It could have been worse. JP Losman could’ve beaten them. Just trying to find some way to keep from shaking my head and wondering what has happened. It doesn’t seem like it was the same season but a month and a half ago the Bills were 5-2, tied for first in the AFC East and Miami was in the cellar at 0-7.
After today’s loss, both teams are 5-9 but the Dolphins hold the tiebreaker. The Bills continue to ride the express train to 5-11 and an unthinkable last place finish in the division. There were some familiar themes in the Bills 7th straight loss but some new ones too. Despite the fact they scored 23 points(16 came in the 4th quarter when Miami had pretty much wrapped this up) Ryan Fitzpatrick continues his second half of the season slide.
Fitzpatrick once again was off target on too many throws and made some bad decisions on others. I can wrap his struggles up in 2 third quarter plays. Dolphins qb Matt Moore threw a beautiful bomb to Brandon Marshall that he turned into a 65 yard TD. The throw was perfectly placed so Marshall didn’t have to break stride as Drayton Florence ran step for step with him. After that I tweeted that Fitzpatrick can’t make that throw. He’s missed a handful of deep passes to open receivers the last few weeks.
On the very next series, Fitzpatrick had a wide open Stevie Johnson ready to haul in a TD pass for the perfect answer, one that would again bring the Bills within a touchdown. Johnson beat Vontae Davis and was open from the 20 yard line in but the ball sailed over his head by a good 5 yards and fell incomplete. You can’t blame lack of chemistry here. He wasn’t trying to hook up with Derek Hagan, it was his number one receiver who he has made numerous throws to over the last 2 seasons.
On the very next play, Fitzpatrick’s lack of accuracy was turned into an interception. His pass for Brad Smith(who had 3 Dolphins around him) was low and behind Smith, bounced off a knee, went up into the air and into the hands of a Dolphins defender.
You’d think the quarterback’s inconsistencies would lead the Bills to lean more on the run game but Chan Gailey continues to show too much faith in Fitzpatrick. CJ Spiller ran for 64 yards on 8 carries in the first half including a 24 yard touchdown. That came right after he ripped off an 18 yard run. The 42 yards rushing in back to back plays were more than the Bills got against Miami during the entire game last month. But Spiller, who was the Bills best player on the day, got only 4 carries in the 2nd half. You can’t blame it on the game being out of control. Buffalo was down 13-7 at the half and 20-7 after three quarters. There’s no need to give up on the running game when it was the best part of the offense.
Crazy stat #1: The Bills were 0-11 on third down which means they didn’t convert a single 3rd down play against the Dolphins this season since they were 0-12 in the first meeting.
Odd play call note: The Bills brought in Brad Smith in part to run the wildcat yet it was Tashard Choice in charge of the wildcat on a 3rd and 1 in the 1st quarter. He couldn’t handle the snap cleanly, was taken down for no gain and the Bills had to punt.
The defense actually took the ball away 3 times, were very good in the red zone in the first half and came up with a goal line stand. But they got gashed on the ground as Reggie Bush had a career best 203 yards rushing and they made Matt Moore look like something other than an average quarterback. He threw for 5 TD’s and wasn’t picked in the 2 games against the Bills. In the bigger picture, the Bills gave up at least 30 points for the 6th time in 14 games and that leads the league.
“Just their luck”: At the end of the 2nd quarter the defense gets a takeaway, the offense drives down the field and lines up for a Dave Rayner 26 yard field goal attempt. A chippy for a guy who has hit from 50 plus yards, right? He missed it left.
I’ll close with crazy stat #2 with thanks in part to Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News. He pointed out the Bills began last season 0-8 and might finish this season 0-9. As odd as that is, I pointed out that in between, that same team compiled a 9-6 record. 0-8 to 9-6 to potentially 0-9? It could only happen here.