The interesting thing going into this game was to see if the aggressiveness of Perry Fewell was going to continue this week. Many times during this game, he showed that he is a lot different than Dick Jauron. The Bills delivered Fewell his first career win as a head coach as they took the game away from Miami in the fourth quarter by scoring 24 points, and coming away with a 31-14 victory.
The Bills started off with the ball, and punted it away after a quick three and out. Miami took over, and on their first position converted their first third down of the game, when Chad Henne found Davone Bess for a 15-yard completion to the Bills 37 yard line. On the next play Ricky Williams ran off the left side for an 11-yard pickup, and took the ball on the next play for a 7-yard gain. The Dolphins moved the ball to the Bills 3 yard line, and on a first down and goal play, Williams took the ball and faked a run, and then threw a pass, which was intercepted by Chris Draft. This was a huge play by the Bills defense early on the game.
Buffalo responded on the next drive as Ryan Fitzpatrick found Terrell Owens for a 6 yard gain on first down. On a key second down play in the drive he found Lee Evans on a beautiful 32 yard pass play taking the ball to the Miami 29 yard line. The Bills could only move the ball 3 more yards, and Rian Lindell came on and missed a 44 yard field goal wide right to keep the game scoreless. Miami responded with a nine-play drive which included two big Henne completions to Anthony Fasano for gains of 15 and 16 yards. Both of those completions came on first. Miami moved down the field and faced a critical third down and goal. This time Henne threw the ball to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown to Brian Hartline. He made a beautiful catch on the ball staying with the play in the right corner of the end zone.
Both teams alternated possessions, and were forced to the punt. The Bills took over with a little over 7 minutes left in the half, and on first down Marshawn Lynch gained 6 yards on the carry to the Buffalo 21 yard line. On second down, Fitzpatrick found Fred Jackson for a 17-yard pickup on a screen pass. Jason Taylor was whistled for a roughing the passer penalty that added fifteen yards to the play. Fitzpatrick found tight end Jonathan Stupar for a 17-yard pickup to the Miami 30 yard line. One play later, Fitzpatrick was flushed out of the pocket, and took the ball himself down the right sideline into the end zone for a 31 yard touchdown run to tie the game 7-7. The score remained tied going into the half.
Miami came out in the second half hot, going on a 16 play drive that ate up just over nine minutes on the clock. The Dolphins drive ended on a one yard touchdown run by Williams to give Miami the lead 14-7. Henne converted all three third downs on this drive with short passes. Buffalo came back on the next possession, and responded. Jackson took the ball on first down for a 9-yard pickup to the Bills 34 yard line. Fitzpatrick hit Owens on a 10-yard pickup to get the ball out near midfield. The key play of the game came on this drive when the Bills had to ball on the Miami 36 yard line on fourth down. Perry Fewell elected to go for it, and Fitzpatrick scrambled for a 8-yard gain to get the first down. On the next play Fitzpatrick found Owens for a 12 yard gain to the Dolphins 16 yard line. Two plays later, Jackson scored on a three-yard touchdown run to tie the game.
The score was tied when the Bills took over with just under six minutes left in the game. The question running through the minds of Bills fans was; Is this fourth quarter going to be any different? The Bills were forced into a 3rd and 18 situation from the Miami 47 yard line, when Fitzpatrick found Lynch for a 9-yard completion. A huge decision came for Perry Fewell here, would he go ahead and punt the ball to pin Miami back, or does he take the long field goal shot. In a gutsy call, he let Lindell go out there and attempt a 56 yard field goal. Lindell rewarded Fewell’s confidence in him by nailing the career long breaking the tie. This proved to be the spark the Bills needed, because on Miami’s next possession, Henne under threw a pass intended for Hartline, and it was intercepted by Drayton Florence. Then we saw the big difference between Edwards and Fitzpatrick on the next play from midfield. Fitzpatrick called a audible at the line, and launched a beautiful pass down the right sideline to a Owens for a 51 yard game clinching touchdown, as the stadium went wild.
Donte Whitner intercepted Henne on the next Dolphin drive, and Whitner returned the ball 28 yards to the Dolphin 26 yard line. Jackson capped off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run to give the Bills the win 31-14.
This game we saw drastic differences between Fewell and Jauron. The Bills look like a new team under Fewell, and the offense looks completely different with Fitzpatrick under center, and Jackson the started running back. We are seeing Fewell and Fitzpatrick’s aggressiveness paying off, as defenses have to start respecting the Bills passing game a lot more than before. Owens is starting to benefit greatly with the aggressiveness on offense. Owens finished the game with 5 receptions for 96 yards, and a touchdown. The Bills have short week to get ready for the New York Jets, as they will be heading north of the border for Thursday night football, looking for win number five.
Dolphins Game Preview