Sunday, November 20, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Dolphins 35, Bills 8
By James Walker
MIAMI -- Here are some initial thoughts on the Dolphins' 35-8 victory over the Buffalo Bills:
What it means: The wheels have come off for the Bills, who are sitting at .500 for the first time this season. They also lost their third consecutive game in blowout fashion. Buffalo has been outscored 109-26 the past three weeks. Despite all of their struggles, the Bills remain in the hunt for the final wild-card spot but have to get really hot down the stretch. That doesn't appear likely. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have won three in a row and are playing their best football of the season. Miami is finally playing to the potential many expected at the beginning of the season.
Moore is the man: Miami backup-turned-starting quarterback Matt Moore is playing very efficient football. Moore completed 14 of 20 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns. He didn't make any mistakes and took advantage of what the defense gave him. Moore is now 3-3 as a starter for Miami. Is he the Dolphins' long-term solution at quarterback?
Questions for Fitzpatrick: Just as the Bills have gone in the dumps, so has starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He had his third consecutive bad game for the Bills. He completed 20 of 39 passes for 209 yards and two interceptions. To Fitzpatrick's credit, his receivers didn't help much. Both of his interceptions were on dropped balls. But Fitzpatrick, who is the face of the franchise after signing a recent $59 million contract extension, has failed to carry his team through a tough stretch.
Injuries aplenty: Not only did Buffalo suffer an embarrassing loss, the team added injury to the insult. Starting running back Fred Jackson was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter and didn’t return. Neither did starting receiver Donald Jones, who was carted off the field following an ankle injury.
What's next: The Bills will remain on the road and play another big division game against the New York Jets. This is most likely a playoff eliminator for the loser of that game. Miami will return to the field on a short week to play Thursday in a Thanksgiving Day game against the Dallas Cowboys.