It's been five weeks since the Miami Dolphins faced their AFC East rivals, the Buffalo Bills. The Bills won the first meeting, in Buffalo, 19-14. The two teams will meet for the second time tomorrow, with the Bills having lost three of their four game since the Dolphins win, falling to 5-9 on the season and last place in the division. The Dolphins are two and two over the four games since that contest, holding a 6-8 record, somehow staying in the playoff hunt despite the losing record.
Looking back at the first match up, the Dolphins simply were falling apart during their Thursday Night nationally televised game. The Bills game was the third loss in a row for Miami, and the team had been unable to run the ball, pass the ball, stop the run, or stop the pass. The Dolphins only gained 184 yards of total offense during the game, but they were close enough at the end of the game to have a chance to win it.
Unfortunately, rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was 14-for-28 for 141 yards and a touchdown on the day, threw his second interception of the game on, what could have been the game winning drive, and gave the win to Buffalo. Since that game, Tannehill has only thrown one more interception, the next week in a win over the Seattle Seahawks, with four touchdown passes.
Miami's running game struggled throughout the game, with Daniel Thomas, who was placed on injured reserve this week, leading the team with 12 carries for 33 yards. Starting running back, Reggie Bush, was held to 20 yards on 10 carries.
On the opposite side, the Dolphins allowed C.J. Spiller to run 22 times for 91 yards, his highest yardage total since Week 2.
The special teams both disappointed and excited on the day. The Bills opened the scoring with a Leodis McKelvin 79-yard punt return touchdown just 1:30 into the contest. After Buffalo kicked a field goal later in the first quarter, Miami returner Marcus Thigpen returned the kickoff 96 yards for a score.
The scoring for the remainder of the game featured three Buffalo field goals before Miami scored the only offensive touchdown of the game, a Davone Bess touchdown catch with 8:42 remaining.
Miami was penalized six times during the game, with cornerback Nolan Carroll accounting for four of those penalties for 56 yards.
The Bills sacked Tannehill three times during the game, including one from Mario Williams, who has been nearly invisible all season for Buffalo. Williams had his best game of the season, abusing rookie tackle Jonathan Martin for most of the game. Martin has since moved from right tackle to left tackle after the Dolphins lost Jake Long to a season ending triceps tear.
The Dolphins come into this game holding on to the slimmest of playoff chances. They have to avenge the Week 11 loss tomorrow if they are going to continue to hold out hope for a playoff berth and a non-losing season, which would be the first .500 or better performance for Miami since their 11-5 season in 2008. The entire team has to play better against the Bills than the performance they had in Buffalo.
The game kicks off at 1:00pm Eastern tomorrow.