It's not like the Bills had some magic formula for the final quarter. They had been struggling down the stretch as well, a flaw that helped cost Dick Jauron his job.
"Twenty-four to nothing in the fourth quarter to a team that was having trouble finishing themselves," Sparano said. "My hat's off to them. They did a better job than we did. ... My fault. I've got to take responsibility for it. We had 10 days to prepare and I didn't do a good enough job obviously of preparing them."
Next up is New England, against whom the Dolphins opened the second half of their Nov. 8 game with a long touchdown drive, then promptly went into shut-down mode the rest of the afternoon in a 27-17 loss.
Over their last five losses, the Dolphins have been outscored 76-17 in the final quarter, including 49-0 over their last three defeats. They did manage to outscore the Falcons 7-3 in the fourth quarter of the opener, but that was basically a garbage-time touchdown after Atlanta went up 19-0.
"Obviously what we're doing now is not doing the trick," Dolphins linebacker Jason Taylor said of those fourth-quarter woes. "We need to go back and continue to work on it, continue to look at it. I can't diagnose it right now for you. It cost us the game again."
The Dolphins have tried everything imaginable to reverse this disturbing trend. They have taken to rotating players at every spot on defense except for cornerback, although the safety rotation has pretty much gone away.