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Sunday, December 18, 2011
Wrap-up: Dolphins 30, Bills 23

By James Walker


Here are some thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 30-23 victory over the Buffalo Bills :

What it means: Miami (5-9) continues its strong second-half push and improves to 5-2 in the past seven games. It also marked the first victory under interim coach Todd Bowles, who kept the Dolphins focused and motivated this week after the firing of Tony Sparano. For Buffalo (5-9), it was the team's seventh straight loss. The Bills have major questions to answer on both sides of the ball.

What I liked: Miami tailback Reggie Bush continues to make a push for his first 1,000-yard season. He recorded a season-high 203 rushing yards, including a 76-yard touchdown to seal the game. He now needs 77 yards in the final two games for the milestone. Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore returned from last week’s head and neck injury and played very efficiently. He threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns -- one to receiver Brandon Marshall and the other to tight end Anthony Fasano.

What I didn’t like: Defensively, the Bills don't do anything well. They can't stop the run or rush the passer and need to spend a lot of resources in the draft and free agency to improve on that side of the football. Offensively, it also looks like the Bills may have jumped the gun on signing quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a $59 million extension. Fitzpatrick lost his seventh straight game as a starting quarterback and was inaccurate in the first three quarters. He threw for 316 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Fitzpatrick padded his stats late in the fourth quarter after Miami took a sizable lead. Fitzpatrick will be the starter for the foreseeable future, and it's looking dicey if he can lift the Bills to contender status.

What's next: The Dolphins will travel for the second consecutive week to play the New England Patriots. New England won the first meeting between these two teams, 38-24, in Week 1. The Bills have another tough game upcoming next week. Buffalo will host Tim Tebow and the surging Denver Broncos, who were 7-1 in their past eight games entering Sunday.