Bills-Dolphins Aftermath

In-depth breakdown of what went wrong Sunday, complete with more grades...

--The Bills may have suffered a key loss when WR Josh Reed went down with an Achilles strain in the second quarter against the Dolphins. Reed, the No. 2 receiver, operates out of the slot on passing downs, and his physical style is well-suited to making key third-down receptions.

"Josh is obviously a big element to our offense," QB Trent Edwards said. "He creates mismatches on those linebackers inside. He's a big third-down receiver for us. That might be part of the reason in the second half that we were not able to keep the drives alive."

--Without Reed, the Bills will have to turn to Roscoe Parrish and James Hardy more frequently, and neither player has produced much this season. Parrish, however, is eager to get involved.

"I don't know Josh Reed's status, but I'm always here," said Parrish, who has only 10 catches this season. "I always want a bigger role on offense. That's what I came in for, not to be a special teams player. Don't want to start a conflict, but I want to have more on offense and do what I do, which is make plays and do whatever I can to help the team."

--The Bills defense is not accustomed to seeing opposing players running rampant through their midst, but that was the case in Miami. The Bills had allowed only two passes of more than 30 yards all season, but they gave up three to the Dolphins, 46- and 64-yard passes to Ted Ginn and a 47-yarder to Ricky Williams.

"We pride ourselves on not giving up explosive plays; one is too many, so three makes us sick to our stomachs," S Bryan Scott said.

--Rookie TE Derek Fine sat out the first six games after undergoing thumb surgery at the end of the preseason, and rather than putting him on injured reserve the Bills carried him as an inactive player on the 53-man roster. The fifth-round draft pick made his NFL debut in Miami and played a handful of snaps. He made a nice block to help spring Marshawn Lynch for a touchdown.

"It was great being out there," Fine said. "It's definitely something I've been looking forward to for a long time. It was real tough because I had never sat out before. It's frustrating watching our tight ends play, and there's only two of them, and there's nothing I can do to help. You just try to learn from them and wait my turn."

Strategy and Personnel

PLAYER NOTES

--RB Marshawn Lynch still has not come close to rushing for 100 yards in a game, as he was held to 61 yards on 13 carries. However, his 4.7 average was a season best.

--RB Fred Jackson had 41 yards on 10 carries and had several key gains on Buffalo's third-quarter touchdown drive. On the flip side, he was stopped three times inside the 5 in the first quarter, which forced the Bills to kick a field goal.

--TE Derek Fine made his NFL debut after sitting out the first six games with a thumb injury. Fine threw a nice block on Marshawn Lynch's TD run but he did not figure in the passing game.

--LB Paul Posluszny had another solid game, as he was in on seven tackles and had a forced fumble.

--WR Roscoe Parrish continues to struggle on offense, as the Bills can't find ways to get him the ball. He had just one catch for 3 yards.

REPORT CARD VS. DOLPHINS

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- It was clearly a rough afternoon for QB Trent Edwards, who threw an interception and lost two fumbles, one on a drop-back in his end zone that resulted in a safety. Miami's game plan was to rush three or four and cover with seven or eight, and it worked well, as the Bills couldn't find too many seams in the clogged passing lanes. WR Lee Evans did his part with seven catches for 116 yards, but WRs Roscoe Parrish and James Hardy didn't have much success, and they were needed because WR Josh Reed went down with an Achilles injury in the second quarter. The line failed on the safety but otherwise had a good day because it wasn't faced with a whole lot of pressure.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- The Bills were moving the ball well on the ground when they tried, but offensive coordinator Turk Schonert got away from it in the second half. Marshawn Lynch had only 13 carries (he gained 61 yards and scored a TD) while Fred Jackson had 10 attempts for 41 yards. As a team, the Bills averaged 4.4 yards per carry as the line, minus starters Melvin Fowler and Brad Butler, opened some nice holes. The one failure on the ground came in the first quarter when, after moving to a first-and-goal at the 5, three straight runs by Jackson were foiled and the Bills settled for a field goal.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- It was a disastrous day for the secondary, particularly CB Terrence McGee. Trying to play on a sore knee that had kept him out of the previous two games, McGee was ill-prepared to stop Miami's Ted Ginn Jr., who had a career day with seven catches for 175 yards. In all, Chad Pennington threw for 314 yards, as the Bills simply had no answers for his quick passes, nor his deep balls to Ginn, which came as a surprise. Bryan Scott started at free safety in place of Ko Simpson, and the Bills tried moving SS Donte Whitner around, but nothing really worked, and it didn't help that the pass rush barely touched Pennington, who is known for getting rid of the ball quickly.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus -- The Dolphins tried to run some plays out of their Wildcat offense, but for the most part, the Bills handled it. Miami gained 34 yards on seven Wildcat runs, six of those by Ronnie Brown, who managed only 43 yards overall. The Dolphins rushed for only 52 yards, the fifth time in seven games that the Bills have held their opponent below 100. However, with all the success Miami was achieving in the air, the Dolphins didn't need to run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- The Bills have two of the best kickers in the league, there is no denying that. Rian Lindell made all three of his field-goal attempts, and P Brian Moorman had a 40.7 net average. However, the other areas where Buffalo has been strong are starting to wilt. Rookie Leodis McKelvin has not been able to get anything going on kickoff returns, and he averaged just 20.6 yards on five attempts. Roscoe Parrish's only punt return ended in a muff, and the coverage units were average at best. Long snapper Ryan Neill also had a bad snap that forced an improvised punt on the run by Moorman.

COACHING: D -- Not a good day for the Bills' brain trust. The Dolphins always seemed to be a step ahead of the Bills, and much of that was scheming and play-calling. On defense, the Bills never did anything to help an obviously struggling McGee, and they had no answers for covering Ginn or getting pressure on Pennington. On offense, the Bills seemed to give up too early on the run and put Edwards in some unforgiving third-down situations.

Courtesy of The Sports Xchange


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