As Bill Parcells used to say, “You are what your record says you are.”
And at 1-7 that means the Miami Dolphins are a bad football team.
Very bad. One sign of being bad is that the Dolphins played reasonably
well on Sunday vs. Buffalo yet still lost by 15 points, 26-11.
Sunday’s game was a game of two different halves. Miami controlled
the time of possession (18:26 vs. 11:34) in the 1 st half while having
eleven 1 st downs to just 5 for Buffalo.
Unfortunately, a series of mistakes resulted in a 3-3 tie at halftime.
After pressure on QB Tua Tagovailoa caused a drive to stall on the Bills
18-yard line, kicker Jason Sanders missed a 36-yard field. What could
have been a touchdown drive resulted in zero points.
To make matters worse, the Dolphins shot themselves in the foot right
before the half when they fumbled in the red zone when the Miami
receivers were confused as to where to line-up and tight-end Mike
Gesicki was hit by the snap when repositioning himself. It was play that
would have made the 3 Stooges proud.
It was another wasted opportunity. Instead of being up by at least 6
points at halftime, or possibly up by 14 points, the Fins found
The Bills flipped the script in the 2 nd half controlling the time of
possession 19:13 to 10:47 while making 19 1 st downs to the Dolphins 5.
And unlike the Dolphins in the 1 st half, Buffalo took advantage of their
opportunities by outscoring Miami 23-8 in the 2 nd half.
Buffalo made 2 adjustments at halftime that befuddled Miami. First,
they went to a short passing game featuring WR Cole Beasley, who
finished with 10 receptions for 110 yards. Cornerback Nik Needham,
normally a solid cover man, just couldn’t cover the quick Beasley on the
In addition, Buffalo also put their faith in quarterback Josh Allen’s legs.
He finished with 55 yards on 8 carries including a touchdown.
The other key element in the game was quarterback pressure, or in the
case of the Dolphins, the lack thereof. Other than a few plays, Allen had
time to throw the ball whereas Tua was constantly under pressure. He
was only sacked twice, but he rarely had the time to set his feet and
look downfield. Tua finished 21-39 for 205 yards with 1 interception.
Other key takeaways from the game were:
- Continuing with the mistake theme, Miami turned the ball over
twice, while the Fins defense didn’t force any Buffalo turnovers.
The Dolphins also committed 9 penalties for 58 yards.
- In the 3 rd quarter linebacker Elandon Roberts missed a tackle on
Allen on 3 rd down that resulted in a 1 st down. Linebacker Andrew
Van Ginkel was then called for interference on the 8-yard line
which then led to an 8-yard touchdown pass to Bills WR Gabriel
Davis. More Fins mistakes that led to points for the opposition.
- In the 1 st half Miami made a commitment to the run game with 16
running plays for 47 yards vs. 21 passing plays. In the 2 nd half they
abandoned the run, rushing only 7 times for 21 yards.
- Miami started the 2 nd half with three straight 3 & outs.
- WR DeVante Parker returned after missing several games due to
injuries and he had a solid game with 8 receptions for 85 yards.
He did have 1 big drop in the 4 th quarter though, which was
followed by a holding penalty and an interception.
- Other than the runs by Allen, Miami did a good job of shutting
down the Bills run game. RBs David Singletary and Zack Moss
combined for only 47 yards on 15 carries.
- Buffalo has now defeated Miami 7 straight times.
At 1-7, Miami has many problems that not even the potential trade for
Deshaun Watson could solve. Their biggest problems are at the line of
scrimmage, though, as the O-line struggles to open holes for the
running game or to provide adequate protection for Tua. On the other
side of the ball, the defensive line hasn’t been able to apply consistent
pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
There is also the constant mistakes and questionable offensive play
calling, which makes you question the entire Dolphins coaching staff.
Miami is now one of three teams in the NFL with zero or one loss and
they get to play one of them next week. The Fins host the 1-7 Houston
Texans at Hard Rock Stadium at 1:00. If Miami can’t beat them … well,
let’s not even consider that.