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Bills Hang On To Beat Dolphins 19-14
Two late interceptions seal rare primetime win.
by Steve Saslow
Week 11
Dolphins  14
Bills  19
Gameday Grades
The Skinny:
Leodis McKelvin returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown and Rian Lindell hit four first half field goals as the Bills held on to beat the Dolphins 19-14. The Buffalo offense did not score a single point after halftime. Marcus Thigpen returned a kickoff 96 yards for a score for Miami. Ryan Tannehill tried to lead a fourth quarter rally hitting Davone Bess for a touchdown before throwing interceptions on his final two drives as Jairus Byrd and Bryan Scott picked him off to clinch the win. C.J. Spiller had 130 total yards on offense but the story of this game was the defense that gave up only 184 yards in offense and had three takeaways in all.

The Turning Point:
Byrd's Interception: His diving interception was one of the best catches of the season. He made a fantastic play getting his hands under the ball and holding on while staying inbounds. The play helped the Bills hold on as the Dolphins didn't have much time when they got the ball back.

The Big Drive:
When you win the game without scoring an offensive touchdown there really isn't one.

Stat I Did Like:
Rushing Defense: The Bills allowed just 60 yards on 24 carries for a 2.5 yard per carry average.

Stat I Didn't Like:
Penalties Again: They had 11 penalties for 100 yards.

Quick Slants:
- The Bills entered the game with 10 straight prime time losses.
- The organization did a really nice card stunt to support the troops as fans held up cards that spelled out Veterans.
- The Bills won the toss and elected to defer.
- They wore their road white jerseys at home.

Key Matchup Results:
The winners of the battles highlighted in our preview article:
DE Mario Williams vs. RT Jonathan Martin: Winner: Williams He was very disruptive in the backfield.
LT Cordy Glenn vs. DE Cameron Wake: Winner: Glenn. Wake did have one sack for a minimal loss but was not heard from most of the game.
CB Stephon Gilmore vs. WR Brian Hartline: Winner: Gilmore. The rookie had his best game of the season.
WR Stevie Johnson vs. CB Sean Smith: Winner: Johnson 6 catches for 79 yards and was open other times.

Keys To The Game Results:
How the keys highlighted in our preview article turned out:
1. Make Tannehill Look Like A Rookie: Success! He threw two interceptions with the game on the line and threw for just 141 yards on 14 completions.
2. Contain Bush: Success! He had only 20 yards on 10 carries.
3. Keep Fitz Rolling: Failure! Didn't really do much in the air but didn't do anything to damage them either.

My Take:
Whew! The Bills dominated most of this game but when you settle for three instead of seven as much as they did it can get dicey. It sure got scary at the end as the Bills allowed Miami to hang around too long but the defense finally played the way we hoped they would from the beginning of the season. This was how we envisioned they would win, with a strong running game and suffocating defense. It hasn't happened a lot this year so we should savor their first primetime win in 11 years.

What's Ahead:
The Bills have 10 days off before traveling to Indianapolis to take on Andrew Luck and the surprising Colts. It will be a tough one that was likely circled as a win when the schedule came out.

  • Jairus Byrd - Had the big interception but also recovered a fumble and broke up a bomb.
  • Rian Lindell - Was the entire offense hitting all four field goal attempts.
  • Leodis McKelvin - His punt return for a touchdown was another thing of beauty.
  • C.J. Spiller - Had 130 total yards rushing and receiving.
  • Bryan Scott - Had the game clinching interception.
  • Shawn Powell - Had two great punts late in the game including having one downed at the one when Miami was trying to comeback.

  • Goats
  • Chan Gailey - His failure to use Spiller in big spots was mind boggling. Very weak play calling allowed Miami to hang around.

  • Player Of The Week
  • Jairus Byrd - He was all over the field.

  • Positional Breakdown and Grades Gamebook
    Dolphins Game Preview
    Gameday Homepage

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