Sunday, December 18, 2011
Dolphins 30, Bills 23
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills couldn't get a hand on Reggie Bush. And the Miami Dolphins running back proved too slippery for the slick field, too.
With persistent flurries blowing in off nearby Lake Erie, Bush rushed for a career-best 203 years and capped a 76-yard touchdown run by sliding feet-first through the end zone in helping secure a 30-23 win Sunday over the free-falling Bills, who have lost seven in row.
"I play FIFA a lot on PlayStation, and they're always sliding a soccer slide," Bush said of his celebration. "Just having fun. Just enjoying the moment."
It was a moment to enjoy for a Dolphins team that's coming off a tumultuous week in which Todd Bowles won in his debut as interim coach after head coach Tony Sparano was fired.
And it was a breakthrough outing for Bush.
After spending the past few weeks showing he's capable of rushing for 100 yards, Bush stepped his game to an altogether new level.
"It feels good. It means a lot," Bush said. "It means that hey, I'm doing everything that I expect I was going to be doing. It's not so much as me being surprised that this happened today or that I could rush for 100 yards. It's more of the fact that this is something I expected."
The 203 yards matched his combined rushing total from his past two games, and it ranks third on the Dolphins team list.
And he's already pushed his season-best total to 973 yards, which is nearly half of the 2,090 the former first-round pick had during his first five seasons in New Orleans.
Matt Moore showed no signs of a head and neck injury that sidelined him a week ago by throwing two touchdown passes -- a 22-yarder to Anthony Fasano and a 65-yard strike to Brandon Marshall -- and finishing with 217 yards passing. Cornerback Vontae Davis had two of Miami's three interceptions.
Miami won for the fifth time in seven games since a 0-7 start.
Though both AFC East teams are 5-9, the Dolphins have moved ahead of Buffalo in the division after sweeping the season series.
"The pride of this team, which is basically all we've got now, is showing," Moore said. "Coach Bowles did a good job of keeping everybody together. It was a sad day, but we've got to keep moving."
The Bills continued their spiral and are in jeopardy of finishing last in the division for a fourth straight season.
Rather than looking like the upstart team that got off to a 5-2 start this season, they resemble more the rag-tag bunch that got off to an 0-8 start in 2010.
"It's like a tale of two seasons," linebacker Chris Kelsay said. "I think we expected to win every time we stepped on the field. I don't think we expect to win now."
C.J. Spiller scored on a 24-yard rush and added a 3-yard touchdown catch.
Ryan Fitzpatrick's struggles continued. He finished 31 of 47 for 316 yards with two touchdowns -- including a 2-yarder to Derek Hagan -- and three interceptions.
He has 12 interceptions and eight touchdown passes during the team's seven-game skid.
"We haven't played very well, and that starts with me," Fitzpatrick said. "I've got to get better. That's the bottom line."
Bush secured the win with his electrifying run up the middle to put the Dolphins up 30-13 with 5:41 left.
It came on the first play from scrimmage after Spiller's 3-yard score. Breaking through a huge hole up the middle, he blew past safety Jairus Byrd, who was the only Buffalo player to get a hand on him.
"I was standing up and felt him breeze by me," Dolphins guard Richie Incognito said. "I looked up to see if anybody was going to catch him, and there was nobody there."
Moore broke the game open in the third quarter when he hit Marshall in stride up the right sideline for an over-the-shoulder 65-yard touchdown pass.
The Bills then bumbled the game away with their next two possessions ending with Fitzpatrick throwing interceptions. That included an underthrown pass intended for Stevie Johnson up the left sideline that was picked off by Davis, who enjoyed playing in the cold weather.
"Buffalo, it can't get any better. Being in Miami, I haven't seen snow since college at Illinois," Davis said. "I don't want to stay, but I kind of missed it."
NOTES: Bills coach Chan Gailey denied a report that assistant coach Dave Wannstedt was calling defensive plays instead of coordinator George Edwards. During the game, Buffalo's WGRF-Radio -- the team's broadcaster -- reported Wannstedt was more involved in the play-calling duties. ... Bills TE Lee Smith is out indefinitely after hurting his ankle. WR Stevie Johnson was held out in the fourth quarter after hurting his groin. ... Dolphins PK Dan Carpenter rounded out the scoring by hitting all three field-goal attempts, a 20-yarder and two from 26 yards.