A Dismal Performance

The Dolphins made some history on Sunday at Buffalo, but it really wasn't the right kind. By losing 21-0, they became the first team since 1977 to win by shutout one week and get shut out the next. The loss also means that for the first time in franchise history the Dolphins will miss the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season.

The game was every bit as ugly as the final score indicated, if not more. It was a day to forget in just about every aspect, but none more so than the performance of quarterback Joey Harrington.

In what had to be the worst QB display for the Dolphins since Ray Lucas' infamous flop against -- who else? -- Buffalo in 2002, Harrington completed 5 of 17 passes for 20 yards with two interceptions before mercifully being replaced by Cleo Lemon midway through the fourth quarter.

Sure, the conditions were difficults, with a lot of rain and a heavy wind, but that didn't prevent Bills quarterback J.P. Losman from throwing three touchdown passes, to tight end Robert Royal, and to wideouts Josh Reed and Lee Evans.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins could barely complete a pass 10 yards downfield.

If it wasn't Harrington missing a receiver, then it was either a Randy McMichael, or a Sammy Morris or a Chris Chambers dropping a pass.

It was a brutal display of offense for the Dolphins, who actually only trailed 7-0 at halftime.

But the Dolphins were particularly brutal in the third quarter, when they failed to get a first down in the first three possessions.

The Dolphins actually had a big opportunity early in the second half after Jason Taylor -- who had another big game -- stripped Losman from behind and Kevin Carter recovered the loose ball at the Buffalo 44.

But on the very next play, Harrington was intercepted by Dolphins killer Nate Clements while trying to hit Chambers down the seam.

The Bills followed that interception with Losman's TD pass to Reed, who just waltzed through between safeties Yeremiah Bell and Renaldo Hill's mediocre tackle efforts at the 3-yard line.

Harrington's other pick came when he tried to hit Chambers between three defenders in the fourth quarter and the ball was picked off by rookie linebacker Keith Ellison.

That interception led to the third touchdown, a 21-yard pass to Evans.

The Dolphins had a chance to avoid the shutout, their first shutout loss since the ugly Cleveland game last November, when Lemon drove them to a first-and-goal at the 2 in the final seconds.

But four incompletions followed a spike, the last coming after the Dolphins got an extra down because of a defensive penalty.

The game actually started out well for the Dolphins, who moved the ball on the ground going against the wind in the first quarter.

The first drive, however, stalled when Wes Welker was tackled after a 2-yard gain on fourth-and-4 from the Buffalo 31-yard line.

The second drive ended when Sammy Morris was stuffed for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the Buffalo 24.

From that point on, the Dolphins never drove deeper than the Buffalo 44 until their final drive.

After playing so well for so many weeks, this was a pretty sad to get mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. It also served as a reminder that the Dolphins still have work to do.


Dolphins Report Top Stories