The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack


Notwithstanding a 24-10 win over the Buffalo Bills, the Fins’ faintest of playoff hopes disappeared moments thereafter when the Steelers lost to the Bengals, thus formally eliminating the Fins from playoff contention.  As a result, next week’s season ending game in New England will be fairly meaningless.  Too bad, too sad, but the Fins have now been eliminated.

What can the Fins take away from their victory over the Bills?  Unfortunately, not too much.  Reggie Bush scored all 3 of their touchdowns, but he may not even be back next season.  Those 3 touchdowns may have little value outside of giving Reggie some nice game film to show other potential suitors as thus far the Fins have not made an attempt to get him signed for next season.

The hoped QB of the future did little to make Dolfans feel like he is the clear answer.  Once again, Ryan Tannehill had trouble completing half his pass attempts as he was an unimpressive 13 of 25 (52%).  He managed a very meager 130 total yards passing.  And this came against the rather suspect defense of the Buffalo Bills.  Although he also ran for 44 yards, running is not what is going to make him the Fins’ QB of the future.  On the other hand, he has done a good job avoiding interceptions in this his rookie season and he had another game without a pick against the Bills.

Lamar Miller finally got to show what he can do, rushing for 73 yards on 10 attempts (7.3 per carry).  His fine effort may lend the Fins a little added comfort in the event they don’t resign Reggie Bush.  But going with Daniel Thomas (who has not shown he can be a consistent back) and Lamar Miller (who has very little NFL experience under his belt) next season would seem to leave the Fins thin in the offensive backfield.

The Fins defense held the Bills to only 10 points, but then again it was the Bills.  C.J. Spiller again proved to be the Fins’ nemesis as he ran for 138 yards and added another 35 yards on 4 pass receptions.  Meanwhile, the defense finally came up with some turnovers.  Although they had only 1 in the last 7 games, they had 4 against the Bills.  Rashad Jones, who scooped up 2 fumbles and then had an INT in the waning moments of the fourth quarter to seal the game, has really blossomed into a playmaker this season.  There is no doubt he has earned himself a starting job for the foreseeable future. 

In reality it was the turnovers that made the difference because the Bills actually outgained the Fins 381 to 301.  The turnovers played a significant part in the significant disparity in field position during the game.  The Bills’ average possession started at their own 18 while the Fins’ average possession started at their own 36.  The turnovers had even a greater impact upon the outcome of the game as 17 of the Fins’ 24 points came following turnovers.

While the Fins were able to put this game in the win column, it was not a very impressive win considering the opponent was the last-place Bills.  It was the Bills’ sloppiness that ultimately made the difference in the game.  In addition to the 4 turnovers, the Bills were also penalized 11 times for 93 yards.  These mistakes were ultimately what buried Buffalo.  Unfortunately, moments after Rashad Jones sealed the win with his interception, the Fins’ faint playoff chances were buried by the Cincinnati Bengals.  The bottom line on Sunday was that the Fins were eliminated.

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