BUFFALO, NY (WKBW/BUFFALOBILLS.COM) - The Buffalo Bills dropped their third straight in a crucial AFC East match-up against the streaking Miami Dolphins Sunday.
Sunday's 35-8 loss to the Dolphins drops the Bills to 5-5 after starting the year 3-0 and heading into their bye-week at 5-2.
For the Dolphins, who started 0-7, it's their third straight win.
Buffalo’s offense showed good rhythm early getting off to a good start with a couple of big plays. C.J. Spiller caught a quick slant and went 18 yards on the first play from scrimmage. Two plays later Fred Jackson took a screen pass 26 yards to move into Dolphins territory. But the drive stalled at the Miami 12-yard line when Ryan Fitzpatrick couldn’t connect with Stevie Johnson on a 3rd-and-2 pass. Buffalo took a 30-yard Dave Rayner field goal for a 3-0 lead early.
Miami would answer with an even longer drive going 87 yards on 12 plays, including a big 3rd-and-12 conversion by Matt Moore with a 19-yard back shoulder throw to Brian Hartline to set up 1st-and-10 at the Bills 12-yard line. Three plays later Moore hit Anthony Fasano for a one-yard touchdown reception and a 7-3 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter.
After a three-and-out by Buffalo’s offense, Miami would put together another scoring drive and again the Bills were victimized for a big play. On a 2nd-and-8 from the Miami 43, Moore hit Charles Clay over the top for a 46-yard pass play. Reggie Bush took it in from five yards out two plays later to give the Dolphins a 14-3 advantage.
The Bills offense would only compound the problem as a Fitzpatrick pass on 3rd-and-8 from Buffalo’s own 16 went in and out of the hands of Brad Smith on a hard hit and was intercepted by Nolan Carroll at the Bills 23. Moore would hit Charles Clay for a 12-yard touchdown play to cap a short five-play drive to put the Dolphins up 21-3 with just over two minutes gone in the second quarter.
After both defenses got a couple of stops Buffalo’s offense would turn the ball over deep in their own territory again. On a 3rd-and-10 from their own 18 a Fitzpatrick pass intended for David Nelson went off his hands and was picked off by Yeremiah Bell. Bell returned the pass to the Buffalo four-yard line. After a touchdown catch in the back of the end zone by Brandon Marshall was reversed on review, Moore would hit Bess for a four-yard touchdown catch (28-3).
Buffalo got a lift heading to the locker room as Fitzpatrick moved the offense down the field in their hurry up with just 1:32 on the clock and no timeouts. Dave Rayner then boomed a 56-yard field goal attempt through the uprights for a 28-6 score at the half.
The Bills special teams would play a part in Buffalo’s third-straight defeat as a failed blocking assignment allowed Miami to block a Brian Moorman punt at the Bills own 28-yard line by Chris Clemons. It was then recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by Lex Hilliard to make it 35-6.
Buffalo had two scoring opportunities to cut into Miami’s lead with a pair of possessions inside the 20, but came up empty both times as the Dolphins forced a turnover on downs with a stop on 4th-and-14 at the Miami 19 and a 4th-and-goal at the Miami one-yard line.
The Bills only second half points came on a safety when Kelvin Sheppard knifed through the line to stop Daniel Thomas in the end zone following the second turnover on downs.
Buffalo failed to convert a third down on 12 opportunities, marking just the sixth time in team history the offense failed to move the chains once in a game. With the loss the Bills fell to 5-5 on the season into a tie with the Jets for second place in the AFC East. The Jets host the Bills next Sunday at MetLife Stadium.