Offensive woes continue for Dolphins
Bills 19, Dolphins 14. With AP Photos.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Miami Dolphins know the answer to solving their offensive woes.
The problem is getting it done on the field.
The Dolphins fell 19-14 at the Buffalo Bills in a primetime game on Thursday night, and dropped their third straight game after stringing together three consecutive wins.
And Miami's offense stumbled for the second game in a row, this time against a Bills defense that came in ranked 31st in the league.
"They made the necessary plays and we didn't. We have to be able to execute, especially in the division," said Bess who caught a TD pass in the fourth quarter.
Execution was the buzzword for the Dolphins (4-6) after the game.
After three consecutive defeats, the Dolphins' already shaky playoff aspirations have been dealt a significant blow.
Against the Bills (4-6), the Dolphins stumbled early and never recovered. After a three-and-out game-opening series, Miami allowed a 79-yard punt return for a touchdown by Leodis McKelvin.
The Dolphins didn't cross midfield until their eighth drive -- which occurred with under 4 minutes to go in the third quarter -- and were held to 50 yards in the first half, and 184 overall.
"It's really frustrating, especially with the success earlier in the year," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "We struggled getting something going. It's not one person or one group, it's collectively."
Tannehill's struggles continued. He was 14 of 28 for 141 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He was coming off a dreadful outing in which he threw three interceptions in a 37-3 loss to Tennessee last week. The No. 8 pick out of Texas A&M has thrown six TD passes and 11 interceptions.
"You can't turn the ball over, and that's a big problem right now," he said. "It's one that needs to be addressed."
It wasn't all Tannehill's fault as the usually sturdy Dolphins defense gave up 120 yards rushing, including 91 to C.J. Spiller, who took over the bulk of the rushing duties in place of Fred Jackson (concussion).
After allowing 307 yards rushing in its first five games, Miami has given up 661 in its past five.
The Dolphins' running game also sputtered.
Reggie Bush finished with 20 yards rushing, which marked a significant drop-off after he had a career-best 203 yards in a 30-23 win last December during his previous visit to Orchard Park.
"We weren't throwing the ball well, and we weren't running the ball well," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "We didn't execute well on offense, and it was a huge struggle on offense."
Miami was 3 of 10 on third down.
Marcus Thigpen scored on a 96-yard kickoff return for Miami.
Safety Jairus Byrd forced a fumble and had an interception, and Bryan Scott sealed the victory with an interception that ended the Dolphins' last-gasp drive in the final minute. Mario Williams had one of three sacks for a Buffalo defense that limited the Dolphins to 16 first downs.
That more than made up for an offense that lacked finish. Rian Lindell hit four field goals, including a 42-yarder, as Buffalo failed to score an offensive touchdown despite four trips inside the Miami 20.
Thigpen's return cut the Bills' lead to 10-7 with 4:55 left in what proved to be a wild first quarter that began with McKelvin's touchdown.
The last time there was a punt return touchdown by one team and a kickoff return touchdown by the opposing team in the same quarter was December 1999 in a game between the Washington Redskins and Detroit Lions according to STATS LLC. Washington's James Thrash had a 95-yard kickoff return for a score and Detroit's Desmond Howard had a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Chiefs' Smith (spleen) out against Chargers
- Saints' Ryan: Defense 'drank the Kool-Aid'
- Shaw gets start for Browns; Hoyer likely out
- Harbaugh stays tight-lipped on 49ers future