Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Miami

Thomas Galicia@thomasgaliciaContributor IIDecember 23, 2012

Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Miami

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    Final Score

    Buffalo Bills 10

    Miami Dolphins 24

    Miami played its second consecutive great game to end its home slate of the season, defeating the Bills 24-10.

    It wouldn't be enough for the postseason, though, as the Cincinnati Bengals also defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10 in Pittsburgh. Thus, no more playoff hopes for the Dolphins.

    However, Miami looked strong in each facet of the game while defeating Buffalo, and here's a look at how well the Fins fared.

Ryan Tannehill: A

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    Final Grade: A

    Numbers wise, this isn't an A-game, as Tannehill only went 13-of-25 for 130 yards and two touchdowns. But he is just as responsible for this victory as anyone thanks to his efficient play at quarterback.

    He not only completed a few great passes, but also hurt Buffalo on the ground with his 45 yards rushing.

    Overall, it was a nice showing from the rookie signal-caller as he continues to develop.

Offense: A

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    Final Grade: A

    It was the Reggie-Lamar-Tanny show on offense today. Combined, these three players led the offense to 24 points and gained 301 yards.

    The play from the wide receivers showed an inexperienced unit that desperately needs some depth. Hartline would have had a touchdown reception had he been healthy. However, on that long pass from Tannehill to Hartline that wound up incomplete, a bigger and faster wide receiver would have scored easily.

    That's my only gripe, especially since Miami chose to run early and often in this game. It was a great game plan that played to their strengths.

Running Backs

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    Reggie Bush — A

    What didn't Reggie Bush do today?

    He was efficient with his rushing attempts, averaging 3.4 yards per carry on 19 carries for 65 yards and a touchdown.

    Where Bush made his biggest impact, though, was in the passing game, as he hauled in four receptions for 42 yards and two touchdowns. It was the Reggie Bush show on Sunday, and the Bills were his unfortunate victims.

    Lamar Miller — A

    With no Daniel Thomas for Miami, Lamar Miller came up big, running for 73 yards on only 10 attempts, seemingly picking up large chunks of yards every time he touched the ball.

    Miami's backfield is in good hands with Miller, who has come on strong in his last two games.

    Jorvorskie Lane — A

    Someone has to create those holes for the running backs while protecting the quarterback, and while the offensive line was great, Jorvorskie Lane deserves a lot of credit for doing just that this afternoon.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

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    Brian Hartline — C

    You could tell that Hartline was hurting, and if Miami had more depth at wide receiver, he likely would not have even played in this game. If he's still hurt next week, don't expect to see him on the field since Miami's postseason hopes are now officially dead.

    Either way, Hartline was targeted seven times and could only pull down two catches for 12 yards. Saying this isn't his best afternoon is quite the understatement.

    Marlon Moore — Zero

    Zero as in zero catches, with one of those passes being a dropped pass. Yes for the first time all season long, a Dolphins player gets a zero in a victory. You likely will never see that again.

    Rishard Matthews — B

    Matthews' 30-yard catch helped set up a Dolphins touchdown in the second quarter, and was the picture of good concentration. Other than that, it was a quiet afternoon, but for the most part Matthews had one of his better games with two receptions for 37 yards.

    Armon Binns — B

    Binns had three receptions for 27 yards in his first full game with the Dolphins. Not very bad.

    Anthony Fasano — C

    Fasano wasn't targeted nearly enough in this game, only getting four targets and two catches for 12 yards. It would have helped Miami to call his number more.

    Michael Egnew — Incomplete

    I'm just happy Egnew played a bit today and I got to write his name. He was only on the field for a couple of plays, but not enough for me to really grade him fairly.

Offensive Line

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    Jonathan Martin — A

    It's never easy dealing with Mario Williams and the Bills' front seven throughout the day, and at times this showed with Martin, who let in just a bit too much pressure for Tannehill's own good.

    Despite that, he protected his side of the ball pretty well, and was great when blocking for the run.

    Richie Incognito — B

    The blocked field goal in the first quarter is on Incognito. Other than that he actually had a fairly good game and seemed to open up holes for Miami's running game to exploit. 

    Mike Pouncey — A+

    To be a fly on the wall for Christmas dinner at the Pouncey residence on Tuesday. Pouncey had an excellent game against the Bills to help Miami's potential playoff position, but his brother Markice's Steelers lost thanks to their inept offense (imagine that), thus eliminating them from the playoffs. 

    In a way, it actually prevented a potentially nuclear situation next week, where one brother had to lose for the other to win.

    John Jerry — A-

    John Jerry's day was a good one. He did have to help Garner out at times (more on him later), but he did a great job sealing the edges for Miami to run toward his side as well.

    He should be the right tackle. Let's see what Garner can do at guard next week.

    Nate Garner — C

    Garner is the only Dolphins offensive lineman who really had a bad game. Marcell Dareus had his way with Garner throughout the afternoon, managing to get two sacks.

Defense: A

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    Final Grade: A

    Miami's defense did come to play for three-and-a-half quarters, throttling Buffalo's offense with the exception of C.J. Spiller.

    Turnovers were the story of this game; the Dolphins forced four turnovers, with Miami's offense scoring on three of them.

Defensive Line

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    Cameron Wake — A

    Wake's day looked quiet, but that had to be the loudest one-sack, one-forced-fumble day augmented by three tackles overall.

    Paul Soliai — B

    The one gripe I have with the Dolphins defense was stopping C.J. Spiller. As great as Soliai and Starks have been at stopping the run, they can't seem to get a handle of Spiller. Soliai still did a good job plugging up the middle, allowing the linebackers to get to Ryan Fitzpatrick in the pocket.

    He also had two tackles of his own, and clamped down in the third quarter.

    Randy Starks — B

    Starks only had one tackle, but it was for a loss in the third quarter. Overall he did his job well.

    Jared Odrick — A

    Odrick may only have one tackle, but he had a huge impact all over the field, especially in the pocket.

    Miami might still need another pass-rusher, but Odrick is still a big part of this defense and should continue to be going forward.

    Tony McDaniel — A

    McDaniel doesn't play as much as the others on the defensive line, but when he does you can't seem to run on him. Against Buffalo, this was the case once again.

    Olivier Vernon — A

    Vernon has been more of a special teams player all year, and seems to still be looking for the right fit.

    He's still better as an outside linebacker, but today I'm grading him as a lineman due to the fact that his sack came when he was playing defensive end, where he did most of his damage.


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    Kevin Burnett — A

    Burnett's eight tackles at linebacker prevented C.J. Spiller from doing even more damage than he did. He did a great job of containing not only Spiller, but also Buffalo's tight ends.

    Jason Trusnik — B

    Conspicuously absent from the stat sheet was Trusnik, who actually still played pretty well in helping to contain the Bills' offense.

    Karlos Dansby — A

    Go up the middle with Dansby out there, I dare you. Dansby was Miami's best player on defense, racking up 10 tackles and even hitting Fitzpatrick once during the many times he got into the pocket.


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    Sean Smith — A

    Smith only played one half of this game due to a knee injury he suffered in the third quarter. But in that time he forced a fumble and did a decent job covering Stevie Johnson.

    Dimitri Patterson — A

    Just a week ago Patterson never thought he would be a Miami Dolphin, but in his first game with the team, he managed to do a much better job than we've seen out of Nolan Carroll and Richard Marshall earlier this season. He notched four tackles and had excellent coverage throughout the afternoon.

    Brian McCann — A

    McCann had his second straight good game with Miami, collecting four tackles and covering well.

    R.J. Stanford — B

    Stanford only really got some special teams work in this afternoon and was rarely seen in the defensive backfield. Considering that Patterson and McCann (neither of whom was a Dolphin two weeks ago) not only got more playing time but also performed better, this is not a good sign for Stanford's future in Miami.

    Reshad Jones — A+

    Oh, but he only had two tackles. Actually that's a good thing, it shows that the secondary did its job.

    Jones' impact, though, came thanks to those two tackles, plus two fumble recoveries and an interception.

    Send this man to Hawaii!

    Chris Clemons — A

    Five tackles, playing all over the field with reckless abandon (the good kind) and overall a very good day for Clemons.

Special Teams: A-

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    Final Grade: A-

    Save for a blocked field goal, the Dolphins' special teams unit played well in every facet. They are a bit lucky that the field-goal block didn't lead to any noise made by Buffalo, though, and they will have to fortify their blocking up the middle.

Coaching: A

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    Final Grade: A

    For the most part, Miami played this game well, and coached it even better. Coach Philbin and his staff played to the Dolphins' strengths, and it showed with their production on the ground.

    It's a shame Pittsburgh would lose, because the way this team played it deserved to be fighting for a playoff spot next week. But in the end, the Dolphins really don't have anyone to blame but themselves for being knocked out of the playoffs thanks to losses earlier in the season.