MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 20: Tight end Chris Chandler #84 (C) of the Buffalo Bills is brought down by Safety Tyrone Culver #29 (R) and Linebacker Kevin Burnett #56 (L) of the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
The Dolphins looked sharp on all three phases of the game as the Bills are sent home with a loss
The Buffalo Bills took the opening kickoff and drove the ball down the field on the back of long gains by RB C.J. Spiller and RB Fred Jackson. The drive ended with the Bills settling for a field goal, but the offense seemed to be buzzing.
Then, the Miami Dolphins took over.
QB Matt Moore carved up a depleted Bills secondary, which was missing starting S George Wilson. Moore completed 14 passes in 20 attempts for 160 yards and three touchdowns. Moore looked sharp for most of the game as he continued to make his case to be the Dolphins quarterback of the future. Moore was able to complete difficult passes to RB Reggie Bush and FB Charles Clay and threaded a pass to WR Brandon Marshall in the back of the end zone that was dropped. He was also able to keep plays alive with his pocket presence, shedding would-be tacklers and looking downfield to find receivers. The running game did not look as sharp as the passing game, gaining 95 yards on 35 carries for an average of 2.7 yards per carry. RB Reggie Bush did score a touchdown on the ground, salvaging an otherwise disappointing day.
The Dolphins defense looked just as sharp against a Bills offense that has struggled after their electric start to the season. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was held to 209 yards with no touchdowns on the day and was intercepted twice. RB Fred Jackson, who entered the game as the NFL’s leading rusher, was held to 17 yards on seven carries. WR Steve Johnson, who was questionable entering the game as he dealt with a shoulder injury, was held to two catches for 16 yards and was victimized by a huge hit by Dolphins S Tyrone Culver.
The Bills, who were already battling injuries entering this game, saw CB Terrence McGee and WR Donald Jones carted off the field with air casts on their left legs. Information on the extent of their injuries was not immediately available, but it appears that McGee suffered a left knee injury and Jones suffered a left ankle injury. WR David Nelson also suffered an injury, but was able to return. His condition going into next week is unknown.
But the real story is how the Dolphins were able to handle the Bills to win their third game in a row after losing the first seven. They were able to do it with an efficient offense, stingy defense, and special teams play that looks vastly improved over the unit from last season. CB Vontae Davis and CB Sean Smith were able to shut down the Bills wide receivers and S Yeremiah Bell was around the ball all game long. The Dolphins were able to sack Fitzpatrick twice and prevented the Bills from finding a groove on offense after the first possession. The offense cooled off in the second half, but it didn’t matter after the Dolphins blocked a punt for a touchdown to make the score 35-6.
A safety when RB Daniel Thomas was tackled in the end zone made the game 35-8. After that, most of the starters from both teams were removed and the teams exchanged punts until the game clock ran out. The Dolphins controlled most aspects of this game and will look to continue their hot streak against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Final score: Dolphins 35, Bills 8