Home Sports Instant takeaways from Dolphins’ 32-29 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the snow

Instant takeaways from Dolphins’ 32-29 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the snow

Instant takeaways from Dolphins’ 32-29 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the snow

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Dolphins are finally coming home.

And they can’t get there fast enough.

The Dolphins, playing their third road game in a row, gave the Buffalo Bills all they could handle before losing 32-29 Saturday night when Tyler Bass kicked a 25-yard field goal in the snow on the final play.

Bills teammates aided Bass by feverishly brushing snow away to clear the way for the field goal. It ended a 15-play, 86-yard drive.

Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert is tackled by Buffalo Bills defensive tackle DaQuan Jones

The Dolphins were 0-3 on the road swing. They fell to 8-6 while the Bills improved to 11-3 and clinched a playoff berth.

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Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins had combined an opportunistic passing attack with a revitalized run game led by Raheem Mostert for a 29-21 lead with 12 minutes left.

The Dolphins now get to return home for a Christmas Day game against Green Bay in their first appearance at Hard Rock Stadium since Nov. 27.

Takeaways from the loss:

Bills fans are better than this — we thought

The Bills have good fans. Fans who show up no matter how frightful the weather outside is. Fans who even tailgate in bad weather. And shovel out snow for players so they can make their flights to road games.

But Saturday night hardly was their finest hour. Not with all the snowballs getting thrown.

This isn’t child’s play. Frosty isn’t here. Referee Bill Vinovich even had to turn on his mic and announce to fans if the snowball-throwing kept up, the Bills would be penalized 15 yards.

While the rate of snowball-tossing slowed, it didn’t cease.

At one point, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel complained to officials about the situation, especially with his bench a prime target.

“We’re having a great working relationship, coach to official, that’s all,” McDaniel told NFL Network at halftime.

To some extent, trouble was invited when snow either wasn’t or couldn’t be cleared from most seating areas before fans arrived. Some fans even passed around a snow shovel so they could sit in their seats. So the snow had to go somewhere.

But it never should have gone on the field and officials were overly lenient in not throwing a flag.

It would be nice to say it was a tiny minority of fans who made the rest look bad. But that wasn’t the case.

Hardly the secondary anybody could have expected 

When safety Jevon Holland ended up in the blue tent with a shoulder injury late in the first half, the Dolphins’ injury situation in the secondary officially hit ridiculous proportions.

A secondary that could have been expected to feature Xavien Howard and Byron Jones at cornerback and Holland as the top safety looked nothing of the sort with Justin Bethel, Keion Crossen, Noah Igbinoghene, Verone McKinley Kader Kohou and Howard rotating in an attempt to stop Josh Allen.

The results weren’t pretty.

The Bills ended the first half with a 12-play, 67-yard drive that ended with Allen finding James Cook with a 4-yard touchdown pass as time expired. It was aided by three penalties against Miami’s defense in a four-snap span: holding against Igbinoghene, offside on Zach Sieler, holding on Howard.

At least Holland returned for the second half.

Big night for Raheem Mostert, rushing attack

The Bills entered the game No. 4 in the league against the run, which made Raheem Mostert’s performance all the more impressive.

Mostert came out firing, finding big holes up with the middle with cut-back runs that the Bills had no answer for.

In a play sure to get consideration for NFL Network’s “Angry Runs” segment next week, Mostert broke four tackles on a 67-yard run. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, the possession only resulted in a field goal.

Salvon Ahmed also had good, punishing runs.

Still, it’s a positive sign for an offense that at times has abandoned the run game. It’s essential for December/January football.

What Miami pass rush is supposed to look like

Jaelan Phillips said he looked forward to playing in tough weather.

Then he showed up for warmups shirtless.

Phillips made a huge play when he stripped Allen of the ball and Christian Wilkins recovered. It’s the kind of play the Dolphins envisioned when they added Bradley Chubb to harass QBs with Phillips and Melvin Ingram.

Playoff chances? Here are all the figures you need to know

This three-game losing streak is a downer for the Dolphins, but it’s not fatal to their postseason hopes at all.

Two important things to keep in mind: If the Dolphins win their final two home games (against the Packers and Jets), they have a 95 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to fivethirtyeight.com.

If they sweep their final three games (it includes a trip to New England), they’re in. Period.

The Green Bay game next weekend is critical. Lose that and Miami’s chances sink to 46 percent — the first time of consequence that it would be worse than 50-50.

For perspective, the Dolphins entered the game with a 70 percent shot and left Buffalo at 64 percent. It would have been 89 percent had they held onto their lead in the fourth quarter to complete a season sweep of the Bills for the first time since 2016.


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