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Turnovers, penalties sink Bills vs. Dolphins


The Bills tried to make it interesting late. Down 30-13 with five minutes left, Buffalo got a quick touchdown and added a field goal after recovering an onsides kick with just over two minutes remaining to pull with a touchdown. But their second onsides attempt failed and Miami killed enough of the clock to post a 30-23 win sweeping the season series from Buffalo. The loss was the seventh straight for the Bills dropping them to 5-9 on the season.

"It doesn't sit well with me," said Nick Barnett. "I don't like to lose seven games, but what do I do? Do I stick my head in the trash can and cry about it? No, we've got to get better. We've got to continue to grind."

The Dolphins appeared to put the game away when Reggie Bush busted a run up the middle 76 yards for a touchdown with five minutes remaining (30-13) just after C.J. Spiller had scored a touchdown on a three-yard reception from Ryan Fitzpatrick.   

Buffalo got a quick touchdown after getting the ball back with Fitzpatrick hitting Derek Hagan on a two-yard touchdown pass with 2:27 remaining. After George Wilson recovered the ensuing onsides kick the Bills took a 34-yard field goal on 4th-and-goal from the seven, hoping to get another onsides kick to get the tying touchdown.

The kickoff however, was recovered by Miami with 1:20 remaining and the Dolphins were able to kill almost all the time remaining on the clock. Buffalo got the ball back with 20 seconds remaining, but with no timeouts and the ball on their own 20 their trick play at the end of the game failed to gain any positive yardage as time expired.

"It was tough losing this game," said C.J. Spiller, who had a pair of touchdowns in the defeat. "We really wanted this one. I think we played hard. The first half we really couldn't get anything established on offense. We've got two more games to go and we're going to keep fighting."

The game was a one score affair for most of the second quarter, but a big play by Miami's offense and the inability for Buffalo's attack to sustain any sort of rhythm ultimately sunk Buffalo. The Bills offense struggled for much of the game with penalties and inconsistency.

For the second time this season against Miami the offense failed to convert a third down going 0-for-11. They went 0-for-12 in the first meeting with the Dolphins.

"It seems like we don't go 0-for-23," said Stevie Johnson. "We usually get these third downs. We usually get these. I don't know I guess we've got to get back to the drawing board. We should've said this seven weeks ago. I don't know what else to say."

Ryan Fitzpatrick was unable to bounce back from a 13-31 passing performance last week, tossing three interceptions that were instrumental in keeping the Bills from mounting a comeback.

"The story of the day was just interceptions and penalties," said Ryan Fitzpatrick. "We can't, obviously have turnovers, and then it seemed like we had so many penalties there as well that were stalling drives and putting us in bad down and distances."

Fitzpatrick finished the day 30-46 for 323 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Buffalo also committed a season-high 11 penalties for 92 yards in the contest.

At the end of the first half Buffalo looked as though they would pull to within a field goal. Down 13-7 with two seconds remaining a 22-yard catch by Stevie Johnson put Dave Rayner in position for a 26-yard field goal attempt. Rayner hooked it wide left at time expired leaving it a six-point deficit.

That deficit ballooned to 13 when on the fifth play from scrimmage in the third quarter Matt Moore hit Brandon Marshall deep down the far sideline for a 65-yard touchdown. The extra point made it 20-7 with 12 minutes left in the third.

Buffalo's defense played tough getting three red stops to force field goals and also managed to get three takeaways in the game all on forced fumbles. But with an offense stuck in neutral the Bills got only seven points off turnovers.

"That's one of the things we talked about, when they're in the red zone make them kick field goals and I feel like we did that," said Aaron Williams. "I feel like our physicality was above what we've been playing the past few weeks. We tackled a lot better. We just came up short."

After a field position stalemate for most of the opening quarter, Buffalo's defense handed Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense a prime scoring opportunity. Williams stripped Reggie Bush of the football and George Wilson recovered at the Dolphins 42-yard line.

After a no gain carry by Tashard Choice on first down, C.J. Spiller took a 2nd-and-10 carry 18 yards to set up a 1st-and-10 at the Dolphins 24. Buffalo gave it right back to Spiller on the next play and the running back exploited a big hole provided by his line up front and darted to the near sideline and outraced Miami's secondary to the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown run to put the Bills up 7-0 after Dave Rayner's extra point.

Miami would answer in the second quarter when Matt Moore hit Anthony Fasano on a blown coverage for a 22-yard touchdown catch, set up by a 30-yard catch and run by Charles Clay to tie the score at seven just seven seconds into the second stanza.

The Dolphins would follow that up with a pair of field goal drives. Miami set themselves up nicely with a pair of 1st-and-goal situations, but Buffalo's defense held firm forcing the Dolphins to take a couple of Dan Carpenter field goals from 20 and 26 yards. Forcing the second field goal was critical after a Ryan Fitzpatrick interception at the Bills 24-yard line. It kept the contest a one-score game late into the first half (13-7), but the three turnovers in the third quarter ultimately did the Bills in.

"We just didn't execute," said head coach Chan Gailey. "That's the bottom line. You've got to execute from snap to whistle. That's what cost us."

With the loss Buffalo dropped into last place in the AFC East. They host Denver for a Saturday game on Christmas Eve at 1 pm.

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