BBD Assistant Editor: Ryan Talbot
That one word defines today’s game against the Dolphins. Buffalo’s defense was dominant against the Dolphins. The defense accounted for seven sacks and two interceptions against the Dolphins, who looked unprepared to play.
Ryan Tannehill was held to 83 yards passing and Matt Moore passed for 53 yards and two interceptions. On the ground, Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas combined for 12 rushes for 14 yards. To say nothing went right for the Dolphins’ offense is an understatement.
Buffalo’s defense was anchored by Kyle Williams who had an outstanding game. He sacked Tannehill twice and blew up a few other plays during the game. Nickell Robey added two sacks of his own and Jerry Hughes, Mario Williams and Da’Norris Searcy all added one sack apiece.
Buffalo’s interceptions came from Jim Leonhard and Leodis McKelvin.
Offensively, Lewis went 15-of-25 for 193 yards and one interception. He also added 13 yards rushing.
Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller kept the Dolphins at bay as the two accounted for 188 yards on 39 carries and one touchdown.
It was a gutsy performance for the Bills who were without Stevie Johnson. During the game, Marquise Goodwin suffered an injury and Robert Woods was ejected for throwing a punch. Woods still led the Bills in receiving with 3 catches for 70 yards. In spite of all of the wide receiver losses, the Bills did a great job of controlling the clock.
The 2013 season is lost, but this win is a positive step in the right direction for 2014. The Bills are now 3-2 in the AFC East. A win over the Patriots would give them their first winning record in the division since 2007.
Christmas is still a few days away, but the Bills gave their fans an early present today by squishing the fish.
Final thoughts are on the way!
Thad Lewis will take a few knees and end the game. Buffalo wins 19-0!
Somehow the Bills miss a sack on a play where Moore can’t handle the snap. Moore throws the pass up and McKelvin comes down with the interception.
The pass was ruled incomplete. The pass to Clay hit the turf.
The Clay catch is getting reviewed.
We’ve reached the two-minute warning.
Moore completes a pass to Hartline for three yards and on the next play he finds Clay for 14 yards.
Miami will start from their own 28 yard line. Matt Moore is in at quarterback.
Carpenter’s 26 yard field goal increases Buffalo’s lead to 19-0.
Marrone calls a timeout with 2:30 remaining.
Jackson lands just short of the first down. A field goal here would put the game away.
Summers gains 2 yards on second down. It’s 3rd and 3 for the Bills.
Frank Summers gains five yards on his first rush of the day.
On 4th and 18, Tannehill’s deep pass goes incomplete. The Bills take over with 4:44 remaining on Miami’s 17 yard line.
Nickell Robey sacks Tannehill on second down. Robey is one of the best UDFA’s in the league this year based upon his play.
Tannehill’s second down pass also lands incomplete.
Tannehill throws the ball away on first down.
Moorman punts the ball 23 yards to the Miami 25 yard line.
On 3rd and 12, Spiller rushes the ball and fumbles. Urbik recovers the fumble and the Dolphins call their final timeout.
Buffalo loses four yards on second down to set up a 3rd and 12.
Spiller gains two yards on first down and the Dolphins call their first timeout.
The Dolphins punt and Buffalo takes over on their own 49 yard line.
Tannehill almost gets sacked again, but is able to avoid it and throw the ball away.
Wallace had a step but Tannehill’s second down pass goes incomplete.
Tannehill throws incomplete on first down.
Tannehill is coming back into the game.
The Dolphins have a great kick return but a facemask on the Dolphins brings it back to Miami’s 8 yard line.
Carpenter’s 22 yard field goal increases Buffalo’s lead to 16-0 with 6:43 remaining.
Jackson gains 1 yard on 3rd and 2.
Jackson gains 6 yards on first down and is then brought down for 2 yards on second down.
Spiller gains 7 yards to set up a 1st and 10 from the 13.
On first down, Spiller picks up five more yards.
Spiller gains 23 yards and takes the ball to the Buffalo 25 yard line.
The Bills will take over on Miami’s 48 yard line following Leonhard’s interception.
Jim Leonhard however picks up the interception for the Bills.
A false start makes it 3rd and 18 for Miami, but on the next play Moore finds Hartline for a 50 yard gain.
Moore throws incomplete on his first attempt of the game. It’ll be third and long.
On first down, Tannehill gets sacked by Kyle Williams. Tannehill is hurt on the play and a personal foul on the Dolphins is declined.
Clay gets the Carpenter kickoff and takes it to the Miami 12 before being tackled by Chris Hogan.
Carpenter’s 21 yard field goal increases Buffalo’s lead to 13-0.
Two rushes have it as 3rd and goal from the 3. On 3rd and goal, Lewis passes incomplete to Chandler.
Jackson’s 13 yard rush moves the chains again. It’ll be first and goal for Buffalo.
Jackson adds another six yards on first down.
Jackson picks up six yards to move the chains.
Lewis gains another six yards on the ground on 2nd down to end the third quarter.
Lewis gains 2 yards on the ground on first down.
A 17 yard pass to Scott Chandler picks up another first down for the Bills.
Jackson gains 8 yards on first down for the Bills on the ground.
Hogan gains four yards receiving on 3rd and 4 to pick up the first down.
Spiller gains another 4 yards on second down.
Spiller picks up 2 yards on 1st and 10.
Hogan gains four yards on a first down catch and Lewis gains 7 yards on the ground on second down. First down Bills.
Lewis just avoids getting sacked in the end zone and scrambles. An illegal use of the hands penalty on Miami will give the Bills a first down.
Spiller gets another carry on second down, this time for three yards. Eric Wood is called for holding, but the penalty is declined.
Spiller gains one yard on first down.
Buffalo will take over on their 5 yard line after the Dolphins down the Fields punt.
Tannehill avoids a sack on third down, but he’s forced to throw the ball away. The Dolphins will punt.
Thomas is stopped for no gain on 2nd down. Third and 10 on the way.
Tannehill goes play-action on first down and Hartline drops a pass thrown right to him.
Thomas gains two yards on 2nd down to move the chains.
Matthews gains 9 yards on a short pass on first down for the Dolphins.
Buffalo is getting thin at wide receiver with Johnson out, Woods ejected and Goodwin injured.
Moorman punts and Thigpen muffs the punt. The Dolphins will take over on their own 34 yard line.
On 3rd and 17, Spiller takes a screen pass for a 12 yard gain. The Bills will be forced to punt.
Jackson gains four yards on the ground on second down, but Robert Woods is called for a personal foul for punching a Dolphins player. Woods has been ejected.
On first down, Spiller is stopped for no gain.
McKelvin muffs his second kick of the day but recovers and gets the ball to Buffalo’s 18 yard line.
On 3rd and 15, Gilmore almost intercepts Tannehill. The Dolphins will punt.
Lamar Miller gains three yards on first down and then Jerry Hughes gets his 10th sack of the season.
The Bills cannot convert the first down and is forced to punt the ball. The ball goes into the end zone for a touchback.
On 2nd and 16, Jackson gains 13 yards on the ground.
Carroll was injured on the sack, but was able to walk off.
T.J. Graham picks up 14 yards to pick up the first down. On the next play, Lewis is sacked by Carroll.
On 2nd and 4, Spiller gained one yard on the ground.
Spiller starts the second half with a six yard rush.
A touchback will give the Bills the ball on their own 20 yard line.
Editor’s Halftime Thoughts:
The Buffalo Bills have had the Miami Dolphins’ number this year, at least through their first six quarters of play against them. The Bills could be on their way to a second win over Miami this season with a 10-0 halftime lead, and as the 30-minute shutout would indicate, it has a lot to defense with Buffalo’s defense.
The Dolphins have had seven possessions, and they have punted at the end of every one of them.
One key reason for this has been the Bills pass-rush, which leads the league in sacks, predictably dominating the Dolphins offensive line, which has allowed the most sacks in the league. Recognizing this mismatch, Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has had a smart plan: bring heavy pressure in third-down passing situations. Buffalo has ended four of Miami’s seven drives with third-down sacks.
Buffalo’s run defense has also been fantastic, limiting Miami to just nine yards on nine carries. The Dolphins offense has been hot in recent weeks, but the Bills have taken them out of their element today with key pressure and big plays both up front and with pass breakups on the back end.
The Bills and today’s starting quarterback, Thad Lewis, have had their ups and downs offensively. Buffalo has 205 total yards but has only reached the end zone on one of three drives into Dolphins territory, settling for a field goal on one and the other ending with Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll intercepting a Lewis overthrow.
One area where the Bills could use improvement today: special teams. Punter Brian Moorman has been shaky, with two punts under 40 yards including a 13-yard shank, while Leodis McKelvin has a net loss of seven yards on three punt returns including one that was muffed and had to be recovered by teammate Stephon Gilmore.
— Dan Hope
Miami is forced to punt and Lewis kneels to end the first half.
On 3rd and 4, Tannehill throws incomplete again, this time to Hartline.
Tannehill finds Clay for 6 yards on first down and throws incomplete deep to Wallace on second down.
Spiller made a big mistake of running out of bounds. Miami will start from their own 43 yard line after the punt.
On 3rd and 7, Spiller gets stopped for a loss of one yard.
Jackson gains three yards on first down and Spiller is stopped for no gain on second down. The Dolphins call consecutive timeouts after each play.
Nickell Robey sacks Tannehill on third down and forces the Dolphins to punt! Buffalo will take over on their own 20 yard line.
At the two minute warning, the Dolphins face a 3rd and 8 from the Bills’ 36 yard line.
Tannehill finds Thomas for a three yard pass but Thomas loses a yard on the next play.
On 2nd and 9, Tannehill throws another 13 yard pass to Wallace.
A 12 yard pass from Tannehill to Wallace moves the chains. On the next play, Thomas gains 1 yard rushing.
On first down, Tannehill throws incomplete to Hartline.
Thomas gains 1 yard on 3rd and 1 to pick up the first down.
Tannehill passes the ball for eight yards on first down to Mike Wallace. Daniel Thomas gains 2 yards on 2nd and 3.
Miami will take over on their own 26 yard line.
Jackson has no where to run the next play. On the following play, Thad Lewis throws a pass that is intercepted by Nolan Carroll.
Jackson rushes the ball 14 yards on the next play for another first down.
Spiller takes a screen 11 yards on the next play and on 2nd and 9, Graham gains 13 yards on a pass for a 1st down.
Lewis scrambles on first down, but a holding call makes it 1st and 20.
A deep pass goes incomplete to Robert Woods on 2nd down but on the next play, Lewis finds Woods for an 11 yard gain.
A neutral zone infraction leads to a 1st and 5 for the Bills. On the next play, Spiller rushes for a 1 yard gain.
Miami’s punt goes for 66 yards. The Bills will take over on their own 14 yard line.
Continuing the theme of the day, the Bills sack Tannehill on third down. This time, Mario Williams gets the sack.
Lamar Miller gains 3 yards to set up a 3rd and 2.
Tannehill throws incomplete on 2nd down, but Mario Williams is called for defensive offsides. This’ll lead to a 2nd and 5.
On 1st and 20, Tannehill finds Clay for a ten yard gain.
Offensive holding negates a 10 yard pass from Tannehill to Wallace.
Dan Carpenter’s kickoff goes for a touchback.
Jackson rushes the ball 9 yards for the touchdown! The Bills lead 10-0 after Carpenter’s extra point.
A Fred Jackson screen pass goes one yard short of a first down. On the next play, Jackson gains 2 yards on the ground for a first down.
Robert Woods gains 3 yards on a first down screen pass.
The Chandler completion ends the first quarter. Bills 3 – Dolphins 0.
Chris Hogan gets called for illegal motion on a long rush by Jackson. On 3rd and 9, Lewis finds Chandler for 15 yards. It’ll be first down on the Miami 20 yard line.
Spiller gains 3 yards on a short pass. It’s 3rd and 4 for the Bills.
Lee Smith gains 24 yards on a 2nd and 13 pass. On the next play, Spiller gained 3 yards on the ground.
Goodwin was hurt on the end around and is down on the sidelines getting attended to.
Goodwin loses two yards on a first down rush. Buffalo is trying a little bit of everything today.
Buffalo will start on their 43 yard line to start the drive.
Tannehill’s pass to Hartline was on the money on third down but the pass just doesn’t connect.
Tannehill throws incomplete to Wallace and Hartline on second and third down.
On first down, Daniel Thomas loses three yards rushing.
Moorman punts 50 yards and the Dolphins will take over on their own 20 yard line after Thigpen loses two yards on the punt return.
The Bills call a timeout. It’s 4th and 1 from the Bills’ 28 yard line.
Jackson rushes on third down for no gain.
Spiller gains 9 yards on second down after getting around the corner.
Lewis throws deep but incomplete to Goodwin on first down. Lewis actually overthrew Goodwin.
The Bills will take over on their 19 yard line after McKelvin loses 4 yards on the punt return.
Tannehill throws incomplete to Hartline on third down.
Tannehill scrambles but throws incomplete on 2nd down.
Mike Wallace gets the ball to the 30 yard line for a gain of six yards.
Marcus Thigpen gets the ball to the Miami 24 yard line on the kickoff.
Dan Carpenter gets the Bills on the board with a 45 yard field goal.
Bills 3 – Dolphins 0
Lewis overthrows Chris Hogan on 3rd down. Hogan was open.
Lewis throws incomplete on 2nd down. This sets up a 3rd and 4.
Spiller gets the ball to the Dolphins 28 yard line.
Philbin loses the challenge.
Joe Philbin is challenging that Woods went out of bounds and the 53 yard pass should be shorter.
Thad Lewis completes a deep pass to Robert Woods for 53 yards.
Jackson gains 4 yards on first down.
The Bills will start out at their own five yard line to start their next drive.
Kyle Williams sacks Ryan Tannehill on third down and the excellent field position is all for naught for the Dolphins.
Delay of game is called on the Dolphins to set up a 3rd and 13.
Nickell Robey blew up a second down play intended for Mike Wallace.
Daniel Thomas with a short gain on first down of close to two yards.
Clay catches a 13 yard pass on second down and the ball is on the Bills 33 after a muffed Brian Moorman punt.
Daniel Thomas gains 2 yards on a first down rush.
Lewis throws incomplete on third down.
A two yard rush and incomplete pass has set up a 3rd and 8.
Jackson runs for 9 yards on 3rd down.
Spiller gains four yards rushing on first down and Lewis throws incomplete on second down.
Gilmore recovered a muffed Leodis McKelvin punt and returned it for no gain.
Stephon Gilmore takes the punt to the Buffalo 21 yard line.
Da’Norris Searcy sacks Tannehill on 3rd down to force a Dolphins punt.
Lamar Miller rushes for two yards on first down and Charles Clay gains 3 yards on a reception.
The Dolphins won the coin toss and took the call to the Miami 30 yard line.
Defensively, the Bills were able to keep Ryan Tannehill under 200 yards passing in their first encounter. That’ll be difficult to accomplish again, but sending constant pressure is important.
The Bills home finale begins in less than 10 minutes. To defeat the Dolphins, C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson will have to carry the load offensively.
In the passing game, Lewis was not afraid of stretching the field but things will be more difficult without Stevie Johnson. Robert Woods will have to step up in Johnson’s absence.
Aside from the injured starters, the most notable news from today’s Bills inactives may be that tight end Tony Moeaki, who was signed by Buffalo on Dec. 4, is active for the first time since joining the roster.
Miami Dolphins inactives for today’s game:
QB Pat Devlin
RB Mike Gillislee
CB Chris Owens
CB Jalil Brown
G Danny Watkins
G David Arkin
DT A.J. Francis
All seven inactives for the Dolphins appear to be healthy scratches.
Buffalo Bills inactives for today’s game:
QB EJ Manuel
WR Stevie Johnson
SS Aaron Williams
RB Ronnie Wingo
DB Brandon Smith
OL Mark Asper
OL Antoine McClain
Manuel, Johnson and Williams — all regular starters — were listed as out on Buffalo’s injury report Friday. Starting in their respective places Sunday will be QB Thad Lewis, WR Robert Woods and SS Jim Leonhard, according to the team’s Twitter account.