By Abraham Gutierrez
After an impressive win over the Pats in Week 1, Miami wasted no time giving it back, as the Dolphins went into Buffalo and laid goose eggs in three of four quarters against the Bills. The end result was a humbling 29-10 defeat, and for all intents and purposes, Joe Philbin’s team underperformed in every facet of the game.
This was an offensive nightmare, and unfortunately, one that Fins fans have gotten too used to over the past several seasons. It was less than a year ago that the Dolphins’ offensive line did such a poor job of protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill that they seemed destined to set a new record for sacks allowed.
On Sunday against the hated Bills, those old ghosts reemerged and Buffalo’s defense capitalized seemingly every time. And while the box score shows only four sacks to the Bills’ credit, Tannehill found himself flushed, and running for his life more times than offensive line coach, John Benton, would like to admit.
In the rushing department, Miami’s chances were diminished with the early exit of the NFL’s second-leading rusher, Knowshon Moreno. After rushing for 124 yards on 34 rushes in the opener, the former Georgia Bulldog did not return after an elbow injury that took place in the first quarter.
Thus, the Dolphins were forced to rely on Lamar Miller and Damien Williams to carry the heavy water and their contributions left a lot to be desired. Miami’s young duo pitched in with 46 yards on 11 carries and 19 yards on 5 rushes, respectively, which makes it very difficult on the passing game.
In the end, Miami’s offense tallied 290 total yards, 23 first downs, 31 minutes and 17 seconds in the time-of-possession category, 80 rushing yards and 210 passing yards. Miami also converted on 5-of-16 on third down and 1-for-4 on fourth down.
Unlike in the opener versus New England, the Dolphins defense couldn’t make up for all the poor play by the offense and the special teams units. However, the fact that they allowed EJ Manuel and the Bills to put points on the board in every quarter certainly justified a letter grade of C-.
In the first quarter, they were able to keep the Bills out of the end zone, forcing them to settle for a pair of field goals. In the second stanza, they did a much better job, limiting them to three points, thus, giving the offense a chance to climb back in the game following the break.
In the third quarter, with the Bills’ relentless smash-mouth ground game pounding the “D,” the floodgates opened up. Putting the game out of reach, Buffalo posted a 14-spot on the board, and despite the fact that Miami scored 10 points of their own, it was a case of “too little too late”.
In the National Football League, it’s very difficult to perform at a high level when a signal-caller is running for his life. Tannehill knows this better than any other quarterback in the league since being drafted by the Dolphins.
In this instance, the end result was 31 completions on 49 attempts for 241 yards, a touchdown and a pick for a quarterback rating of 73.6. His counterpart, Manuel, went 16-for-26 for 202 yards and a score for a QBR of 98.6.
Special Teams: D-
One of the characteristics that make up great teams is their ability to take care of the “little things” and avoid beating themselves. In a game in which the offense and the defense failed to perform at a high level, the special teams unit had a chance to be the heroes and keep things competitive.
Miami did not do that in Week 2 against the Bills, and their mistakes came back to haunt, as they consistently lost the always-crucial field-position battle. From a botched fair catch inside Miami’s 20, to a blocked punt, the Dolphins’ special teams had a game to forget.
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Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .