Sunday, October 20, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Buffalo Bills
By Mike Rodak
MIAMI -- A few thoughts on the Buffalo Bills' 23-21 win over the Miami Dolphins:
What it means: On a day when Thad Lewis and the Bills' offense struggled to consistently move the ball, the Bills' defense came up with big plays. Undrafted rookie Nickell Robey returned a first-quarter interception for a touchdown, while Mario Williams strip-sacked Ryan Tannehill in the fourth quarter to set up the Bills' go-ahead score. After losing a 14-0 lead and trailing in the fourth quarter, the Bills come away with their first division win and first road victory of the season.
Carpenter gets revenge: Kicker Dan Carpenter was released by the Dolphins in August after five seasons with the team, but he kicked the go-ahead field goal Sunday against his former team. Carpenter, who was booed by the Sun Life Stadium crowd, hit a 31-yarder to put the Bills up 23-21 with 33 seconds left. Carpenter has made his last 15 field goals, the fourth-longest streak in Bills history.
Jackson toughs it out: With C.J. Spiller already hobbled, the Bills got a big scare in the first quarter when Fred Jackson's leg bent awkwardly as the veteran was hit running out of bounds. The cart came out for Jackson, but it was waved off as he rose to his feet and eventually returned to the game, running for a 3-yard touchdown. Jackson finished with 36 yards on 11 carries, while Spiller gained 11 yards on six carries. Both are playing through injuries.
Stock watch: Bills' pass rush (first three quarters). The Bills, who entered the game with the NFL's fourth-most sacks, failed to register a sack until the fourth quarter. Part of it may have been a more running-based game plan for a Miami offensive line that has struggled to keep Tannehill upright this season; the Dolphins had allowed the second-most sacks of any NFL team before Sunday. But for a Mike Pettine-coached defense that thrives on generating pressure, the Bills failed to do that in this game until late, getting it cranking just in time to pull out the win.
What's next: The Bills improve to 3-4 but remain in fourth place in the AFC East. Their slate doesn't get any easier as they'll travel to face the New Orleans Saints next weekend. They'll need to play better in the Superdome than they did in Miami.