Miami let another fourth quarter lead slip away, as the Bills rally late to win big, 31-14.
Miami (14) @ Buffalo (31)
After looking at the final score, one might think that the Dolphins never had a chance to win this ball game. Yet once again, Miami (5-6) had a fourth quarter lead and let it slip through their grasp, allowing 24 unanswered points to Buffalo (4-7) in that final quarter. In a game where the Dolphins were looking to sit a game behind the Pats, if only for a day, are now officially closer to the record of the Bills, the team that beat them this afternoon 31-14. Not only did this diminish Miami’s shot to make a run for the division title, but it placed their playoff hopes in severe jeopardy.
On Miami’s first offensive drive, it looked like it just might be one of those days. The Phins drove down the field in style, but opted to attempt a Wildcat pass from Ricky Williams at the goal line that was picked off in the end zone. A surprising call, considering that Ricky has been very efficient in the red zone. The Bills followed the interception with a good drive of their own, but eventually missed a field goal, giving the ball back to Miami. The Dolphins then marched down the field and took the lead with a Chad Henne touchdown pass.
A couple drives later, Buffalo was able to tie it up with 31-yard run by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Bills interim head coach, Perry Fewell, benched previous starter Trent Edwards in favor of Fitzpatrick, which definitely paid off today. Fitzpatrick finished with 246 yards in the air, along with that 31-yard touchdown scamper. But most of that passing action didn’t come until the fourth quarter.
After Miami took the lead once again in the third with a Ricky Williams touchdown run, they looked to be in complete control of this game. But then the Bills decided to take over. The Bills took a late third quarter drive that transitioned into an early fourth quarter touchdown run by Fred Jackson to tie the game. Then both teams punted it back and forth to one another before the Bills took the 17-14 lead after a 56-yard field goal by Rian Lindell with just under four minutes left in the game.
On the Dolphins comeback drive, Chad Henne threw his first interception of the game, which set up the beginning of the end for the Phins. The next play for the Bills resulted in a 51-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens to put the bills up by ten. Then Henne threw his second INT on the following drive in which the Bills followed up with another Fred Jackson touchdown run. Henne threw his final interception with under a minute to play, but by then it was too late anyway, as the Bills came away victorious at home, 31-14.
This loss really hurt Miami, who up until that fourth quarter had really outplayed this Bills team. But football is a game of four quarters, and it seems that the Dolphins have yet to figure out how to master the most important one. This Miami team had really turned around a troublesome start of the season, inching closer to a possible playoff bid, and maybe even another division title. But the latter of those two now seems out of reach unless the Patriots go backwards as well, and the Ravens victory against the Steelers tonight placed Miami’s wildcard hopes in turmoil. There is a chance for these Phins to still reach the promised land, but now it rests in the ultimate test next week… beating the New England Patriots.
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Written by Josh Souder