Second Half Miscues Drop Dolphins, Lose 31-21 In Buffalo

The Dolphins put up a strong effort against the Buffalo Bills, but a couple of costly mistakes in the second half proved too much to overcome.

Cornerback TreDavious White came up with an interception near the Buffalo goal line and forced a fumble to set up a touchdown in leading the Bills to a 31-21 victory at New Era Field.

The Dolphins had their first halftime lead of the season, thanks to a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Kalen Ballage and a 12-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to wide receiver DeVante Parker.

Fitzpatrick scored on an 11-yard run with 1:45 left to give the Dolphins a chance to pull out a late victory, but Buffalo clinched the victory when Micah Hyde recovered the onside kick between players and returned the kick 45 yards for a touchdown.

Fitzpatrick, who made his first start at quarterback since Week 2 against the New England Patriots, had a 145.8 passer rating (highest possible is 158.3) in the first half to help the Dolphins take a 14-9 lead into halftime. In the second half, Fitzpatrick became the 46th player in NFL history to reach 30,000 career passing yards.

The Dolphins had a chance to extend their 14-9 lead after taking the second-half kickoff and driving to a first-and-goal from the Buffalo 2-yard line.

That’s when the game turned.

On first-and-goal, former Dolphins defensive tackle Jordan Phillips ran through a hole at the line and dropped Fitzpatrick for a 10-yard loss before Fitzpatrick had a chance to make a handoff.

On second-and-goal, White stepped in front of the intended receiver to pick off Fitzpatrick near the sideline at the 2.

The second costly turnover came with the Dolphins trailing 17-14 and on a first-and-10 from their 22. Fitzpatrick hit Preston Williams with a pass in the middle of the field, but White punched the ball out and Jerry Hughes recovered the loose ball and returned it the Dolphins 16-yard line.

Three plays later, quarterback Josh Allen threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley to make it 24-14 after the extra point.

Allen ended the game with two touchdown passes, included a 20-yard thrown to John Brown that capped a 98-yard drive that gave Buffalo the lead after White’s interception. Allen ran in for the two-point conversion after that score.

The Dolphins took two different leads in the first half, the first after Ballage’s run and the second coming with Fitzpatrick’s pass to Parker. It marked a third consecutive game with a touchdown reception for Parker.

Defensive end Taco Charlton and linebacker Vince Biegel each came up with sacks in the first half. It was Charlton’s third in four games with the Dolphins.

Rookie defensive end Christian Wilkins was ejected on the third play of the game for throwing a punch at Buffalo offensive lineman Cody Ford.

That left the Dolphins without four defensive starters, with cornerback Xavien Howard, safety Reshad Jones and defensive end Avery Moss all inactive because of injuries.

The offensive line was without starting center Daniel Kilgore, who was replaced by five-year veteran Evan Boehm. Rookie Shaq Calhoun replaced Boehm at right guard while making his first NFL start.

Buffalo moved into Dolphins territory on its first three possessions, but the Miami defense stiffened and held the Bills to three Steven Hauschka field goals.

After falling behind 6-0, the Dolphins took their first lead with a 75-yard touchdown drive that began with a 35-yard completion from Fitzpatrick to Preston Williams. Ballage ended the drive with his touchdown run on third-and-1 from the 3-yard line.

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After Buffalo’s third field goal gave the Bills a 9-7 lead, the Dolphins responded with another 75-yard drive. The big play on the drive was a 22-yard completion from Fitzpatrick to Albert Wilson between defenders. The scoring play came when Fitzpatrick hit Parker on a crossing pattern after running a naked bootleg.

The Dolphins couldn’t get on the scoreboard again after that.

Miami’s next game will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Monday night, Oct. 28.

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