The Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills faced off in Week 7, with the winless Dolphins looking to show they are not as bad as people think while the Bills came in looking to move to 5-1 and keep the pressure up on the New England Patriots in the division standings. After Miami gave Buffalo a scare at halftime, the second half looked like the better team taking it to the winless team, and Buffalo secured the victory.
Dolphins 21 - Bills 31
Second Half Recap
Miami started the second half with the lead and the ball. Coming back from the break up 14-9, the Dolphins looked to extend the lead with a sustained drive. The Dolphins had two players called for holding on the first play of the half, setting up a 1st-and-20, with Ryan Fitzpatrick able to find Mike Gesicki for a 11-yard gain. After an incomplete pass targeting Durham Smyth, Fitzpatrick again looked toward Gesicki, who made a beautiful catch as he was running down the seam, and he twisted around to complete the reception for a 17-yard gain and a first down. Mark Walton then picked up a yard before Fitzpatrick looked toward DeVante Parker, who scored the second Miami touchdown in the first half, picking up 11 yards on the pass. Walton was stopped for no gain on the next play, then Fitzpatrick was able to find Parker again, this time for 14 yards. Walton picked up seven yards on first down, then Fitzpatrick fell as his foot was stepped upon by center Evan Boehm, resulting in a three-yard loss. The quarterback then added 12 yards on a scramble, moving the chains again for the Dolphins. A holding play backed up Miami into a 1st-and-20 again, but a roughing the passer call on the next snap game Miami a new set of down at the Bills’ 13-yard line. Drake picked up no yards on first down, then Fitzpatrick threw to Drake, who turned up field and gained nine yards. After Walton was stopped for no gain, Miami tried to get a measurement ahead of their 4th-and-1 play, but were forced to use a timeout. The team then lined up for a field goal, only to have Matt Haack, the punter and holder, run on the fake and convert for the first down. Fitzpatrick was stopped for a ten-yard loss when Jordan Phillips blew up the line and stopped the quarterback from getting a handoff completed. Fitzpatrick then looked for Isaiah Ford on 2nd-and-Goal, but the ball was intercepted by Tre’Davious White.
Starting at their own two-yard line, the Bills handed the ball to Patrick DiMarco on first down, with the fullback picking up four yards and giving Buffalo a little breathing room. Frank Gore then made sure they were out of danger as he picked up 15 yards. Devin Singletary added another three yards before Josh Allen threw a six-yard pass to John Brown. Gore then picked up another five yards before a long pass from Allen to Duke Williams for 23 yards. Allen then threw to Gore for 11 yards, then to Cole Beasley for five yards. Singletary picked up four yards as the third quarter ended. Coming back from the change of sides of the field, a holding penalty backed the Bills into a 3rd-and-7, but Allen was able to covert with an eight-yard pass to Beasley. Allen then found Brown for the 20-yard touchdown, followed by a successful two-point conversion on an Allen run. Buffalo 17-14.
Miami started the drive with an eight-yard run from Walton, the another three-yard run, then another eight-yard carry. Drake came in and lost a yard before an incomplete pass ended Miami’s drive. The Dolphins were forced to punt.
Allen looked deep to Brown again to start the next drive, gaining 24 yards on the out-route. Gore then picked up three yards. Allen found Dawson Knox for two yards on 2nd-and-7, then an incomplete pass on third down led to a Buffalo punt.
Starting at their own eight, Miami started with a 14-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Preston Williams. The next play saw Fitzpatrick find Williams again, but the receiver fumbled and the Bills recovered.
After a three-yard run from Gore, Allen found Isaiah McKenzie a for 10 yards. Then Allen threw to Beasley for the three-yard touchdown. Bills 24-14.
An incomplete pass started the drive for Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins. On 2nd-and-10, Mike Gesicki went up and made a great high-point catch down the seam, only to have a holding penalty negate what would have been a 28-yard play. On 2nd-and-20, Fitzpatrick could not connect with Allen Hurns, then he missed Williams on third down, and Miami punted.
Buffalo looked to run clock on the next drive, starting with a two-yard run from Gore. Then he lost one yard. On 3rd-and-9, after Miami had called time outs after each of the first two plays, Singletary picked up three yards and Buffalo punted.
After a good return from Williams set up Miami at their own 40-yard line, Fitzpatrick found Gesicki for four yards. Williams was called for a false start on the next play, leading to a 2nd-and-11, but the Bills were then called for defensive pass interference, leading to a first down for the Dolphins. Fitzpatrick found Parker for 10 yards, then Drake for two yards. After two incomplete passes, Fitzpatrick floated a ball toward Gesicki, who went up and caught the pass, converting the 4th-and-8 attempt. Another incomplete pass was followed by a six-yard pass to Williams, followed by a 17-yard pass to Allen Hurns as Fitzpatrick scrambled away from pressure. After the 2-minute warning, Fitzpatrick looked for WIlliams in back of the endzone, but Williams could not get his feet in bounds. The Fitzpatrick took it upon himself and scrambled 11 yards for the touchdown. Buffalo 24-21.
Miami attempted the onside kick, with Micah Hyde able to jump up and catch the ball off the high bounce, land with an open lane in front of him and score to push Buffalo back out to a 10-point lead. Buffalo 31-21.
The Dolphins started the drive with a botched shotgun snap, leading to a 19-yard loss. Drake then picked up 11 yards for Miami, followed by a 27-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Hurns. Drake picked up 26-yards on the last play of the game, with the clock running out just before he stepped out of bounds.
The Dolphins definitely miss Xavien Howard, who was inactive this week as he continues to deal with a knee injury. In the second half, Allen started to attack the secondary, particularly with Brown, and Miami could not answer.
The second half continues to be the weakness of the Dolphins. They just seem to lose any momentum they may have in the first half, and they cannot find a rhythm in the second 30-minutes.
Mike Gesicki was a beast in this game. He was looking more and more like the tight end the Dolphins need him to be. He was able to use his size to go up and catch high passes, and he was acrobatic in some of the ways be contorted to make the catch. He was impressive.
This team is not tanking. They are fighting and they are playing much better football. There are still issues and they have to clean up some things - and get some players back from injury - but they are starting to look better.