready better and do a better job in that regard. We couldn?t protect our quarterback and it kind of starts there. It definitely starts there. We didn?t get much started. We had our chances early, but we didn?t capitalize on them and that may have helped, but in the long run it just wasn?t a very good day at all.?
Buffalo has now lost eight straight division games dating back to December 9, 2007 when the Bills posted a 38-17 win over Miami. For Chris Kelsay and his teammates that have been on the roster long enough to experience them all, it?s getting more and more difficult to stomach.
?I don?t think it?s sitting well with anybody that has been here for more than a season,? said Kelsay. ?It shouldn?t be anyway. It?s embarrassing. This is an embarrassing day for the Buffalo Bills I feel. And I?m included in that.?
For the Dolphins turnovers and surrendering big plays were consistent factors in each of their three defeats to start the season. The Bills however, were the team that struggled to execute and protect the football.
The offense converted just one of their 11 third down opportunities in the game, while the Dolphins moved the chains on better than half of their 17 third down attempts. Buffalo?s attack struggled to clear holes against Miami?s third-ranked run defense and the Dolphins pass rush had good success, especially after the Bills fell behind on the scoreboard.
?We really just didn?t make enough plays and it?s hard to sit up here and say exactly what the problem was, but out there it looked like and felt like we just weren?t really in sync,? said Lee Evans. ?We just didn?t make enough plays bottom line. Everybody has to go back and figure out what they need to do to help us get back on track and that?s the challenge for this week and the weeks moving forward.?
Trent Edwards was under duress a good portion of the day and had another long afternoon going 14-26 for 192 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Through three quarters Buffalo?s only points of the game came on a 35-yard Rian Lindell field goal with the Bills trailing 31-3.
?It?s frustrating,? said Edwards. ?You?ve got to look at yourself and what you can do better. Our head coach always says come with solutions and don?t come with questions. That?s going to be our goal this coming week. We need to come with solutions. We?ve got to find a way to fix this and tomorrow we?ll have a chance to look at the tape and I?m sure that will tell a lot about what was going right and what was going wrong. And chances are there was a lot that going wrong.?
Edwards first interception came deep in his own territory. On a 1st-and-10 at the Bills own 18, Edwards tried to hit Lee Evans off a three step drop, but rookie cornerback Vontae Davis jumped the route and took it the other way for an 18-yard interception return for a touchdown to make it 10-0 Dolphins early in the second quarter.
?I didn?t really see him squat and that?s why I threw it,? said Edwards. ?The guy made a great play on it. He read my drop and he read the route and stepped in front of it and took it the other way. I think the throw probably shouldn?t have been made. If I was able to see him I obviously wouldn?t throw it again. Unfortunately that?s what happens in a game like that. The guy made a good play on it.?
The other interception by Edwards was taken the other way by Will Allen on a pass over the middle intended for Terrell Owens. That Miami takeaway also resulted in points for the Dolphins as the drive was capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Ricky Williams to put the game out of reach late in the third quarter (31-3). Edwards? last interception came on a desperate fourth down toss to the end zone in the closing minutes.
The Bills offense ended their touchdown drought early in the fourth quarter when Edwards found Josh Reed in the front right corner of the end zone on a 4th-and-2 from the Dolphins three-yard line. It was the first offensive touchdown for Buffalo since Owens? 43-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of their win over Tampa Bay in Week 2.
Buffalo?s defense was again forced to play an extended amount of time. Through three quarters Miami had a time of possession advantage of almost 12 minutes and finished with better than 37 minutes of possession time.
?We?ve been in that situations like that many times before and we?re expected to play every circumstance and plays like that happen within a game and you just have to respond,? said Kelsay. ?It?s disappointing, you get off the field and you?re right back on the field, but defensively we didn?t hold our end of the deal up at all this week.?
The Bills were able to get a decent amount of pressure on Chad Henne in his first NFL start with six sacks, including two by safety George Wilson, but the Dolphins run game was the poison pill for the Bills. Miami rolled up almost 250 yards on the ground.
Ronnie Brown was the star performer with 115 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.
?It definitely was not a good showing for our defense,? said Ryan Denney. ?Regardless of the amount of time that we were out there we didn?t do our job so we definitely need to get back into the fieldhouse this week and practice and get things straightened out.?
Surprisingly, the game was a defensive struggle early with neither team able to get into scoring territory. Buffalo came closest after an encroachment penalty by Miami handed the Bills a first down on a 4th-and-5 play at the Dolphins 41. However, three plays later Rian Lindell hooked a 49-yard field goal attempt wide left and the game remained scoreless.
Miami got on the scoreboard first after an 18-yard pass play from Chad Henne to Greg Camarillo set up a 1st-and-10 at the Bills 20-yard line. Buffalo?s defense however, was able to hold forcing the Dolphins to settle for a 33-yard Dan Carpenter field goal.
After Buffalo responded with a field goal drive thanks in large part to a 39-yard hookup between Trent Edwards and Terrell Owens, Miami answered right back with a nine-play 66-yard drive with Ronnie Brown scoring on a one-yard run on 4th-and-goal.
The Bills will try to stop their current two-game losing skid when they host winless Cleveland (0-4) at Ralph Wilson Stadium next Sunday for a 1pm kickoff.