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Week 3: Dolphins Knock Off Bills 17-7
Offense completely shutdown in loss
by Steve Saslow
at
Week 3
Bills   7
Dolphins  17
Gameday Grades

The Bills came crashing down to earth in the Sunday night heat of Southern Florida. The offense had an atrocious performance and couldn't do anything as Miami dominated from start to finish in their 17-7 victory. The Bills lone score was on defense as Nate Clements returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown to actually keep the Bills in a game that they had no business being in.

The name of this game was field position, time of possession, and turnovers. There were five turnovers in the first half alone as the Bills squandered two scoring opportunities with interceptions in the red zone. Drew Bledsoe had the worst game of his career finishing just 98 yards passing and that number was inflated with a garbage time drive at the end of the game. He threw an interception in the end zone in the second quarter minutes after Travis Henry threw a pick at the one yard line on the halfback option play. It was an ill advise gadget play considering the team was struggling pretty bad offensively to begin with.

The offense couldn't afford to waste those two opportunities as they were held to 118 yards for the game and 51 of those yards came on the final possession with the game no longer in doubt.

The game remained scoreless late in the first half thanks to a valiant effort by the Bills defense. They bent but didn't break and got two takeaways of their own in the first half. Clements had his first pick on Miami's opening possession to thwart a Dolphin drive. Takeo Spikes returned a Ricky Williams fumble deep into Miami territory on the first play of the second quarter but Henry's interception stopped that scoring opportunity.

Miami scored just before halftime as Chris Chambers caught a 12 yard touchdown pass from Jay Fiedler. Miami stretched their lead to 10-0 in the third quarter as the Bills defense began to tire. Not so much from dealing with the Florida heat for the second straight week, but from being on the field almost the entire contest. The field goal drive was a 14 play, 85 yard drive that took half of the third quarter. Miami had the ball for a whopping 40:50 and the Bills defense just ran out of gas.

Clements touchdown early in the fourth quarter ignited the defense for a minute but they failed to force a punt the rest of the game. Miami's next possession ended in Olande Mare's second missed field goal of the game. The Bills promptly went three and out losing nine yards in the process. It was their fifth three and out of the game. Miami then moved down the field to the final touchdown. The defense really was tired by that point and there good first half effort on Williams in the first half went away down the stretch as the Miami back finished with 153 yards on the ground in a Dolphin record 42 carries.

The Bills defense battled to the end despite being exhausted from playing two thirds of the game. Playing in Florida two weeks in a row couldn't have helped. The win by Miami puts the Bills in a three way tie with the Pats and Dolphins and the AFC East parody race is now on. After two great offensive performances to open the season we knew it would have to end sometime but end this badly was never even considered. The defense kept this game from being a total rout.

Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats as you would expect there are many more goats than heroes:



Gameballs
  • Nate Clements - He always saves his best for Miami, half of his career interceptions have now come against Miami with his two in this game.
  • Brian Moorman - Averaged 50 yards a punt on seven punts. Did have two bad ones but five really good boomers.


  • Goats
  • Offense - The entire offensive unit gets a goat for the pathetic showing of just 67 yards total offense before the final garbage time drive. Here are some specific offensive goats:
  • Drew Bledsoe - He's gets a specific goat for his pathetic play. It had to be the worst game of his career. He threw two interceptions including a terrible pass in the end zone on a third down play. What happened to not forcing passes anymore?
  • Eric Moulds - If he let his play do the talking like he said he would, then he was very quiet. He had two drops and two catches.
  • Travis Henry - Before his injury he had 7 yards on 5 carries, dropped a pass and threw an interception.
  • Kevin Thomas - Amazingly, the team had a chance to win the game they weren't in but Thomas was called for defensive holding on Miami's final scoring drive on a third down pass play. No penalty, the Bills get the ball back down by 3.
  • Gregg Williams - It's amazing how this man cannot get his team to stop taking so many penalties. He has to stop using gadget plays because they are always disasters. The QB option pass with Henry was ill timed, ill executed, and it cost the team three points.


  • Player Of The Week
  • Nate Clements - He had two more interceptions against the Dolphins and returned one for the Bills only points of the game. Hands down the only possibility for player of the week.


  • Positional Breakdown and Grades
    NFL.com Gamebook
    Dolphins Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage



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