NFL Nation: 2013 Week 7 BUF at MIA Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

October, 20, 2013

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.

Rapid Reaction: Buffalo Bills

October, 20, 2013
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.