There certainly was some good to be taken away from Sunday afternoon in Orchard Park, New York. No, the Dolphins didn’t get their first win of 2019, and may not win one the entire year, but they did some things well.
Unfortunately, as is the case with bad teams (and especially, really bad teams) you have no margin for error. And, that means when you start making them you are doomed.
That was the Dolphins against the Bills, remembering they are bad in the second half of a 31 – 21 loss.
Still, this is what it’s come to in Miami: finding parts of bad games/losses to try to compliment.
So, let’s go with the good, which included solid play for much of the day from veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick was 23 – 35 for 282 yards with a touchdown but also with a costly interception.
Fitzpatrick led two scoring drives in the first half that gave Miami their first halftime lead since December of last year. The Fins clearly had a chance to win for the second straight game.
But then, would come the bad.
Fitzpatrick’s pick came just two plays after the Dolphins had successfully gotten a first down on a fake field goal. That’s when the holder, punter Matt Haack, ran tough through the middle of the line and picked up the two yards necessary to keep the drive alive.
But, that’s when the “bad” Fitzpatrick appeared, as on first and goal from the two, he got hit, fumbling and losing 10 yards.
What came next, made every Dolphins fan (fewer and fewer these days) from Hialeah to West Palm throw something at their TV’s. This as, Fitzpatrick made the costly throw that’s plagued him his entire career.
He telegraphed a pass to the right corner of the endzone and Buffalo’s Tre’davious White jumped in front of it and kept Miami from getting any points.
Worse yet for the Dolphins D, they let Buffalo march 98 yards on them and eventually, quarterback Josh Allen hit diminutive receiver John Brown for a 20 yard TD. And, when Allen ran in the two-point play for the 17-14 advantage, Buffalo would never look back.
That’s because the Dolphins did what they’ve been doing all year- make crucial mistakes to cost themselves. This time, Fitzpatrick completed an easy pass to Preston Williams, but White hit him jarring out the ball and the Bills recovered the fumble setting them up at the Miami 16.
Allen connected with a wide-open Cole Beasley on a 3-yard touchdown three plays later, and Miami was once again in familiar territory- down 10 or more late in a game.
Yes, the Dolphins, and Fitzpatrick specifically, showed guts as he scrambled for a touchdown run where he lowered the shoulder at the goal line to get in. It was great admirable effort, and it’s being played everywhere on the highlight shows and the internet on Monday.
Still, it wasn’t enough, and only the “creative” 2019 Dolphins can find a way to turn an onside kick into a 45 yard return TD by the other team. Micah Hyde did that and things were finished, once and for all.
So, the Fins left Buffalo at 0-6 taking away some good from their Sunday.
Still, it’s little consolation at this point, as 0-10, 0-12 and worse, appears more and more likely
Dolphins were back to their bumbling ways Sunday
As the Dolphins came back down to earth in a humbling 37 – 20 loss to Buffalo Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium, many of the same flaws from their 0- 7 start were back.
Although Ryan Fitzpatrick ended with good numbers and did not throw an interception, Miami lacked offensive punch from the outset.
Miami punted the ball on each of their first four possessions and by the time they had reached the middle of the second quarter, it was already 16 – 0 in favor of the Bills.
The Dolphins could not run the ball as Kalen Ballage had nine carries for only nine yards against what’s a good but not great Buffalo defense. Newly extended receiver Allen Hurns promptly fumbled after a first half reception.
It looked all too familiar to the home fans.
The pass protection was poor as Fitzpatrick suffered seven sacks in the game, and Miami was completely one-dimensional by the time the second half rolled around. Fitzpatrick was efficient in the air at 32 – 45 for 323 yards, but a lot of those yards came when the Dolphins trailed by more than two scores the whole second half.
As for the Bills, they ran the ball just fine with 168 yards on the ground and a 5 yard per carry average. Rookie Devin Singletary of FAU came back to the area and tallied 75 yards. And second year QB Josh Allen showed one of the traits that got him drafted in the top 15, as he scrambled seven times for 56 yards, including a second-half touchdown.
Yes, The Bills are putting themselves in position to be back in the playoffs for the second time in three years, as they completed the season sweep over the Fins.
It’s the kind of improvement under coach Sean McDermott that Miami eventually wants to see with coach Brian Flores. But, days after Flores was doing his best Bill Belichick “we’re on to Buffalo” with media questions, Miami was “on to another loss.”
And, as the Dolphins sank to 2 – 8, their reality is they aren’t talented enough or coached well enough, across-the-board to play good football game in and game out.
Buffalo reminded them of that Sunday.
Dolphins give veteran WR Hurns new deal
In a season that began horribly at 0- 7, the Dolphins have begun to come around and now, put some pieces into place for the future. That includes re-upping a veteran wide receiver on Saturday.
The team announced a new two-year extension for wideout Allen Hurns Saturday. And while it’s only a modest contract, it is a signal but the team is trying to build with at least some veteran players in the future..
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport had the contract details on Hurns is getting a new $8 million dollar extension through 2021:
The #Dolphins signed WR Allen Hurns to a 2-year extension worth $8M, source said. He gets $3.27M guaranteed.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 16, 2019
This is a raise over his 1-year 2.5 million contract he signed with Miami on the eve of training camp.
Hurns entered the league undrafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. His best season in North Florida was 2015, where he caught for just over 1,000 yards and 10 TDs. After getting a four year extension from the Jags, they cut him loose to free up cap space after the 2017 season.
Hurns then signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys worth $12 million. However, after he played all 16 games in the regular season with 20 catches and 2 TDs, he suffered a horrific broken ankle in the Cowboys playoff win over Seattle, and was placed on injured reserve.
Dallas eventually released Hurns earlier this year and that’s when Dolphins GM Chris Grier swooped in bring a veteran presence to their locker room on a one year deal.
Hurns, who just turned 28 earlier this week, has played in nine games this season with three starts, including the last two. He doesn’t have more than three catches in any of them and only one touchdown, which came in the Monday night loss to the Steelers three weeks ago. Hurns also suffered a severe concussion against his team, Dallas, in week three.
It is obvious that Miami went on a veteran purge for most of their roster in the offseason and the beginning of this year. And, that included getting rid of veteran speedster Kenny Stills in a huge trade with team-mate Laremy Tunsil to the Texans on the eve of the season.
That brought the Dolphins to number one picks in return. Miami also released veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola in a salary cap move earlier this year.
Miami wants to count on former number one pick DeVante Parker. And, they were also very high on undrafted free agent Preston Williams before he suffered an ACL injury in the win over the Jets two weeks ago.
Finally, as has been the case with Hurns’ last couple of deals, the contract only reportedly has $3.2 million guaranteed and is therefore team friendly to get rid of him, if they choose to do so at any point next season.
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