Photo courtesy of Miami Dolphins
To start the 2020 season, the Miami Dolphins have played two quality opponents and come away with two competitive losses.
Despite rallying to take a fourth-quarter lead on Sunday, the Dolphins were unable to get a timely stop in their home opener. Miami fell to 0-2 with a 31-28 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
The defeat was the fourth straight to Buffalo. As the Dolphins get set for a short week, we look at what went right and what did not on Sunday:
After a dismal showing at New England to open the year, the Miami offense was much better on Sunday. Against a Buffalo team that finished third in total defense last season and second in scoring defense, the Dolphins finished with 410 yards of total offense.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick bounced back from a 3-interception outing to pass for 328 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Dolphins also moved the ball well on the ground, finishing with 99 yards on 4.5 yards per carry. Tight end Mike Gesicki had a career-day with eight catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. Both of those are career-highs.
Kicker Jason Sanders had a nice day, going 2-for-2 on field goals. Sanders connected on kicks of 52 and 45 yards.
Despite starting 0-2, the Dolphins should be credited for how hard they have played. Against two of the better teams in the AFC, Miami has been competitive two weeks in a row.
Miami’s resiliency should also be noted. The Dolphins trailed by 10 late in the first half and rallied with 13 straight points to take a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Miami did a nice job minimizing self-inflicted wounds. The Dolphins did not turn the ball over and committed just three penalties, totaling 20 yards.
The defense for Miami on Sunday was nothing short of abysmal. Miami allowed Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen to throw for 415 yards and four touchdowns. As a team, the Dolphins yielded 524 yards to the Bills.
What was most frustrating for Miami was its inability to get off the field. Buffalo went 5-for-10 on third down and converted the last two for touchdowns. Stefon Diggs finished with eight catches for 153 yards and a score for the Bills.
Losing Byron Jones early served as a major blow, but the secondary was beat easily throughout the day for the Dolphins. The Miami pass rush was also non-existent. The Dolphins managed just one sack and that was a coverage sack.
Throughout the contest, Miami had numerous missed opportunities. Both Kyle Van Noy and Xavien Howard dropped key interceptions. Howard’s drop came on Buffalo’s final touchdown drive.
Offensively, the Dolphins also missed some opportunities. The biggest came late in the third quarter.
The Dolphins marched from their own 14-yard-line down to the Buffalo 1, but could not score on four tries from the 1-yard-line. Miami threw the ball twice during that series. The 12-play, 6-minute march ended with a Preston Williams drop near the goal line.
With the loss, Miami falls to 0-2 for a second straight season and two games behind the Bills in the AFC East. The Dolphins are one of just five teams in the AFC to start 0-2.
Miami has a short week, but a short trip. The Dolphins will be back in action on Thursday night as they take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Thursday’s contest begins at 8:20 p.m. ET and airs on NFL Network.
Jacksonville leads the all-time series, 5-4. The Jaguars, who come in 1-1, have won the last two over the Dolphins. Miami has never started 0-3 and made the playoffs.