Bills 23, Dolphins 21

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills: Keys to the game

 

dneal@MiamiHerald.com

DOLPHINS PASS PROTECTION VS. BILLS PASS RUSH

Who won: Bills

The impact: The Dolphins won more rounds, Buffalo struck the biggest punches to take the decision. Zero: that’s how many sacks the Dolphins allowed in the first 53 minutes, although quarterback Ryan Tannehill took some hits in the pocket. But one Mario Williams sack on which right tackle Tyson Clabo got his ankles broken, short-circuited a Dolphins drive. On the next possession, Williams sacked Tannehill, forcing a fumble that led to the winning field goal.

DOLPHINS LINEBACKER PASS COVERAGE VS. BILLS RUNNING BACKS, TIGHT ENDS

Who won: Bills

The impact: The Bills didn’t ask Thad Lewis, who went to high school at Hialeah-Miami Lakes, to do much down the field. Which makes it all the more inexplicable that Buffalo’s shifty running back Fred Jackson and the Bills’ lumbering tight ends Scott Chandler and Lee Smith kept roaming free. Those three combined for seven catches for 85 yards and helped keep Buffalo’s defense from getting drained. Time of possession was nearly even, 30:12 to 29:48, for the Bills.

DOLPHINS SPECIAL TEAMS VS. BILLS SPECIAL TEAMS

Who won: Bills

The impact: Dolphins kicker Caleb Sturgis missed a 51-yard field goal attempt, while Buffalo kicker Dan Carpenter made kicks of 39, 20 and 31 yards. Also, Buffalo’s second touchdown came after a 40-yard field position swing caused by Dolphins rookie Don Jones unwisely downing a 74-yard punt. Not only was the ball still bouncing toward Buffalo’s goal line, but he was the first to touch it after being pushed out of bounds. The penalty for illegal touching caused a re-punt.

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