AFC East: 2013 Week 10 Upon Further Review

Upon Further Review: Dolphins Week 10

November, 12, 2013
A review of four hot issues from the Miami Dolphins' 22-19 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday:

New low: Miami's loss to the previously winless Buccaneers is now its worst loss of the season. It trumps the Dolphins' previous home loss to the Buffalo Bills. Miami (4-5) cannot be taken seriously as a playoff contender if it can't beat a winless Buccaneers team in November. Chances are, the Dolphins will be sitting at home in January -- and they have ugly and disappointing losses such as to Tampa Bay and Buffalo to blame.

Saga continues: The Dolphins didn't take care of business on the field, and many layers remain in Miami's huge controversy involving suspended guard Richie Incognito and teammate Jonathan Martin. Both players appear unlikely to return. However, the NFL is fully investigating all parties, and there could be major repercussions if coaches or members of the front office are culpable. Expect plenty of new developments over the next several days and weeks.

Disappearing act: Just when you thought Miami's running game was coming around, it completely disappeared Monday against Tampa Bay. The Dolphins rushed for a franchise-low 2 yards on 14 carries. The losses of two starters -- Incognito and Martin -- certainly contributed to Miami's struggles up front. With neither player likely coming back this year, Miami must stick with what it has up front.

Looking ahead: The games get more challenging for the Dolphins. They have an important two-game home stand against the San Diego Chargers in Week 11 and the Carolina Panthers in Week 12. Both of these homes games will go a long way to determine whether or not the Dolphins are capable of turning their fledgling season around. Miami has lost five of its past six games.

Upon Further Review: Bills Week 10

November, 11, 2013
A review of four hot issues from the Buffalo Bills' 23-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers:

Did Marrone make right call to punt? After Sunday's game, Bills coach Doug Marrone said he chose to punt from the Steelers' 36-yard line early in the fourth quarter because he wanted to "play the field position." But with the Bills down 14 points, it's hard not to question that decision. The Bills' offense did nothing to inspire confidence that it could convert on fourth-and-5, but even with good position in the fourth quarter, it struggled in the red zone. That should have given Marrone an even greater sense of urgency to try to convert, even with 14 minutes left.

Points perspective: The 23 points allowed by the Bills' defense in this game was actually lower than its season average, which is now at 25.9. Of course, the Steelers played with a lead and turned to their running game to burn the clock, but it was hardly an offensive explosion from either team in Pittsburgh. When an opponent's top rusher -- in this case, Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell -- averages 2.6 yards per carry and has no runs for more than 9 yards, you wouldn't expect the sort of one-sided game we saw Sunday.

Pass rush a positive: Despite the loss, the Bills sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times and intercepted him once. Similar to the Bills' successes in defending the run, you wouldn't think Buffalo would put as much pressure on a quarterback, stay even in the turnover battle, and still be staring at a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit. It's the kind of outcome that overshadows a two-sack game from Jerry Hughes, who now has six sacks this season, a career high. The Bills have to be happy with their offseason trade that sent Kelvin Sheppard to Indianapolis for Hughes.

Offside penalty stings: Defensive lineman Marcell Dareus was called for encroachment on a third-quarter Steelers field goal attempt, giving Pittsburgh a first down it turned into a touchdown. It wasn't a clear-cut call against Dareus; it looked like other Bills might have jumped, or even possibly some members of the Steelers. "I couldn't see it. They didn't show it afterwards," Marrone said. "The officials were there, they know everything that goes on, and you just have to go with what they say. That's a four-point swing there, from three points where they have to kick the field goal and [instead] wound up getting the touchdown."