That’s what you call an ugly loss for the Miami Dolphins. They had a bye week to prepare for a 2-4 team with a 3rd string quarterback starting. They were playing at home, and after a slow start, they had a late 4th quarter lead. Yet, they found a way to lose to fall to 3-3 on the season. This one truly has left Dolphins fans shaking their heads. Trust me, I’m still shaking mine, as well. So, let’s break down what happened with the grades for the 23-21 loss.
On the positive, the Dolphins finally managed a running game with a season high in rushing. Also, the struggling offensive line didn’t allow a sack until late in the game. Of course, there’s a flip side to this. The offensive line let Miami down at the worst time. Two late sacks on Tannehill, including the most costly play of the game. With the Fins trying to run out the clock, offensive lineman Tyson Clabo was beaten by Bills star Mario Williams. Williams forced a bad fumble on Tannehill and set up Buffalo’s game winning kick. A promising effort for 3 ½ quarters went up in smoke. Tannehill also had two first half picks. One of them was returned for a touchdown. It continues a disturbing trend for the turnover prone Miami QB.
The defense overcome a bad start, but they weren’t put in good positions because of the turnovers on offense. They settled down and seemed to have things in better control, but they allowed a 3rd string QB to make too many plays to keep some drives alive, and they caused only one turnover. You expected them to wreak more havoc against a pretty bad offense. They failed to make a key stop with just over two minutes left, and it allowed Buffalo to run off more clock before kicking the go-ahead field goal.
Special Teams- C-
For the first time this season, the Dolphins special teams was far from special. Caleb Sturgis missed a long field goal for the 2nd straight game. Meantime, punter Brandon Fields had a punt of over 70 yards that ended up being negated by a boneheaded penalty by the Fins. To add insult to defeat, former kicker Dan Carpenter made all three of his field goal attempts, including the game winner. Ouch.
I was tempted to give an F to the coaches because, quite frankly, this team was not prepared today. Coming off a bye week to get ready for an inferior opponent, this team showed nothing to start the game. The offensive play-calling was bland, and the defense didn’t come out and make big plays against a young and inexperienced quarterback. Even worse, when Miami needed to run some clock with a late lead, the coaches decided to abandon the run on the key play of the game. With great field position (around midfield) and time on their side, the Fins would have been better served to the run the ball, work the clock and force Buffalo to drive on a long field. All in all, it was a day to forget for Miami.