Game, Set, Season! Dolphins Loss Leaves Fans Talking Draft
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins controlled their destiny heading into their game against the Buffalo Bills. Early on, it looked as though they would walk away with a yawner and a showdown against the Patriots a week away. By the 4th quarter, the Phins were playing for their lives and by the 3 minute mark, they were playing for pride and nothing more.
The game, trapped, the season, lost. The New England game…meaningless.
It wasn’t enough that the Dolphins who had 6 sacks on Ryan Fitzpatrick, couldn’t put up more than 14 points, the team gave up 31 points to a Bills team that struggled to score at all…all season. Most of the points came at the end of the 4th quarter. The Bills tied the Phins at 14 in the second half and then took a late lead with a career long Rian Lindell 56 yard field goal. The Phins with 4 plus minutes left got a first down and seemed to be heading down for a nice game finishing drive but instead, pressure from the Bills caused Henne to throw an INT when he was hit. A play later and 51 yards downfield, Fitzpatrick hit Terrel Owens for a score that put the Bills up by 10 with 3 minutes left.
The Dolphins took the ball and made it as far as the 40 when another Henne pass was tipped and intercepted. The Bills would tack on another TD on a 1 yard score by Fred Jackson. The Phins would turn the ball over once more on their final series when yet another tipped ball would be picked off by a lineman. The Dolphins first series of the game would end at the Buffalo 3 yard line when the Phins ran the WC package and had Ricky Williams throw the ball…for an interception. It was the hint of what was to come.
The Dolphins were perhaps caught looking towards the Patriots next week, now they can look ahead to the free agent market and the NFL draft in April. Although not mathematically eliminated from the chase, they need serious help from many different teams to have a chance. Even a loss by NE on Monday night and a win next weekend, the Phins would still be two games back because of the tie breakers to the Patriots which are now in their favor.
The Phins played a Bills team that had 3 new offensive lineman and one of which wasn’t on the team a week ago. Still, the misfit bunch was able to keep the Dolphins out of the face of Fitzpatrick when it counted and when they needed it the most. The Bills came to play and the Dolphins came to play not to lose. A jarring trend for the Phins.
The Dolphins have given up huge plays following long TD drives this year, today was no different. After taking a 14 – 7 lead the Dolphins gave up a long a drive to the Bills for the tying score. Something they have done all year.
Today, the Bills are not as bad as the Dolphins thought they were, and the Dolphins are no better than the Bills. The difference between the two right now is the positions between them in next years draft…which is about all Miami Dolphins fans are talking about right now. And rightly so.