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Dolphins vs Bills 2021 final score, immediate reactions for Week 8

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins finished their annual home-and-home series against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday with a visit to Orchard Park. The game proved to be a better one for Miami, who lost 35-0 to Buffalo in Week 2, but it was not enough to end the Dolphins’ losing streak. With today’s result, Miami has now lost their last seven games, and they have lost seven in a row to the Bills.

Miami played well early in the game, but once again, penalties, dropped passes, and offensive confusion ended any chance the Dolphins had to win. The Dolphins are now 1-7 on the season.

Final Score

Dolphins 11 - Bills 26

First Quarter

The Dolphins won the coin toss, electing to defer to the second half. The Bills received the opening kick, returning it to their own 23. Quarterback Josh Allen looked to running back Devin Singletary on first down, picking up just a yard on the pass to the flat. Singletary then picked up four yards on the ground on second down before an incomplete pass as Miami safety Jevon Holland flushed Allen out of the pocket led to a three-and-out punt.

Okay, that was a good start from the defense. They were quick to the ball to make a tackle and Holland continues to be a force on defense. He made the tackle on the run from Singletary, then pressured Allen. He also returned the punt. He is going to develop into a special player.

Miami’s first possession was a solid drive, taking what the Bills would give them and making it work. Running back Myles Gaskin started the drive with a one-yard run, then quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had to throw the ball away as he was nearly sacked. Facing a 3rd-and-9, Tagovailoa threw a jump ball to DeVante Parker who, despite having a defender hanging all over him, came down with the 23-yard reception. Miami continued to attack the Bills on both the ground and through the air, never looking to force anything but keeping the ball moving. The drive stalled at the Buffalo 18-yard line, however, with Jason Sanders setting up for a 36-yard field goal. He completely miss-kicked the ball, however, and Miami came away with no points on the drive.

The Dolphins offense really did just take whatever the Bills were willing to give them. Tagovailoa had a couple of really pretty throws, with Parker’s 23-yard reception and a ball through three defenders to Parker for an eight-yard gain highlighting the drive. Do not know what happened on the kick from Sanders, but what is about an extra-point distance kick just came out sideways.

The kick was Sanders’ 100th field goal attempt, with him converting 84 of them. That makes him eligible for the all-time list among kickers; two weeks ago he was a top-ten kicker in terms of field-goal accuracy, but now he will come in at 21 with an 84-percent conversion rate.

The Bills took over at their own 26-yard line after the miss, losing a yard on the first play as defensive lineman Christian Wilkins stuffed Singletary in the backfield. After Singletary picked up six yards, the Bills were called for a false start, setting up a 3rd-and-10 play. Allen was flushed from the pocket on the play, then scrambled into a wide-open space on the field, picking up 34 yards on the run. The drive did nothing else, however, as they only picked up another yard. Buffalo converted on a 57-yard field goal to score first. Bills 3-0.

The Dolphins forgot about all the times Allen has run all over them. There was just no one anywhere near the line of scrimmage - or for the first 33 yards of the run. Other than that play, however, Miami held the Bills to six yards on five plays, not including the five-yard loss on the false start. The defense has the ability to slow the Bills offense, but they have to do it for the entire game if Miami is going to be anywhere near competitive today.

Miami started the drive with a false start, setting up a 1st-and-15 from their own 20-yard line. Tagovailoa went back to his favorite target early on the day, finding Parker on a slant that picked up 14 yards. Gaskin then picked up five yards to convert the first down, with Miami able to quickly make up for the penalty. Running back Salvon Ahmed lost three yards on the first down play, ultimately leading to a 3rd-and-13 attempt, with the Bills called for an illegal hands to the face penalty, giving the Dolphins a free first down. Tagovailoa came back to Parker for a 15-yard gain on first down, only to have offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg called for a false start on the next play. After an incomplete pass and a sack of Tagovailoa, the first quarter came to an end.

Miami has gotten so good at the good play-false start combination this year.


Second quarter

Tagovailoa was forced to throw the ball away on the 3rd-and-20 screen pass attempt after the break and the Dolphins punted.

The 3rd-and-long screen pass. Sigh.

The Bills started the drive with an 11-yard pass from Allen to Gabriel Davis, followed by an eight-yard screen pass from Allen to Diggs. After that, however, the drive stalled, and Buffalo was again forced to punt, with former Dolphins punter Matt Haack shanking the kick only 19 yards and giving Miami good field position.

The Miami defense is playing well right now. Nothing spectacular, but solid play and keeping the Bills offense from finding a rhythm

Starting at their own 35-yard line, Miami picked up two yards from Gaskin, then two yards from Ahmed. Facing a 3rd-and-6, Tagovailoa threw a pass out to the flat for Gaskin, who broke a tackle and picked up 22 yards. Ahmed then picked up eight yards on two carries before a two-yard loss from Gaskin led to another field goal attempt from Sanders. This time he connected on the 51-yard try. Tied 3-3.

The run-pass option on third down ran Gaskin straight into the blitz from the Bills. Just not a great play in that situation. But, Miami is now tied up and has scored against the Bills for the first time this year.

Buffalo picked up 20 yards on first down as Allen threw complete to a sliding Cole Beasley down the seam. After that, however, the Dolphins defense stepped up, with Wilkins pulling down Diggs on a screen pass that picked up three yards, then cornerback Byron Jones broke up a deep shot to Emmanuel Sanders, then the pass rush nearly got to Allen who threw a duck to no one. Buffalo punted.

That was a gorgeous pass breakup from Jones, who lept and got a hand on the ball over his head. If he had not gotten there, that could have been a big play for Sanders down the sideline.

Miami started deep in their own territory as Holland was lost four yards to the Dolphins’ seven-yard line on the punt return. Ahmed was able to break through for a 12-yard gain on second down, giving the Dolphins a little breathing room. Tagovailoa then found Parker for an eight-yard gain before Gaskin picked up three yards on a 2nd-and-2 play. Tagovailoa threw to tight end Mike Gesicki for three yards on the next play then Ahmed picked up a yard. On 3rd-and-6, Tagovailoa connected with running back Patrick Laird for an 11-yard gain, appearing to give Miami a first down, but an illegal shift penalty negated the gain an set up Miami with a 3rd-and-11. After an incomplete pass, Miami punted.

The penalties are absolutely killer for this team. After being so disciplined last year when it came to penalties, the Dolphins are just giving away too many yards in penalties this year. It seems like every time the team does something good, they have a penalty either negate it or on the next play. It kills so many offensive possessions or gives the opponent a free set of plays.

Buffalo began the drive with a 15-yard pass from Allen to Zack Moss, taking the clock to the two-minute warning. Allen came back after the break with a seven-yard pass to Davis, who got out of bounds to stop the clock. Allen then went back to Moss for another eight yards and a clock stoppage as he ran out of bounds. With the ball at the 50-yard line, Allen threw two incomplete passes followed by a six-yard pass to tight end Timmy Sweeney. On 4th-and-4, Allen appeared to think he had drawn the Dolphins offsides, but no flag was thrown and linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel crashed through the line, appearing to get the sack but the call was changed to an intentional grounding penalty, giving Miami the ball at the Buffalo 41-yard line.

Good defense continues for Miami. The offsides probably should have been called, but the intentional grounding would still have given the Dolphins the ball.

Miami started with the ball at the Buffalo 41 and with 46 seconds to play in the half. A Tagovailoa pass to tight end Adam Shaheen picked up eight yards, with the Dolphins using their first time out. A Gaskin run for one yard turned into a bigger play as the Bills were called for a horse collar tackle, giving the Dolphins 15 free yards and a first down. Tagovailoa then found Gesicki in the middle of the field for a five-yard gain, followed by a timeout. After an incomplete pass, Miami faced 3rd-and-5 from the Buffalo 12-yard line, with the snap hitting Gesicki as he went in motion, leading to a recovery from the Bills and Miami losing a golden opportunity to take the lead at the half.

How does that happen? Twice. Gesicki was nearly hit with the snap on the illegal shift play earlier in the game, then had the same thing happen on this play, but the ball actually did hit him. Just horrible execution by the Dolphins.

Allen knelt to kill the clock.


Third quarter

Miami started the half with the ball at their own 21-yard line after Jaylen Waddle’s return. Myles Gaskin picked up two yards to start the drive, then Tagovailoa found Parker for a yard; a flag was thrown on the play for an illegal shift as Gesicki was again trying to get receivers into the right formation, but the penalty was declined. Tagovailoa scrambled for six yards on 3rd-and-7, leading to a three-and-out for Miami.

Whatever is happening with these illegal shifts and Gesicki being hit by the snap have got to be fixed. I have never seen this just complete breakdown. Once in a game can be understood, but this is at least the third time it has happened.

The Bills began with the ball a their own 21-yard line after the punt, then continued to mirror Miami’s first possession of the second half. Singletary was stuffed for a two-yard loss, followed by two incomplete passes, including one in which Emmanuel Ogbah batted the ball down at the line of scrimmage. The Bills punted on the three-and-out drive.

Miami’s defense is in this game. Again, it is nothing spectacular, but it is solid play from everyone and it is disrupting the Bills. Maybe they finally realized the 2021 season has begun?

The Dolphins’ drive started with a one-yard loss on a hot-read pass into the flat for Gaskin, only to have it blown up as soon as he caught the ball. Two more incomplete passes led to a second straight three-and-out for the Dolphins to start the half after having none in the first 30 minutes.

The Bills dialed up the pass rush on that possession and Tagovailoa never had time to even try to find a receiver.

Buffalo muffed the punt, with the ball rolling back into the endzone but the referees called it a touchback. Miami was called for an illegal use of hands on the first play, moving the Bills from the 20- to the 25-yard line. On the next play, an offensive holding penalty backed up Buffalo into a 1st-and-20 from the 15-yard line. A six-yard run from Moss was followed by a batted ball at the line of scrimmage by Wilkins to set up 3rd-and-14. Allen had time to work through his progressions and eventually find Beasley, who picked up 15 yards. Allen again had all kinds of time to find Moss for four yards on the next play, with Beasley picking up 10 yards on the next play to move the ball to the 50-yard line. Allen went right back to Beasley on the next play, picking up six yards. Allen again went quick to Beasley on the pass, adding another three yards and bringing up 3rd-and-1. Allen looked for the quick throw, pulled it down, somehow slipped through a sack from Elandon Roberts, then ran for a five-yard gain. Moss picked up seven yards on the resulting first down. Singletary then picked up 13 yards to move into the redzone and set up 1st-and-10 at the Miami 16. A Singletary run for two yards was followed by a screen pass to Davis, a pass that was nearly batted down at the line but turned into a three-yard gain. Allen threw an incomplete pass into the endzone on 3rd-and-5, but Andrew Van Ginkel was called for pass interference, giving the Bills a 1st-and-Goal at the eight-yard line. The Dolphins blitzed and were able to get the pressure on Allen, with Jaelan Phillips called for a facemask on the play, but Allen was able to find a wide-open Davis in the endzone for the score. Bills 10-3.

The Bills went to short, quick passes on the drive and Miami could not stop them. The penalties obviously cost the team again, but the pass interference likely prevented a touchdown on that play, so it may have been the right move for Van Ginkel to basically tackle Sweeney. Miami’s defense needs to get back to what they were doing earlier and not let this drive change their execution for the first 41 minutes of the game.

The Dolphins started their possession at their own 17-yard line after the facemask penalty led to a short kick from the Bills. Ahmed ran up the middle for a yard on first down, then caught an outlet pass for a six-yard gain. On 3rd-and-2, Tagovailoa threw a pass toward Gaskin, but the running back turned the wrong way and could not bring in the pass. Miami punted after another three-and-out.

A long drive by the Bills followed by another three-and-out from the Dolphins. The defense is going to be gassed.

Buffalo’s offense came out again looking for short passes. After an illegal hands to the face penalty on Miami on the first play, Allen threw incomplete, then to Beasley who turned upfield for a 17-yard catch and run. Singletary picked up six yards on a run before a screen pass to Diggs turned into an 11-yard gain and the end of the quarter.

Miami’s defense is struggling with the quick passing attack. They have to find a way to disrupt this momentum from the Bills.


Fourth Quarter

The final period started with a two-yard scramble from Allen, then a false start penalty was called on the Bills. An incomplete pass on a screen pass set up 3rd-and-13. The Dolphins blitzed to try to create pressure, but Allen found Beasley on a crossing route to pick up the first down. The Bills tried to break out a trick play as Allen threw a backward pass to Beasley who target Davis in the endzone, but Xavien Howard was able to break up the pass. Allen then came back with a slant pass to Diggs for the touchdown. Bills 17-3.

The Dolphins stuck with the Bills for the entire first half, but the offense did nothing in the third quarter and now Buffalo has started to put this game away. The Dolphins defense is looking tired. Miami needs a good drive and a touchdown here if they are going to climb back into this contest.

Miami’s offense picked up their first first down of the second half on the second play of the drive, with Parker able to turn up field on a short pass to gain 12 yards. After an incomplete pass and a sack that was negated by an offsides penalty, Gaskin ran for no gain to set up a 3rd-and-5. Tagovailoa was able to find Waddle for 10 yards, keeping the drive alive. Tagovailoa then found Parker for four yards before two incomplete passes set up a 4th-and-6 play. The pressure nearly got to Tagovailoa on the play, but the quarterback stepped up in the pocket and found Gesicki for 40 yards. On 1st-and-Goal from the four, Tagovailoa scrambled for a three-yard gain. On second down, Tagovailoa scored on the sneak, then found Gesicki in the endzone for the two point conversion. Bills 17-11.

That was a NEEDED drive, even if just for the defense to get some air. The score keeps the Dolphins in the game, and the two point conversion means a touchdown wins the game rather than tying it. No issue with that, even if they had not converted as they would still need a touchdown, but with the two point conversion on that score. The Dolphins need to get back to Parker getting the ball.

Buffalo’s drive started at their own 20, with Allen finding Sweeney for 13 yards. A one-yard gain on a pass from Allen to Moss was followed by an 11 yard gain on a pass to Sweeney. Diggs lost a yard on a screen pass, then Allen threw incomplete on a deep try to Sanders. Allen was then able to find Beasley over the middle for 20 yards to convert on a 3rd-and-11 attempt. Allen then tried to run an option, with the pitch falling to no one and becoming a fumble out of bounds for a four-yard loss. An illegal contact penalty on an incomplete pass then gave the Bills another first down, moving the ball to the Miami 35-yard line. Allen then ran for a 12-yard gain down the right sideline. Moss ran for three yards, then picked up eight yards on a pass from Allen. Buffalo, on 1st-and-10 from the Miami 12, lost a yard. The Bills were then backed up 15 yards on an illegal low block, bringing up 2nd-and-26 from the Miami 28-yard line. Beasley caught a short pass for four yards to set up 3rd-and-22. Moss picked up three yards on a screen pass, allowing the Bills to run the clock all the way down before calling a timeout. The Bills then extended the lead to nine with a 39-yard field goal. Bills 20-11.

The Dolphins used all of their timeouts on the Bills drive, so they are going to need a quick score and then an onside kick to come away with a win.

On first down, Tagovailoa was able to find Laird for a 10-yard catch-and-run, then followed that with an incomplete pass as Parker dropped the ball in his hands and an offensive holding penalty. Tagovailoa fumbled on the next play, with Miami able to recover as the ball rolled around. On 3rd-and-26, Tagovailoa looked deep for Parker, but Jordan Poyer was able to jump the route and pick off the pass.

Well, that would be the game. Tagovailoa was trying to make something happen, but it is once again too little too late for the Dolphins offense. This seems to be the script for this year, start well, give up points in the middle of the game, then try to make a comeback late. They just can never complete the come back.

The Bills started with the ball at the Miami 11-yard line, with Moss picking up four yards, then running for no gain. Allen then ran for the score. They did not score on a two-point conversion attempt. Bills 26-11.

After the kickoff, Tagovailoa threw a screen to Gaskin, but it lost two yards. Gaskin then rushed for seven yards to kill the clock and end the game.