It wasn't a performance that Dolphins fans were hoping for on Sunday as the Dolphins dropped to 8-7 falling to the Buffalo Bills 19-0. From start to finish, the Dolphins didn't look like the team that just defeated the New England Patriots 24-20 a week ago. Now Miami find itself no longer in control of their own playoff destiny, with a definite must win game on the horizon against the New York Jets next week.
Here are my three observations from today’s 19-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills:
Coach Joe Philbin always preaches the fundamentals and basic building blocks of football such as protecting the passer, establishing a good running game, and being able to stop the run. Today, the Dolphins struggled in all three of those aspects of the game.
1. Too Many Hits On Tannehill: There's no way to get consistency or establish a presence on offense when your quarterback is under duress for four quarters. The Miami Dolphins never found any timing or rhythm in their passing game and it seemed that of the seven sacks allowed by the offensive line, the first four sacks were in 3rd down situations, which also led to the Dolphins being 2/14 on 3rd down. Saying that,
2. Lack of Running Game: I don't feel that the Dolphins are a running team, even through the three-game winning streak. But at least it was an asset to keep the pressure in the pocket at a minimum, because you had to worry about the threat of the Dolphins running the football. When you play four quarters against a Buffalo defense that came into the game ranked 26th in rushing defense, you would expect to crank out more than 14 yards rushing for the game. The Dolphins were only able to generate 103 total yards in the game, and that's not going to win many games, no matter who the opponent is.
3. Rush Defense Falls Short: It seemed as though the Dolphins front seven never really got on track or got off of enough blocks to slow down CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson today. Too many Dolphins defenders were catching Buffalo running back five or six yards down the field, and it never seemed like they had multiple defenders around the running back. There wasn't enough rallying to the football as you'd like to see from the usually aggressive defense. Although backup quarterback Thad Lewis is 2-0 against Miami, he was not the deciding factor. It was the consistency of the running game that kept the Dolphins defense moving backwards for the majority of the game.