Dolphins Suffer Last-Minute Loss To Bills, 23-21

Posted Oct 20, 2013

Inspired comeback from early deficit falls short in the end.

After digging themselves an early hole in the first quarter, the Miami Dolphins were on the verge of completing a crucial comeback win today at home against the Buffalo Bills. But former Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter’s 31-yard field goal with 33 seconds remaining gave Buffalo a narrow 23-21 win at Sun Life Stadium.

“I have to do a better job of getting the team ready to play. We did not come out playing very well,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “We decided to take the football and on third down we throw a pick-six. We had a penalty that was critical in the first quarter – I think they had a 44-yard drive off of that. We have to do a better job. I have to get the team ready to play better earlier, no question.”

Miami travels to New England next Sunday to face the Patriots.

Miami had stormed back from a 14-0 deficit to take a 21-17 lead in the third quarter on the strength of three Ryan Tannehill touchdown passes – two to wide receiver Brandon Gibson and one to tight end Charles Clay. It appeared that Tannehill was going to make up for his two early interceptions by engineering the comeback, but after his defense pinned the Bills deep and forced a short field on a punt, disaster struck.

Tannehill dropped back to pass on 2nd-and-8 and had the ball stripped out of his hands by Bills defensive end Mario Williams. Defensive tackle Kyle Williams recovered the loose ball at the Miami 34 and Buffalo ate up the clock while moving into the red zone to set Carpenter up for the game-winning kick.

“It’s tough. We had our chances,” Tannehill said. “Obviously, we start the game with a pick-6. That’s not the way anyone envisioned starting, then another pick in the red zone. There’s two bad plays right there that kind of dug the hole early, obviously. We did a good job battling back, but we didn’t make the plays at the end when we needed to.”

The home fans saw a glimmer of hope when Marcus Thigpen returned the ensuing kickoff 44 yards out to the Miami 46 but Tannehill couldn’t advance the ball any further. His Hail Mary pass on 4th-and-10 after scrambling to his right was knocked down in the end zone by Buffalo’s Stephon Gilmore and with that the Dolphins fell to 3-3 on the season.

Tannehill ended the day completing 19-of-37 passes for 194 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions, with Mike Wallace catching six passes for 76 yards, Brian Hartline reeling in six passes for 69 yards and Gibson grabbing five for 40. Running back Daniel Thomas led all rushers with 60 yards on 12 carriers.

Meanwhile, Miami’s defense sacked Bills quarterback Thad Lewis four times and picked off once, with safety Chris Clemons making a diving interception off a wobbly pass thrown by Lewis as he was being hit by Jared Odrick. Two of the sacks were by defensive backs – safety Reshad Jones and cornerback Dimitri Patterson.

Linebacker Philip Wheeler picked up some of the slack with starting middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe out of the lineup with a shoulder injury. He was second on the team in tackles behind Jones with eight (six solo), including one for a loss.

“Anytime you lose it’s disappointing, especially within the division, but the biggest thing for us is we’ve got to move past it,” Wheeler said. “That’s all we can do. We can’t do anything about it now but fix the mistakes and that’s what it’s always about in football. Even if you win this game it’s still about the next game, especially when it’s New England and it’s an away game.”

Tomorrow begins the corrections and the preparation for that next game within the AFC East.
Game Pass: Miami Dolphins