Buffalo collapse leads to Miami victory

By Connor Byrne  |   Monday, December 05, 2005  |  Comments( 0 )

Buffalo Bills
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Sunday, the Buffalo Bills took on their archrivals, the Miami Dolphins. The game took place at Dolphins Stadium in the beautiful 80 degree sunshine of South Florida. In perhaps one of the wildest games of the 2005 season, the Dolphins, led by backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels and wide receiver Chris Chambers, defeated the Bills 24-23.

In the first quarter, the Buffalo Bills immediately established dominance on their first offensive drive. Quarterback J.P. Losman fired a 46 yard touchdown strike to his favorite target, wide receiver Lee Evans. On Miami's first drive, quarterback Gus Frerotte hit Chris Chambers on a strike down the middle but Bills cornerback Nate Clements jarred the ball loose. The fumble was recovered by Bills cornerback Terrence McGee and the Bills set up shop on their own 44. On the first play of that drive Losman fired a 56 yard touchdown to Evans for yet another Buffalo touchdown. Just 3:42 seconds into the game, the Bills led 14-0 and Losman already had two deep touchdown passes. After another defensive stop by the Bills' defense, punt returner Roscoe Parrish took the Miami punt to the Dolphins' 26. On the sixth play of the drive, Losman hit Evans yet again for the duo's third touchdown of the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Bills had a 21-0 lead and looked primed for their first road victory of the season.

After a lengthy second quarter drive, the Bills had a chance to put the game on ice. They already had a three touchdown lead and had a first-and-15 on the Dolphins. Losman was sacked on the play by Donnie Spragan, fumbled, and Spragan recovered. The Dolphins got the ball back and would punt on the subsequent drive but Spragan's play would pay huge dividends in the end. After a few more punts were exchanged by both teams, the Dolphins got a good drive going that ended with an Olindo Mare 23 yard field goal. The teams would enter the locker room with the Bills leading 21-3.

For the first few minutes of the second half, both teams exchanged punts, then disaster struck the Dolphins yet again. With 10:16 to play in the third quarter, Frerotte was sacked by Bills linebacker London Fletcher in the end zone for a safety. The Bills took a 23-3 lead but worse, Frerotte was injured on the play. Little did Miami know that it would be the best thing to happen to them all day. With just over four minutes to play in the third quarter the momentum would finally swing into the Dolphins' favor. Losman was intercepted by cornerback Sam Madison on a first-and-goal from the Dolphins' 3 yard line. Instead of pounding the ball into the end zone with McGahee, Bills coach Mike Mularkey elected to get cute and let Losman throw his fourth touchdown of the day. Somebody should have told Mularkey that this isn't a video game; stats don't matter.

Early in the fourth quarter, Rosenfels and the Dolphins' offense finally got something going. With 11:40 to go in the game, Dolphins running back Ricky Williams capped off a 10-play drive with a 5 yard touchdown run. The score was 23-10 with plenty of time left in the game. After another unproductive Bills drive, the Dolphins got the ball back. With crisp passes from Rosenfels to Chambers and Wes Welker, the Dolphins marched down the field with ease against the Bills' shocked secondary. With 7:44 to play, Rosenfels found running back Ronnie Brown for a 23 yard touchdown pass. The Bills' lead was cut to 6 with all kinds of time remaining. After a clock-eating drive, the Buffalo Bills were forced to punt to the Dolphins yet again. Rosenfels was leading his squad down the field yet again until he was picked off by Bills defensive end Aaron Schobel. It was an unbelievably athletic play by Schobel and it looked as though the Dolphins' hopes for a win had faded away. The Bills got the ball back but there was good news for the Dolphins: Mike Mularkey was coaching on the other sideline. On the first play of the drive, McGahee rushed up the middle for a loss of a yard. On second-and-11, Losman rushed around the corner for a measly 2 yards. On third-and-9, with backup running back Shaud Williams coming, you could sense what Mularkey was going to do. In a play that angered the entire region of Western New York, Losman called a draw play to Williams that resulted in a 5 yard loss. Obviously Mularkey wasn't smart enough to see that the Dolphins had an all-out blitz called and were going to send the house at Losman; a running play would have been a complete dead end.

After that play, 99 percent of the people watching the game probably knew the Dolphins were destined to complete their tremendous comeback and defeat the beleaguered Bills. On a drive that spanned 11 plays and accumulated 73 yards of offense, the Dolphins completed their comeback. Rosenfels hit Chambers for a 56 yard gain down the middle that nearly put the Dolphins up 24-23. Instead, Chambers was shoe-string tackled by London Fletcher and the Dolphins still had some work to do. After a couple more completions to Chambers and Welker, the Dolphins found themselves closing in on Buffalo's goal line. After a couple of stops by the Bills' defense, the Dolphins were faced with fourth-and-goal at the Bills' 4 yard line. Rosenfels threw up a floater when he saw that his go-to guy, Chambers, was covered by the Bills' nickel cornerback, Jabari Greer. Chambers came down with the ball and the Dolphins tied the score at 23. Olindo Mare drilled the extra point and the Dolphins completed their stunning comeback, with a 24-23 victory.

Undoubtedly, this game could propel the now 5-7 Dolphins into the future with a great deal of confidence. They may have finally found a quarterback in the form of Rosenfels. Chambers had the best day in the history of Dolphins receivers as he hauled in 15 catches for 238 yards. Sometimes great victories for certain teams can lead them to great things. For the Bills, it's another loss and it means they're 4-8. It's another sign of ineptitude in the era of Bills general manager Tom Donahoe. Coach Mike Mularkey proved once again that he's not fit to be a head coach in the NFL. On the bright side, Losman had the best day of his young career as he threw for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns. He and Evans could be a lethal duo for years to come.

Comments? E-mail Connor Byrne: cbyrne@realfootball365.com
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