Miami Dolphins

Season on the brink after Miami Dolphins 'embarrassed' by Buffalo Bills

Bills linebacker Preston Brown intercepts a pass by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and returns it 44 yards for a touchdown Sunday. Tannehill threw three interceptions.
Bills linebacker Preston Brown intercepts a pass by Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill and returns it 44 yards for a touchdown Sunday. Tannehill threw three interceptions.

It’s hard to say which moment was the worst from the Dolphins’ home opener Sunday.

Was it when Ryan Tannehill watched helplessly from his knees as Preston Brown returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown?

Maybe it was the cascading boos from the near-sellout crowd that sent the home team into the locker room at the half.

Or how about when Charles Clay, Chris Hogan and Dan Carpenter — all former Dolphins — combined to outscore their old team.

Certainly it would be tough to top the wife of Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes leaving the stadium in handcuffs after allegedly head-butting a cop.

Any one of these moments would ruin a normal Sunday. But put together, they made for arguably the worst Dolphins Sunday in some time.

Miami Herald reporter Adam Beasley reports from Sun Life Stadium following the Dolphins' 41-14 loss to Buffalo. The embarrassing loss was compounded by the arrest of cornerback Brent Grimes' wife, Miko Grimes. The Dolphins next visit London to pla

The Dolphins are a team in crisis. There’s no getting around it now, not after a 41-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills that deservedly dropped the Dolphins into sole possession of last place of the AFC East.

A case could be made that they’re the worst team in the AFC — period. Miami, with a mandate to win from its owner, is one Jarvis Landry punt return away from starting the season 0-3.

And up next: a transatlantic flight to London, where the Dolphins “host” the Jets.

“We’ve got to win next week,” Mike Pouncey said. “Next week is a must-win. If we don’t win next week, there’s going to be a lot of [angry] guys around here.”

Pouncey then used an even stronger word to describe how he felt at halftime, with the Dolphins down 27-0 and the home crowd booing: “Embarrassed.”

Hard to think that anyone in the organization, including owner Stephen Ross, felt any different.

This entire season is a referendum on Ross’ decision to stick with Joe Philibin (and to an extent, Dennis Hickey) after last year’s 8-8 disappointment.

High expectations

Ross set expectations high when, on the first day of training camp, he boasted of having the most talented Dolphins roster in years.

Left unsaid: It’s up to Philbin, Bill Lazor and especially Kevin Coyle to make it work.

So far, they’ve done the opposite.

Through three games, the Dolphins (1-2) have been outscored 74-51 and outgained 1,173-1,033.

And Ndamukong Suh, the $114 million answer to the Dolphins’ running game woes, has not been a difference maker. Yes, on Sunday he had four tackles, including two for loss.

But the fact remains: The Dolphins defense is no better with him in 2015 than it was without him in 2014.

“The last three games, teams have been dictating to us,” Suh said. “Obviously, we are putting ourselves in a tough place and we need to start faster.”

To say the least. The Bills (2-1) had the ball 10 times, not including a final kneel-down.

They scored four touchdowns, kicked two field goals and missed another. They only punted three times. Tyrod Taylor completed 21 of 29 passes for 277 yards and three touchdowns — including one each to Clay and Hogan.

Tough start

Ryan Tannehill, meanwhile, had a disastrous start. He threw three first-half interceptions. One was on a dropped pass. Another was caused by a blindside hit. And the third was just a flat-out bad throw; “completely on me,” he said. Tannehill finished 26 of 49 for 297 yards and two meaningless touchdowns.

Granted, Tannehill wasn’t the only reason they lost. But if his supporting cast remains as uninspiring as it has been, he might need to play at an elite level for the Dolphins to have any chance to win. And for his part, Tannehill thinks he can do it.

“Definitely,” he said. “Definitely. I think I can make a lot more plays early in the game. Obviously, it takes a group effort, but it starts with me. It starts with me making good decisions, good passes and getting us into good situations.”

He better. Joe Philbin’s job depends on it.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

Related stories from Miami Herald