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6 posts from November 15, 2012

November 15, 2012

Bills lead Dolphins 19-7 to start fourth quarter

BUFFALO -- Things didn't really change in the third quarter -- except that Miami finally crossed midfield.

The Dolphins are still struggling.

The fourth quarter will be telling.

The live blog continues in the comments section.

Bills lead Dolphins 19-7 going to third quarter

BUFFALO -- Well, the Dolphins are still waiting for their offense to show up to this late game.

The Dolphins first first down came on a Bills encroachment penalty in the second quarter. They have not crossed midfield in the first half. They have only 50 total yards on offense.

Nolan Carroll has three penalties, including two pass intereference calls, that have cost the Dolphins 51 yards.

And so the Bills lead 19-7 but it feels much worse because the Bills have dominated.

The second half starts soon. The live blog continues now in the comments section.

Bills lead Dolphins 13-7 to start second quarter

BUFFALO -- It's been exciting so far.

Punt return TD for Buffalo. Kickoff return TD for Marcus Thigpen and the Dolphins.

The difference in the game is two Rian Lindell field goals as Buffalo leads 13-6. Consider the Dolphins fortunate that's the deficit because they've been outplayed so far.

The game continues. And the live blog continues in the comments section.

Gaffney, McDaniel inactive, Matthews active tonight

BUFFALO -- Jabar Gaffney is inactive tonight. So is Tony McDaniel.

the Dolphins are also going with only two tight ends tonight because Jeron Mastrud is inactive. (That should tell you something about Michael Egnew's status because in a game Miami only has two TEs active, he is still inactive).

The Dolphins have activated Rishard Matthews for the second time this season.

The rest of the inactives are Pat Devlin and Will Yeatman.

The Dolphins will wear their aqua jerseys and white pants.

There's a live blog here tonight. It will happen in the comments section. I'll join you there at kickoff.

Tonight's game a chance for a little revenge

BUFFALO -- Here it is. The opportunity. This is the night.

If you are old enough and remember back long enough to know that Dave Wannstedt did enormous damage to the Miami Dolphins, then tonight is the opportunity for a bit of revenge.

It was Wannstedt who was pushed upon Dolphins fans when Jimmy Johnson convinced Wayne Huizenga to pick his friend Wannstedt to coach the team -- even after Johnson had failed in the assignment.

At first it seemed like a good idea. The Dolphins won the AFC East in 2000 under Wannstedt. And then the slow, steady decline of a franchise ensued. First the records got increasingly worse, then the team stopped making the playoffs. The wasting of talent Johnson drafted -- including Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain -- was underway.

And by the time Wannstedt was ousted (he quit after he was told he'd be fired) at midseason in 2004, the Dolphins were no longer the shining example of an NFL franchise they had been under Don Shula.

All that comes rushing back to me because tonight the Dolphins meet a unit Wannstedt coaches for the first time since 2004. Oh, Wannstedt was with the Bills last year when Reggie Bush went for over 200 rushing yards. But he was not the man in charge of the Bills defense. Now, he's the Bills defensive coordinator.

Did I mention the Bills have the worst defense in the NFL?

They give up more points on average than anyone. Perhaps the fact Wannstedt is still running that old 4-3 with press corners and not much change game-to-game is one reason. I was told by a long-time Buffalo observer the Bills didn't blitz the first four games of the season.

"Vanilla is a good word for it," he told me of the Bills defense.


All I'm saying is this is a purely emotional issue. This is not a football issue. The players on the field tonight have nothing to do with this. This is between Dolphins fans who still remember the start of this century and the man responsible for Miami's decline at that time.

Revenge, you say?

You bet.

By the way, there's a live blog coming tonight. I'll post the inactives in a few minutes. Hop on board. I'll join the blog at kickoff.

Miami Dolphins lineup is what it is

BUFFALO -- Earlier this week Dolphins coach Joe Philbin was asked if the changing of players' roles is more difficult this week based on the fact tonight's game allowed little time for change. And the coach was coy, knowing full well that he's basically locked in on practically every role and job.

“I don’t know that anything’s out of the question," Philbin said. "We’re obviously putting together the plan for Buffalo as we speak. We came back last night and worked on it. We’ll see as it unfolds during the course of the week."

Yeah, great.

Look, the truth is the Dolphins seem locked in for this game. And, furthermore, most players seem locked into their current job because circumstances are demanding it.

Sean Smith is going to start cornerback whether he plays well as he did earlier in the season or doesn't as he's shown the past two weeks.

Ryan Tannehill is going to start the rest of this season whether he plays well or not.

Jake Long is going to start at left tackle whether he plays well or not.

Jimmy Wilson has been terrible as the nickel cornerback except on the occasions he's blitzing -- he's been excellent doing that while struggling in coverage.

Richie Incognito is likely going to remain the starting left guard whether he struggles or not, commits a dumb penalty or not.

The truth is the Dolphins don't have enough depth in the secondary and viable talent behind the starters to make a significant change. The truth is Long has not been his typical self, but no one behind him is challenging him. The truth is regardless of how much Anthony Fasano disappears (three receptions the last three week), Michael Egnew is not ready to step up.

The fact is there is only one starter whose performance is lately not up to par that can be replaced by his backups and that's running back Reggie Bush. And while Bush can be replaced on a physical and performance level, that move might have repurcussions throughout the locker room making the move dangerous.

So, basically, these are your Miami Dolphins. Things aren't going to change much the rest of the season. Get used to it.

But here's the caveat to all that ...

Jobs are not necessarily at stake now or for the rest of this year. But there are players -- Smith, Long, Fasano, Randy Starks, Brian Hartline, Bush, Reshad Jones -- who must perform well to get the kind of contracts they all want once this season is over and their current deals expire.

That and professional pride will have to be the motivation.

Fear of being replaced?

Doesn't look that way.