Week 5 Game Recap: Miami Dolphins 14, Buffalo Bills 20
What you need to know
The Dolphins must place a lot of blame on themselves as they gave up a franchise record 18 penalties and turned the ball over a total of five times.
QB Gus Frerotte completed 21 of 33 passing attempts against the league’s number one pass defense, and found TE Will Heller and TE Randy McMichael for touchdowns. Frerotte was able to complete a few long passes on the day but his three interceptions were all poorly thrown and contributed to the Dolphins’ loss.
The Bills’ run defense has struggled since LB Takeo Spikes was lost for the year, and RB Ronnie Brown was able to move the ball effectively against them. Brown only had 17 carries on the day and finished just shy of 100 yards rushing. He almost scored on a 28 yard run but was stopped at the one yard line.
After losing three straight games, the Bills replaced the struggling J.P. Losman with veteran QB Kelly Holcomb. Although Holcomb only threw for 169 yards and one touchdown, he was more effective than Losman had been and was able to convert a few key plays to keep the chains moving. He threaded a perfect pass to Eric Moulds for a touchdown.
RB Willis McGahee was held in check for much of the game but the Bills kept giving him the ball. He carried 31 times for 86 yards and ran in a touchdown from the one yard line for the opening score of the game.
The Bills’ receivers saw more action with Holcomb under center. Lee Evans turned a short pass into a 49 yard gain when the defender slipped, and he was forced out just shy of the goal line. Eric Moulds only had ten catches through four games but fared much better in this game with seven receptions and his first touchdown of the season.
Special teams were key in the victory. Terrence McGee had a big kick return to give the Bills a short field and punter Brian Moorman booted several long kicks which were well covered by the Bills.
What you ought to know
|QB Gus Frerotte, Pass: 21 - 33 - 226 - 2 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0|
Frerotte threw the ball well for most of the day against the league’s number one rated pass defense, but he ruined his good work by throwing three interceptions. Chambers caught a 30 yard pass to get the Dolphins inside the ten, but Frerotte was intercepted by McGee two plays later when looking for Booker in the end zone. Frerotte found Booker for 52 yards in the third quarter and completed the drive with a one yard pass to TE Will Heller for the Dolphins’ opening score of the game. Chambers was the intended target on both of Frerotte’s other interceptions. Vincent and Clements each had a pick on poorly thrown balls. Chambers almost hauled in a pass in the first quarter which would have gone for over 40 yards and put the Dolphins in the red zone, but he juggled the ball and went out of bounds. Frerotte only found McMichael once in the game but it was for a 30 yard touchdown on a perfectly thrown ball which McMichael took in stride.
|RB Ronnie Brown, Rush: 17 - 97 - 0, Rec: 6 - 19 - 0 (7 targets)|
The Dolphins looked good running the football but Brown’s carries were limited to 17 after they fell behind 17-0. Brown had runs of 22 yards and 28 yards, the latter almost going for a touchdown until he was forced out of bounds by Troy Vincent at the one yard line. Brown gained 97 yards on the day and caught six of his seven targets for 19 yards. The Dolphins were in a position to win the game, trailing by six with under five minutes to go, but Brown fumbled after catching a pass to take the Dolphins into the red zone and Troy Vincent recovered for the Bills.
Evans was utilized twice in the passing game and he caught both passes for short gains.
Morris was targeted once in the game and made the reception for eight yards.
Chambers was Frerotte’s favorite target. He caught four passes for 60 yards but could have had a big game. He juggled one pass that would have been a reception of around 40 yards, and was clear for a possible touchdown but Frerotte was unable to find him with the pass. Chambers had a 30 yard reception but was tackled at the nine yard line and he was targeted on two of Frerotte’s interceptions.
Booker was the leading receiver in the game with 72 yards. He caught a 52 yard pass in the third quarter and set up the Dolphins’ opening score of the game. All three of his catches were for a first down. Frerotte looked for Booker in the end zone on the Dolphins’ third drive, but the ball was underthrown allowing Terrence McGee to step in and make a comfortable interception.
Welker was used mainly on special teams, returning three kicks and five punts. He was targeted three times in the passing game, catching two passes for 24 yards. His second reception was for 16 yards and a first down as the Dolphins were driving to try and win the game, but the drive ended on a Ronnie Brown fumble.
Heller was only targeted once in the game and caught a one yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone.
McMichael was surprisingly only targeted once in the game. Frerotte threw a long pass for McMichael to take in stride after beating the last defender, and he turned the play into a 30 yard touchdown.
Diamond was targeted twice in the game and caught one pass for two yards. The other pass was ruled an interception by Lawyer Milloy, but the call was overturned after a challenge.
Mare was successful on both his extra point attempts but did not try a field goal in the game.
The Dolphins restricted the Bills to 99 rushing yards, allowing just 2.8 yards per carry. Willis McGahee scored one rushing touchdown but the Dolphins stopped him twice from the one yard line later in the game. Zach Thomas had a big game leading the Dolphins with 11 solo tackles and four assists.
Holcomb was held in check for most of the day, despite having a high completion rate. The Dolphins gave up a huge play on the Bills’ opening drive when Lee Evans turned a short pass into a 49 yard gain after the defender slipped. He was pushed out at the one yard line and McGahee was able to run the ball in for a score. The Dolphins only allowed one passing touchdown which came when Holcomb threaded the ball through to Eric Moulds for a two yard score. Holcomb was pressured much more in the second half as the Dolphins blitzed more often. Jason Taylor ended the day with six solo tackles and two sacks, one of which caused a fumble which was recovered by the Bills, and Reggie Howard also posted a sack. Vonnie Holliday had a sack negated by one of the Dolphins’ many penalties.
|QB Kelly Holcomb, Pass: 20 - 26 - 169 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 11 - 0|
After struggling through four games, J.P. Losman was benched in favor of veteran QB Kelly Holcomb. Holcomb’s numbers do not look spectacular but he managed the game well and made several key plays to keep the Bills’ offense on the field. He completed 20 of his 26 passes and did not throw the ball long very often. Holcomb’s longest pass of the day was 49 yards to Lee Evans on the opening drive. Evans gained 42 yards after the catch before being tackled at the Dolphins’ one yard line. The Bills’ sole passing touchdown of the day came when Holcomb found Moulds in the end zone from two yards out. The Bills were missing Chris Villarrial and Mike Williams from their usual starting offensive line. Villarrial was hospitalized with an intestinal problem and was replaced by rookie Duke Preston. Williams dressed for the game and was used to block on field goals, but Greg Jerman played at all other times in the game. The Bills allowed three sacks and Holcomb was pressured, especially in the second half as the Dolphins came with more blitz packages.
The Bills stuck with McGahee all day despite averaging just 2.8 yards per rush. He carried the ball 31 times for 86 yards and had the opening touchdown of the game when he took the ball in from the one yard line. McGahee’s longest run of the day was just 11 yards and he was unable to consistently move the ball. Most of his runs were to the left or up the middle and he was stuffed twice at the one yard line on one drive after the Bills’ had a first and goal. He caught two of his five targets but was not able to make any big gains in the passing game. There was a brief scare when he limped off after one play, but he did not miss any time and appeared to be fine afterwards. The Bills regularly replaced him with Shaud Williams on third down plays as in previous games. McGahee’s numbers could have been a lot better as he ran for 54 yards at the end of the game, but a holding penalty reduced the gain to nine yards.
Williams was only used once in the running game, gaining two yards. He caught one of his two targets and recovered a fumble when Holcomb was sacked by Jason Taylor.
Shelton caught two of his three targets for a total of 10 yards. One went for a loss and the other brought up a first down for the Bills.
Moulds was Holcomb’s favorite target in the game, and he was able to catch seven of the 11 passes thrown his way, gaining a total of 59 yards including a two yard score. Moulds was also targeted on a play immediately before his touchdown reception. Seven catches was a good return considering that Moulds had only caught a total of ten passes in the previous four games.
Evans began the game well by turning a short pass into a 49 yard gain on the Bills’ opening drive. Evans gained 42 yards after the catch when the defender slipped and was tackled at the one yard line. He caught both of his other targets for first downs.
Reed was only targeted three times in the game, catching two passes for 13 yards.
The Bills have not had much success with their tight ends this season but Holcomb managed to make Campbell a factor in this game. He was targeted four times, catching three passes for 15 yards. Campbell almost scored when he caught a six yard pass and made a good effort before being tackled half a yard shy of the end zone, but the Dolphins were called for roughing the passer giving the Bills first and goal.
Lindell made all of his kicks on the day, with field goals of 24 yards and 47 yards, plus two extra point attempts.
The Bills allowed 113 net rushing yards in the game, which was an improvement after allowing 172.2 yards per game through the first four weeks of the season. The Dolphins were able to move the ball on the ground, averaging 5.7 yards per carry, but they only had 20 attempts after falling behind 17-0. London Fletcher led the team with five solo tackles and two assists. The Bills allowed Ronnie Brown two plays of over 20 yards, one of which resulted in a 28 yard gain to the one yard line.
The Bills’ number one ranked pass defense allowed 210 net passing yards, but also came up with three interceptions and were a big part of the Bills’ win. Terrence McGee intercepted a pass intended for Booker in the second quarter when the Dolphins were inside the ten yard line. Troy Vincent intercepted a pass intended for Chambers on the Dolphins’ following drive, but the best interception of the day went to Nate Clements after Frerotte threw a long pass intended for Chambers. The Bills registered two sacks on the day on the Dolphins’ final possession. Chris Kelsay had the first and Ryan Denney the second as the Dolphins tried to make a big play in the closing seconds.