Three Observations From Sunday's Loss To Buffalo

Posted Oct 20, 2013

Finsiders analyst John Congemi gives his thoughts on the Dolphins 23-21 loss to Buffalo.

Coming off the bye week, the Miami Dolphins had a few goals in mind in order to get back on track.

A few of those goals were met, but unfortunately, some were not and a few costly mistakes were made, resulting in the 23-21 loss to Buffalo.

Here are my three observations from today’s loss to the Buffalo Bills:

1) Needed A Fast Start: Coming off of their bye week, the Dolphins looked to the Bills game and wanted to start fast in all three phases of the game. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, that didn’t happen on offense when on Miami’s first series, when Nickell Robey picked off Ryan Tannehill and made it 7-0 before the game even started. And that’s the last thing the Dolphins wanted to do, was give away points to Buffalo early in the football game. The Dolphins came back and went three-and-out, that compounded things and also gave Buffalo excellent field position after an illegal touching play on the special teams, made the Dolphins re-kick, and it was a net-gain of 40 yards for the Buffalo offense. After a Fred Jackson three-yard touchdown, Buffalo was up 14 points and the Dolphins aren’t in a position to give teams that kind of lead and expect to be able to come all the way back.

2) Running Game Improved: It was nice to see the Dolphins utilize both Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller, and that’s a combination that should continue to improve as long as they’re utilized correctly. Thomas ran the football with authority and I love the way he continued to gain yards after first contact. He averaged five yards every time he touched the football and he definitely took a step in the right direction, even though the end result didn’t turn out the way Dolphins fans would have liked. Miller added a spark and he was a shoelace away from breaking a 30-yard run into an easy six points in the middle of that football game. If Miami can continue to run for an average of 100 yards per game, that should help Ryan Tannehill and the passing game as the weeks progress.

3) Costly Turnover: There are turnovers in football games that good teams can overcome. And it seemed like the Dolphins were poised to overcome the two early interceptions by Ryan Tannehill. But with less than three minutes left in the game, the Dolphins took an aggressive stance in trying to throw the football against an eight-man front, but that exposes you to the responsibility of protecting the football at all costs. As Tannehill was trying to deliver a stop route to Brian Hartline, the pocket collapsed and the football was stripped by Mario Williams. Again, I like the aggressiveness of trying to take advantage of the Buffalo eight-man front, but when bad things occur, the responsibility gets shared among the protection and the quarterback. I’m not sure if the Buffalo Bills would have been able to drive 60 or 65 yards had the Dolphins run the football three times and punted it away with less than two minutes to go. It’s very easy to second-guess that now, but at the time, I think my gut would have told me I would have rather taken my chances with my defense as opposed to my pass protection that late in the game.
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