SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2008
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA
4:05 PM EST
CBS / CBS HD
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Kevin Harlan
COLOR ANALYST: Rich Gannon
DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket:
Channel 714 / Channel 714-1 (HD)
Bills Radio Network
PLAY-BY-PLAY: John Murphy
COLOR ANALYST: Mark Kelso
SIDELINE REPORTER: Paul Peck
Miami Dolphins Radio Network
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Jimmy Cefalo
COLOR ANALYSTS: Jim Mandich, Joe Rose
Sirius Sunday Drive
Channel 121 (Buffalo feed)
Channel 130 (Miami feed)
REGULAR-SEASON SERIES RECORD: Dolphins lead, 50-34-1.
PLAYOFF RECORD: Bills 4, Dolphins 1.
LAST MEETING: October 26, 2008 – Dolphins 25, Bills 16
Olean Times Herald coverage:
A dismal day for the Bills in Miami
POLLOCK: Buffalo’s ‘D’ had big part in this loss
Bills Notebook: A new deal for Jauron?
POLLOCK: For Bills, it was just one bad quarter
When Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run put Buffalo up 16-7 on the opening drive of the third quarter, most Bills fans probably thought their team was well on the way to locking up its eighth victory in the last nine games against the hated Dolphins.
So much for that idea. The Bills never scored again, and Miami took advantage of four fourth-quarter turnovers – plus a safety on a sack/strip by Joey Porter – to cruise home with a nine-point win.
“Just watching the tape, it seemed like that once one thing went wrong, another thing went wrong, and it just kind of kept going and going,” Bills quarterback Trent Edwards said. “We never stopped the bleeding or could put some points on the board. We never could give our defense a rest and it was just one of those games where the floodgates just opened in the fourth quarter. I’ve been part of those games before in the past and it’s frustrating to come in the next day to watch the film and you just have to listen to your coaches and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
The Dolphins took an early lead as Chad Pennington went after injured cornerback Terrence McGee on back-to-back plays, then finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Anthony Fasano. The Bills seemed poised to counter, but two first-half trips inside the Fins’ 20 – including a first-and-goal at the 5-yard line that bogged down at the 1 – produced just six points. A third Rian Lindell field goal on the last play of the half gave the visitors a slim 9-7 lead, but they headed into the locker room knowing they’d left some points on the field.
“It’s just all about everybody finishing,” tackle Jason Peters said. “If one player doesn’t block, the play’s not going to work. We just all have to get on the same level and finish our blocks and that’s the difference. If you don’t finish, you’re not getting in.”
Lynch left no doubt on his touchdown run, powering over left end for the 8-yard score to put the Bills up by nine. Pennington responded, once again targeting McGee on a 64-yard catch-and-run by Ted Ginn. The drive stalled, but rookie kicker Dan Carpenter’s field goal brought the Fins back within a touchdown. A quick Buffalo three-and-out set up Ricky Williams’ three-yard touchdown run to put the Fins ahead, and the Bills’ fourth-quarter ineptitude kept them there.
Edwards started handing out presents on the first snap of the final period, when cornerback Will Allen intercepted a pass meant for Lee Evans and returned it to the Buffalo 34. The Dolphins offense failed to move the ball, but Carpenter’s second field goal extended their lead to 20-16. The young Bills quarterback was equally generous on their next drive, extending the ball on a third-and-1 sneak at the Miami 31, only to have linebacker Joey Porter pull it out of his grasp.
“I can’t reach the ball like that,” Edwards said afterward. “I don’t have a ton of experience with QB sneaking like that. It didn’t really feel like we had gotten the first down and I was trying to get a little more of a push and felt I could reach it out a little bit. When I reached it out, they took it out of my hands. It’s a learning experience that won’t happen again.”
After a Miami punt pinned the Bills at their own 3, Porter beat Peters to the inside on a third-and-10 play, forcing another Edwards fumble. Center Duke Preston fell on the ball in the end zone to give up the safety; the ensuing drive ended with Carpenter’s third field goal, and Robert Royal fumbled away Buffalo’s last serious chance to score.
“We turned the ball over,” Peters said. “You can’t beat an NFL team turning the ball over four and five times. Every time we had a drive, we turned it over. We beat ourselves and the Dolphins capitalized on every time we turned the ball over and we left the game out there for them to get and they took it from us.”
LAST TIME IN BUFFALO: December 9, 2007 – Bills 38, Dolphins 17
Olean Times Herald postgame coverage:
Bills find a QB and two running backs
POLLOCK: Suddenly, Bills-Browns has meaning
Bills’ Notebook: Jauron gets 50th win; Lindell sets record
Through the years, Ralph Wilson Stadium has been notoriously unkind to young quarterbacks, and Dolphins second-round pick John Beck was no exception. He tripped on his first play from scrimmage, took three sacks on five dropbacks, lost a fumble that George Wilson returned for a Bills touchdown, and lasted just three Miami possessions before Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron mercifully pulled the plug and sent in Cleo Lemon. Beck hasn’t started a game for the Fins since that day, and with a new quarterback-of-the-future on the roster, he probably never will.
He wasn’t the only one having problems, though. First-round pick Ted Ginn jump-started the Bills offense by muffing a punt early in the game, turning the ball over at his own 28, and it took Trent Edwards just three plays to find Robert Royal for the first of four touchdown passes on the day. The two would hook up again a few minutes later, and by the time Wilson crossed the goal line to give Buffalo a 21-0 lead just 10:25 into the game, everyone in the stadium knew a beatdown was at hand.
Lemon had his own problems, fumbling four times (losing one) and throwing interceptions on back-to-back second-quarter drives. Buffalo added another score on Lee Evans’ highlight-film catch, and led 31-7 at the half. The Bills were in cruise control for most of the second half, with Edwards capping off his afternoon by hitting Evans for a 70-yard touchdown.
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