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Sunday, October 20, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

By James Walker


MIAMI -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 23-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills:

What it means: The Dolphins suffer an inexcusable home loss to the Bills and fall to 3-3 on the season. Miami had two weeks to get healthy and prepare for a Buffalo team down to its third quarterback (Thad Lewis). The Dolphins were sloppy in the first half and fell behind 17-7. Miami made a run in the second half, but with all the inconsistency, poor play calling and sloppiness, the Dolphins couldn’t get out of their own way. Ryan Tannehill fumbled late in the fourth quarter after getting sacked by Mario Williams. That led to a game-winning, 31-yard field goal by former Dolphin and current Bills kicker Dan Carpenter, which added to the insult. After a 3-0 start, Miami is in the midst of a three-game losing streak.

Stock watch: The stock is up for Miami's offensive line, which has been by far the most-maligned group of the season. The offensive line didn’t allow a sack in the first three quarters and provided bigger lanes in the running game. As far as a stock that's down, right tackle Tyson Clabo was the only offensive lineman who struggled. He allowed two sacks to Williams in the fourth quarter that changed the complexion of the game. I also wasn’t impressed with the play calling by offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, especially in the first half. The Dolphins had two weeks to scout and prepare for the Bills’ defense, which isn’t very good. Yet some of the play calling was questionable and didn’t allow the offensive players to get in rhythm.

Double trouble: It has been a quiet season for Miami tailbacks Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. But they had perhaps their best performance thus far. Miller and Thomas combined for 103 yards on 21 carries. Miller had the best carry of the day, for 30 yards in the first half. After spending much of the season running sideline to sideline with poor results, the Dolphins went for a more forward, plowing style of running game -- and it worked.

What’s next: The road only gets tougher for Miami. The Dolphins will travel to face the New England Patriots in another AFC East matchup. And Miami will have a short turnaround after facing the Patriots, facing the Cincinnati Bengals four days later.