NOTEBOOK: Versatility Keys Division Win For Miami; Other Notes

Posted Dec 23, 2012

Effective ground and air attack frustrates Bills.

The Miami Dolphins kept the Buffalo Bills defense on their heels with an accurate passing game combined with strong running by Reggie Bush, Lamar Miller and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. An aggressive defense never allowed Buffalo’s offense to find a rhythm until the outcome was pretty much decided.

Statistical Milestones

When running back Reggie Bush ran it into the end zone from a yard out he became the first player this season to score a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the same game and the first since Lex Hilliard against Houston on December 27th, 2009.. … Bush’s second touchdown reception in the third quarter gave him three for the game. The last time a Miami player scored three touchdowns in a game was on November 19th, 2009, when running back Ricky Williams at the Carolina Panthers on a Thursday night. … Cameron Wake’s sack of Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick late in the third quarter gave him 15 for the season, tying him for sixth all-time in team history with Adewale Ogunleye (2003). He also forced a fumble on the play. … The 30-yard catch by rookie wide receiver Rishard Matthews late in the second quarter was the longest reception of his career. … Wide receiver Armon Binns caught his first pass as a Dolphin in the third quarter on Miami’s third touchdown drive, a 6-yarder on third down that resulted in a first down at the Buffalo 14.

Turning Point

Midway through the first quarter of a scoreless game, the Bills were driving deep in Miami territory and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with wide receiver Stevie Johnson on an 8-yard slant at the Miami 17. Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith stripped Johnson of the ball and safety Reshad Jones scooped it up at the 14 and returned it 24 yards to the 38. Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill took advantage by driving the offense 62 yards on nine plays, capping it off with a 17-yard touchdown pass to running back Reggie Bush. Miami never looked back from that point. It was the first of four takeaways by the Dolphins defense in the game and three led to points (two touchdowns and one field goal).

Eye In The Sky

Right tackle Nate Garner was up to the challenge against Bills defensive end Mario Williams, especially in the early stages of the game. He successfully kept the 6-foot-6, 292-pound speed rusher at bay on a pivotal 3rd-and-6 late in the first quarter that kept Miami’s first touchdown drive alive. Williams was left trying to get a hand in the air as he was a good 3 yards away from rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. … Paul Soliai and Randy Starks occupied the guards and center up front to allow linebackers Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby to slow down C.J. Spiller at the second level on a handful of running plays in the second quarter when the Bills were pinned deep in their own end. … Defensive ends Cameron Wake, Jared Odrick and Olivier Vernon got constant pressure on Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick throughout the second half. He had to hurry a lot of his throws and took some hard hits after the throw.


The Dolphins close out the regular season at the New England Patriots next Sunday at Gillette Stadium with a 1 p.m. kickoff.

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