By Christian Chappell and Kayla Morton
The Miami Dolphins lost a heartbreaker at home against the Buffalo Bills today at Hard Rock Stadium 31-28.
“I feel bad because, I mean, really it was two drives. It was the drive in the second half after they took the lead and it was the drive where we were inside their five-yard line and had the fourth-and-1 and couldn’t finish,” Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. “And those were the two drives that kind of led to us losing the game. It’s great to throw for yards and touchdowns, but that’s not what we’re here for.”
Buffalo Gets Ball to Start, Have Big Plays
Buffalo started the game with the football, but both teams ended up punting with their first drives. When the Bills got the ball back they got a touchdown to cap of a 11-play, 97-yard drive thanks to a one-yard pass from quarterback Josh Allen to tight end Reggie Gilliam.
That drive, and a lot of drives on the day, saw monstrous catches hauled in by WR Stefon Diggs. He added a 25-yard dime on the play, with Allen (16-yard run) and WR Cole Beasley (14-yard catch) each adding plays that were in the teens in terms of yardage.
Fitzpatrick, Parker Pick Up Where They Left Off
Miami was quick to strike back in ten plays of their own. The drive went 75 yards to the house, primarily due to Fitzpatrick picking up 54 yards and the touchdown through the air. The touchdown came off a two-yard pass to DeVante Parker, who played a complete game despite multiple limited practices this week and being a game-time decision because of a hamstring injury.
Miami Fails to Score Off Knox Fumble
The very next drive Buffalo coughed up the football on their first play after Allen got it out to tight end Dawson Knox who fumbled after going 38 yards thanks to a big hit from linebacker Kyle Van Noy.
Starting the drive on their own 37-yard line, the Dolphins failed to make anything of the turnover.
Bills Score on Back-to-Back Drives
Buffalo didn’t make the same mistake again though, scoring on back-to-back drives of over 80 yards. The first one, a 22-yard touchdown from Diggs, and the second, a 39-yard field goal from kicker Tyler Bass.
Miami couldn’t make use of most of what remained in the first half, but did manage to bring it within a TD from a 52-yard field goal by kicker Jason Sanders.
Lightning Delay Doesn’t Tamper Dolphins
Coming out of the half, down 17-10, the game was delayed less than one minute in thanks to lightning. After the short pause, the Dolphins didn’t seem to miss a beat, opening things up with a 58-yard drive to tack on another field goal.
Forcing the Bills to punt on their next drive it seemed like Miami had actually made halftime adjustments and gained the momentum. They went 70 yards down the field in eight plays to Buffalo’s one-yard line.
Miami Fails to Convert on Four Plays From the One-Yard Line
However, after four plays from the one, the Dolphins embarrassingly turned the ball over on downs. After running back Jordan Howard was stuffed twice, the Dolphins tried to find tight end Mike Gesicki in the back corner and WR Preston Williams on a slant route. However, Gesicki lost the one-on-out battle and Williams dropped it after it hitting him square in the chest.
“I felt like in the second half, we used kind of the climate to our advantage. They were gassed a little bit. We went on some long drives,” Fitzpatrick said. “But again, they go and score and we’ve got a critical drive where we get the ball and have probably our worst drive – definitely our worst drive – of the second half where we needed it most.
Sanders Adds Another Field Goal After Three-and-Out
Thankfully for Miami, it forced the Bills to punt on a three-and-out after the turnover on downs and eventually regained the lead. The Dolphins made use of the 44-yard field and Howard ran it in from two yards out to put the Dolphins up 20-17.
Dolphins Can’t Hold Lead
Unfortunately, it seems as though in recent years Miami struggles holding a lead and it faltered again today. It gave up another pair of back-to-back scores thanks to Allen’s third and fourth TD passes of the day. WRs Gabriel Davis and John Brown each got in on the fun, scoring from six and 46 yards respectively. Allen also saw his first 400-yard game of his career, throwing for 417 and accumulating the four scores without tossing an interception.
“He improved a lot. We knew he had a strong arm and can throw the ball deep. I feel like he’s getting better making smart decisions with the ball,” Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard said.
Late Gesicki Touchdown Salvages Scoreboard
Down two scores with only 3:09 left in the fourth quarter, the Dolphins made an attempt to make the game more presentable. They were able to lose just by three, 31-28, after Fitzpatrick found Gesicki from eight yards out and Williams converted the two-point conversion. However, it was too little, too late.
Fitzpatrick, Gesicki, Gaskin: Dolphins’ Leaders
Fitzpatrick had a much better game this week than the team’s opener, throwing for 328 yards two touchdowns and having no INTs. Parker on his precautionary usage caught five balls for 53 yards and a score. Gesicki was the Dolphins’ most targeted player of the day, finishing with 130 yards on eight catches and notching the late TD.
“I feel like as a team, we played well, but just have to be able to do a little bit more and finish. Overall I feel like everybody exceeded in their roles and did what they had to do, but as a team, I think we’ve just got to come together and do just a little bit more to come out on top,” Gesicki said.
RB Myles Gaskin was Miami’s leading rusher again, rushing seven times for 46 yards. RB Matt Breida added 37 yards, also on seven carries, while Howard was again the worst back having one more rushing attempt than total rushing yards for the second week in a row. He finished with five carries for just four yards and is clearly the current goal-line back.
“It feels good, but it’s running back by committee,” Gaskin said. “I had some great runs. Jordan (Howard) got the touchdown. So I think it takes all of us week in and week out.”
Allen, Diggs, Singletary: Bills’ Leaders
RB Devin Singletary was the best rusher on the day for Buffalo, rushing 10 times for 56 yards. Backup RB Zack Moss had two less rushes and posted 37 yards. Diggs led the way through the air, catching eight balls (13 targets) for 153 yards and the score. Brown was second on the team with his score and 82 yards on four catches.
Needham, Wallace Head Teams’ Defense
Cornerback Nik Needham was Miami’s defensive leader, registering 12 total tackles (six solo) after seeing more time once starting CB Byron Jones left in the second quarter with a knee injury. Buffalo was led by a trio of defensive players in CB Levi Wallace, CB Micah Hyde and CB Jordan Poyer. Wallace finished with 10 tackles (seven solo), while Hyde saw nine tackles (six solo) and Poyer had four solo tackles and assisted tackles each.
Miami will next be in action away in Jacksonville on a short week, facing the Jaguars this Thursday for Thursday Night Football.
“We got a quick turnaround, so we expecting the same thing the team did today. Just got to do our job,” Howard said. “I feel like the coaches put us in position to do our job. It’s not all on the coaches. They have a plan. It mostly on the players. We have to do our job and we should be good.”