Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills: Takeaways from Miami's Embarrassing Loss
If the players and coaches of the Miami Dolphins aren't ashamed of themselves after Sunday's effort, then it will only prove to me that they lack heart, passion, desire and all of those other intangibles.
For reasons I'll highlight later in this piece, I'd understand Miami having its hands full against the Bills, but to get shut out against this team and blatantly appear to not even try to beat them once they went down 13-0 was just horrendous.
Yes, this piece might be a bit angry, but I have every reason for it to be, and you should too. This was an indefensible performance (not indefensible loss as I'll explain later) by a team that should be a lot better than what they showed us on Sunday.
Miami's Running Game Is Back to Being Atrocious
Hey, remember that Dolphins run game which was decent enough to keep defenses honest and help prop Ryan Tannehill up in the last five games?
That disappeared against the Buffalo Bills, a team that's normally not very good against the run.
Now, it doesn't help that Miami didn't even try to keep up the appearances that it might be a threat (no read-option runs for Tannehill), nor does it help that Daniel Thomas seemed devoid of any football talent or instinct on Sunday.
But either way, it was non-existent, just like Miami's chances of winning this game turned out to be.
Miami Dolphins Couldn't Be Worse at Play-Calling Than Today
Look at that smug face.
Just look at it: He's going to be gainfully employed by the Miami Dolphins next season and he knows it, so what was his game plan against the Buffalo Bills?
Simple: defecate on Dolphins fans everywhere by going back to being predictably horrendous.
No moving pockets, no rollouts, and failure to run the read-option.
See, here's what's frustrating about Sherman: Last week against New England, he devised the perfect game plan. He knew New England's weaknesses and attacked them.
The same thing happened against the Steelers two weeks ago.
Where did that Mike Sherman go? It seems that Sherman is good enough to find a way to keep his job year-to-year, but then turns around and gives us the worst game Miami's offense has seen in a very long time.
He should be fired (with the rest of the coaching staff, but that's another subject for another slide), but odds are, he won't.
Sad. He should be held accountable for his failures in calling plays.
Miami's Linebackers Again Atrocious
I've reached the point where I feel like there is no hope for Philip Wheeler.
For someone being paid so handsomely, he's terrible at his job.
The breaking point came in the third quarter when the Dolphins had the Bills stopped for a three-and-out deep in Buffalo territory.
But then came the flag—illegal hands to the face on Wheeler, while trying to shed a block.
Did this penalty lead to the stop? No, it was inconsequential. It was stupid, as it gave the Bills an automatic first down, which spurred a drive that lasted over nine minutes and sealed the game in favor of the Bills.
Between that and his atrocious coverage, Wheeler was at his worst in this game, which is saying something because he's been pretty bad all season long.
Stupid Dolphins Penalties Are Stupid
Six penalties for 37 yards doesn't seem like it's too bad, but when those penalties occurred, are what hurt the Dolphins.
We already discussed Wheeler's dumb penalty in the third quarter, but that's not all.
A delay of game penalty is always inexcusable, yet we saw one of those.
What about a holding penalty on guard Sam Brenner that wound up negating a big gain in the first half (to make matters worse, Kyle Williams, who Brenner was holding, still got to Tannehill).
Then we saw a bad special teams penalty in the second half that backed the Dolphins deep into their own territory in the fourth quarter despite a decent Marcus Thigpen return.
Overall, it was a terribly undisciplined game for the Dolphins. The blame for that goes to the coaches.
Buffalo Was a Bad Matchup from the Start
Now, despite the anger and vitriol it might seem like I have, had the Dolphins shown a bit more effort in play-calling and on the field, I might be a bit more understanding of this loss.
The Bills are just a bad matchup for the Dolphins, something I had been tweeting out all week long.
Sure, I expected to win this game simply because of the fact that Miami is supposed to have more talent on offense and had much more on the line going into Sunday afternoon, but I knew it would be a tough game.
Buffalo came into the game with more sacks than anyone in the NFL, while the Dolphins had given up the most sacks in the NFL.
Buffalo runs the ball well, whereas Miami has had difficulty stopping the run.
The matchups dictated that this should've been the toughest of Miami's two remaining games (which it still is), but that's not an excuse for the poor effort seen by the Dolphins.
This Game Would've Been Worse Had the Bills Had Anyone Else at Quarterback
I'm not throwing shade on Thad Lewis even though it looks like it was, but I'm not going to say that Thad Lewis beat the Dolphins.
If anything, he gave Miami plenty of opportunities to win, they just didn't take advantage of that.
With that in mind, I will say that with a competent quarterback in Buffalo, this loss would've been a lot worse.
Imagine if the Bills would've had E.J. Manuel? I don't think it would've fared too well for the Dolphins.
A better quarterback puts up 30 on the Dolphins with how they played in this game. The fact that Miami was still within two scores in the fourth quarter is due to how fortunate they were to be in the game with the way the Bills were dominating, due to the fact that their quarterback is at best, a journeyman.
The Dolphins Organization Ought to Be Ashamed of Themselves from Top to Bottom
Look at everything I mentioned in this piece.
Bad penalties, bad play-calling, bad discipline.
The players came out for a game that would do everything but guarantee them a playoff berth, and completely crapped the bed.
To make matters worse, save for Ryan Tannehill, Mike Wallace and Charles Clay, none of them appeared to care too much that their season was slipping away.
The players are responsible for their performance on Sunday, but what were the coaches thinking throughout the game?
Joe Philbin let obvious challenge wins go all through the season, then challenged an extra 15 yards after an obvious catch.
Kevin Coyle decided to blitz like there was no tomorrow like Thad Lewis was Tom Brady, effectively making him look like Tom Brady while the linebackers and safeties responsible for covering those open tight ends and receivers disappeared.
Mike Sherman got his own slide because his game plan was so atrocious.
The main downfall of this team was an offensive line built by general manager Jeff Ireland that showed improvement in their last five games, then managed to play worse than they did before Martin-Incognito-gate.
The fish (or mammal) rots from the head. This Dolphins team is run by a confederacy of dunces, and it's sad that because they'll finish with a non-losing record at worse, we will have to deal with them for one more season.
I'm excited already to see how they break fans' hearts next year.