The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack


A victory against the Bills on Sunday would have had the Fins praying for the Saints to beat the Patriots on Monday Night Football to set up a fight for first place next Sunday when the Fins host the Patriots at the stadium best known as Joe Robbie Stadium. But instead, the Fins’ season was Buffaloed by the Bills who came from behind to beat the Fins 31-14.

Going in, this game looked like one that the Fins’ should win. After all, the Bills were at 3-7 and riding a 3-game losing streak while the Fins had won 5 of their last 7 to seemingly resurrect their season following an ugly 0-3 start. However, there was plenty of ugliness in the game on the Fins’ side of the ball and it started rather early. After shutting down the Bills’ opening possession three and out, the Fins drove the ball down to the Bills’ 4-yard line before Ricky Williams, attempting a very rare pass, threw an interception in the end zone. And even though the Fins’ ran the ball with great success against the Bills (157 yards for the day), they still only managed a 7-7 tie at the half.

The second half started strong with the Fins marching down the field on a 13-play drive culminating in a Ricky Williams touchdown run that put the Fins back in the lead, 14-7. But it was all downhill from there as the Fins let the Bills hang around until the dreaded fourth quarter. The Fins went into the game leading the league in most fourth-quarter points surrendered. The Bills would see to it that the Fins’ would remain dead last in that category, scoring 24 unanswered points to pull out the win.

The Fins still had a chance to win after the Bills’ Ryan Lindell kicked his career-long 56 yard field goal to go up 17-14. At that point the Fins had 3:30 left in the game with 2 time outs and the 2-minute warning to work with to try to get either a tying field goal or a go-ahead touchdown. However, Ted Ginn only managed to run back the kickoff to the 21 yard line. On first down, Ginn moved before the snap, ensuring that the Fins would start from a hole. Anthony Fasano, who had his best game of the season (5 catches for 74 yards), then came up with a big 17-yard catch for a first down and it looked like Henne might work a little fourth quarter magic. However, the Fins’ then trotted Pat White onto the field and he ran for a mere 2 yards. Henne came back onto the field to face a second and 8 situation. He went back to pass and was pressured into an underthrow that was intended for Brian Hartline, but was intercepted, essentially ended the game. Unfortunately, although the Fins’ day was now done, Henne wasn’t quite yet done. He proceeded to throw 2 more late picks which enabled the Bills to pad the score to the embarrassing 31-14 final.

With the loss, the Fins’ were not only done for the day, but they were also done for the season. At 5-6, they will be either 2 or 3 games behind the Patriots when they face them next Sunday, depending upon what happens when the Patriots face the Saints on Monday Night Football. Speaking of which, with the Fins’ season in the trash pile, the Fins’ faithful can now feel free to root for the Patriots to end the Saints’ perfect season, knowing that the Fins’ chances of beating the Patriots out for the division title are thinner than Charlie Weis’ chances of retaining his job with the Fighting Irish!

One thing is for sure: Sunday’s game against the Bills was a disaster. And the bottom line about this disaster in upstate New York is that the Fins’ season was truly Buffaloed.

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