Team gets tired in the fourth quarter as Miami routs Bills.
by Steve Saslow
January 6, 2002
Alex Van Pelt left the game with a shoulder injury after the third series with the Bills offense going nowhere in Miami's 34-7 rout of the Bills in the season finale for Buffalo. Travis Brown played the final three quarters and led the Bills to their only touchdown, a 12 yard pass to Larry Centers in the third quarter that temporarily put the Bills back in the game.
Miami went on two record three fourth quarter touchdowns, the final score coming on a 100 yard interception return by Brock Marion to give Miami the 27 point victory and the fourth seed in the AFC playoffs next year.
The Dolphins dominated the first half as they opened up a 13-0 halftime lead. The Bills offense only managed a paltry 13 yards in the opening half as Miami took advantage of better field position to sandwich two short field goals between a Lamar Smith six yard touchdown run.
Smith finished with 158 yards on 30 carries while the Bills running game was held to just 39 yards for the entire game, with only three yards coming in the first half. The Bills forced a punt on the opening possession of the second half by Miami, but Brown engineered a beautiful 84 yard drive in 7 plays to his touchdown pass to Centers to pull the Bills within six at 13-7. It was a perfect drive for Brown who seemed to gather himself temporarily at halftime as he hit passes of 11 and 13 yards to Eric Moulds before finding Jay Riemersma for 34 yards over the middle setting up Centers score.
The Bills seemed to be taking over the momentum, as the Bills defense seemed to be clamping down on the Miami offense. After they forced a three and out on the next possession they seemed to duplicate the effort on the next series but a stupid unnecessary roughness call on Lance Brown gave them an automatic first down late in the third quarter and the Bills wouldn't get any closer.
Miami scored four plays after Brown's boneheaded penalty as Jay Fiedler hit James McKnight on a 16 yard scoring pass to open up a 20-7 lead. That seemed to break the Bills back as Miami would score on their following possession after a Brown pass is intercepted they traveled 43 yards in six plays to a Fiedler 18 yard touchdown scramble blowing the game open. Miami would score again on the final play giving the game the 34-7 final.
The offense struggled mightily throughout but the defense showed some more signs of improvement before tiring in the final quarter. The team did not quit at halftime down by 13 with their quarterback out. They played tough in the third quarter but when Brown had the bad penalty call the Bills seemed to pack it in for the season. It will be another long but exciting off season as the Bills have a lot of work to do after the 3-12 finish. They did show signs of improvement over the last month of the season and there were a few bright spots today before the team packed it in. Here are our gameballs and goats:
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