Week 13 Game Recap: Buffalo Bills 23, Miami Dolphins 24
What you need to know
The Bills led 21-0 after the first quarter and 23-3 going into the fourth quarter, but lost to an unlikely rally by the Dolphins.
J.P. Losman had the biggest game of his NFL career, surpassing the 200 yard mark for the first time and throwing three touchdown passes to Lee Evans. Eric Moulds did not have a reception in a game for the first time since 1997.
Willis McGahee saw plenty of action, carrying 27 times for 81 yards, but failed to find the end zone for the sixth straight game.
Terrence McGee and Lawyer Milloy were both able to play, but the Bills’ normally strong pass defense allowed 361 net passing yards in the game. In contrast, the normally weak run defense held the Dolphins to just 73 net rushing yards.
The Dolphins were terrible for most of the game and struggled to move the ball at all. They were penalized four times in five plays for false starts in the first half. But their fourth quarter performance enabled one of the greatest comebacks in franchise history and they clinched the win with six seconds remaining in the game.
Gus Frerotte was knocked out of the game four minutes into the third quarter and Sage Rosenfels came in to lift the Dolphins to a highly improbable victory. The Dolphins attempted 65 passes in the game with 26 targets going to Chris Chambers. The result was a huge game for Chambers as he had over 200 yards receiving and caught the winning touchdown in the last few seconds.
Ricky Williams scored the Dolphins’ opening touchdown but the running game had to be abandoned when the Bills held a big lead after three quarters.
The Dolphins’ defense allowed three touchdown passes to Lee Evans in the first quarter and did not give up another point during the remainder of the game. The Bills scored their only points of the second half on a safety.
What you ought to know
|QB J.P. Losman, Pass: 13 - 26 - 224 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 10 - 0|
Losman began the game very well, leading the Bills to a score on their opening drive with a 46 yard pass to Lee Evans. The ball was well thrown and the defender missed his assignment, allowing Evans to break away. Losman went to Evans on the first play of the next drive, connecting for a 56 yard touchdown. The third score came on the Bills’ fourth drive as Losman found Evans for a four yard score. Losman was making good decisions early in the game and involving McGahee in the passing game. He had 170 yards and three touchdowns by the half but struggled in the remainder of the game. On the Bills’ second drive of the second half, Losman moved the team down the field and brought up a first and goal at the three. He then threw a poor pass intended for Josh Reed and was intercepted. He also fumbled away possession to Channing Crowder after being sacked by Donnie Spragan. Losman showed good mobility in the game, evading the pass rush often and scrambling to convert a third down on one occasion. His overall performance looked a lot more confident than his efforts early in the season.
McGahee had 31 carries in the first meeting between these two teams and the Bills looked to repeat that performance. McGahee caught a five yard pass for a first down on the opening drive that led to a Lee Evans touchdown. He had some good runs straight up the middle and was also able to make gains outside. With the Bills gaining a first and goal at the three yard line, the next play was a pass that was intercepted at the goal line. There seems to be a reluctance to rely on the power running of McGahee. After catching both balls thrown his way, McGahee was not targeted again in the passing game. He went over 1000 yards for the season during the game but has now failed to find the end zone in the last six games.
Williams was used briefly to spell McGahee in the running game. He caught one of his two passes for 13 yards on a third and 17 play.
Evans was Losman’s favorite target by far in this game. He scored on a 46 yard pass on the Bills’ opening drive after the defender timed his jump badly. He then went in from 56 yards on the following drive and made a third touchdown reception ten minutes into the game. Evans ended the day with five catches for 117 yards. He also drew a pass interference call on a third and six play for the Bills.
|WR Roscoe Parrish, Pass: 1 - 1 - 3 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (5 targets)|
Parrish caught two of his five targets for a total of 17 yards, and also completed a pass for three yards. He returned kicks and punts and made a poor decision on one return which resulted in a fumble and a loss of possession.
Reed made first down catches of nine yards and 26 yards. He was also the intended target when Losman was intercepted at the goal line.
Aiken caught one of his two targets, gaining 22 yards to give the Bills a first and goal at the three. Losman read the blitz and looked poised while picking out Aiken for the long gain.
Moulds saw his streak of games with a reception finally come to an end. He had not had a game without a catch since 11/30/97. He did start the game but was not on the field very often, although it was said to be a coaching decision rather than an injury. He only saw two targets in the game.
Euhus caught the one ball thrown his way, gaining five yards.
Lindell made all three extra point attempts.
After struggling all season, the Bills looked better against the run. London Fletcher has been huge, and again had a big game with ten solo tackles, two assists and two sacks. The Dolphins had to abandon the run when trailing by 20 points with one quarter to play.
The Bills entered the game with one of the best pass defenses in the league, but suffered badly after starting well. Nate Clements forced a Chambers fumble on the Dolphins’ first pass of the game, and Terrence McGee recovered for the Bills. The defense restricted Frerotte to 115 yards during the first half but things changed after the break. Frerotte was sacked in the end zone for a safety by London Fletcher, and may have suffered a concussion. He looked unconscious for a few seconds and did not return to the game. Sage Rosenfels entered the game and attempted 37 passes in the last 19 minutes, gaining 272 yards and throwing two touchdowns. The pass defense combined for three sacks on the day (Fletcher 2, Schobel) and one interception (Schobel). Chris Chambers was able to beat Clements on several occasions, ending with 15 catches for 238 yards and a score.
|QB Sage Rosenfels, Pass: 22 - 37 - 272 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0|
Rosenfels put his last start behind him and rallied the Dolphins from a 20 point deficit in the fourth quarter. He attempted 37 passes in the final 19 minutes of the game. Chris Chambers was by far his favorite target. His longest completion of the day went for 57 yards to Chambers. He found Ronnie Brown on a short pass that became a 23 yard touchdown reception, and hit Chambers in the end zone with six seconds remaining. Rosenfels almost found Wes Welker a couple of plays before the winning score, but the apparent touchdown catch was not valid because Welker had stepped out of bounds before coming back in to make the catch. Rosenfels ran for a three yard first down and tried to run again before throwing the winning touchdown on the following play. He threw one interception to Aaron Schobel and was almost picked off by Jabari Greer on another throw.
Frerotte was not very effective in this game and was playing with a broken finger. Nate Clements had the chance to intercept a pass for what would likely have been a touchdown, but he failed to hold on to the ball. Frerotte was sacked three times, the third of which was for a safety. Frerotte appeared to be unconscious for several seconds and may have suffered a concussion on the play. He did not return.
Williams had 11 carries and ran well. He gained 46 yards and scored on a five yard run early in the fourth quarter. Williams caught all six balls thrown his way for a total of 32 yards.
|RB Ronnie Brown, Rush: 9 - 22 - 0, Rec: 2 - 30 - 1 (4 targets)|
Brown only gained 22 yards on his nine carries but made his mark as a receiver. He caught two of his four targets, showing great determination to take in a 23 yard pass for a touchdown.
Chambers started the game badly, fumbling away possession after making a 22 yard reception on the Dolphins’ opening drive. He had catches of 14 yards and 19 yards for first downs, and went into half time with five receptions for 67 yards. He dropped a low pass in the second half and then almost caught a 50 yard pass but was ruled to have pushed off from the defender. He had a great leaping catch for 14 yards that was overturned on a penalty. Chambers was incredible in the second half, especially when Rosenfels entered the game. He had numerous gains of over ten yards for first downs, and had a long gain of 57 yards. He was targeted in the end zone but the pass was broken up by Nate Clements. With six seconds remaining, Chambers pulled in the winning touchdown catch in the end zone. He ended the day with 15 receptions for 238 yards and a touchdown on 26 targets. He might have gone over 300 yards had the other two catches not been ruled out.
Welker caught four of his targets for a total of 40 yards. He dropped an easy pass for what would have been a first down, but later made Terrence McGee miss on a play that went for a 16 yard gain and a first down. Welker caught a 17 yard pass for a first down to keep alive a drive that ended in a Ronnie Brown touchdown reception. On the final drive of the game, Welker caught a ball in the end zone. Unfortunately, he had stepped out of bounds before making the catch and it did not count. Welker was also used to return kicks and punts.
Despite being targeted ten times, Gilmore only made one catch for six yards as he replaced the inactive Marty Booker.
Booker was inactive for this game.
McMichael caught six of his eight targets, the longest of which went for an eight yard gain and a first down. He dropped the other two passes.
Mare made a 23 yard field goal and all three extra point attempts.
Despite missing Zach Thomas, the Dolphins’ run defense was able to restrict Willis McGahee to three yards per carry and hold the Bills under 100 yards on the day.
The first quarter was a total disaster for Miami as they allowed three touchdown passes to Lee Evans. After that initial weakness, they were able to stop Losman from doing any more damage. Donnie Spragan sacked Losman and caused him to fumble away possession, and Manuel Wright also registered a sack. Sam Madison picked off a pass at the goal line to prevent the Bills from going even further ahead. Jason Taylor was sidelined for long periods due to a shoulder injury, but still returned from time to time and almost held on to an interception on one play.