Dolphins Officially Out of the AFC Playoff Hunt After 17-14 Loss to Bills

17-14. With that score in the books, and the Miami Dolphins racking up yet another loss at home this season, Miami is now officially eliminated from the playoff picture, and fans can start fantasizing about the off-season and all of the potential pickups.

The loss puts the Dolphins at 1-6 on the season at home, and caps a season of disappointment, after an off-season full of hype.

For the record this game was not a total loss, there were some positives; very few positives, but positives nevertheless.

For only the second time all season long Brandon Marshall dominated the opposing defense, and catching 11 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. It was an all-around complete game for Marshall, and his stats only leave me wondering why this offense hasn’t revolved around him all season long? He looked dominant today, and shredded the Bills defense. He did whatever he wanted to the Bills, and for the offense to not capitalize off that in the final minutes when they had a chance to score and take the lead, is ridiculous.

You also cannot say the blame rests in quarterback Chad Henne’s hands. Henne did all he could do under the circumstances, and the plays that were called. Henne had a manageable game, and put the Dolphins in position for the comeback win, by throwing for 276 yards, a touchdown and an interception on a 33/45 throwing day.

Henne was 15/18 alone in the 4th quarter, throwing for 126 yards and a touchdown. He was also 9/9 with a touchdown on the Dolphins touchdown drive in the final quarter.

Chad put together an efficient game, and this is the quarterback I would like to see. I would like to see a quarterback who limits his mistakes, plays big in the second half, and can put his team in a position to win. Henne does not necessarily need to win the game for us, but he needs to at least put us in a position to win the game and he did that.

And with the offense struggling to get going, it was the defense yet again that did just about everything possible down the stretch to allow this offense to put some points on the board to win the game.

The Dolphins defense blanked the Bills all of the fourth quarter, including a crucial 3-and-out with only 1:48 left on the clock, to try and keep the hopes of a comeback alive.

Yes, the defense may have given up 17 points, and the Bills were 2/3 in the red-zone today, but the defensive unit was in a position to make plays all day, it just didn’t work out the way we wanted it to.

The front seven was in the backfield all game long, especially Tony McDaniel, who registered a sack and four tackles, Paul Solia, who had three tackles, and Randy Starks, who registered two tackles and an assist.

Yeremiah Bell led the defense with 9 tackles, and Koa Misi got into the backfield for a sack, and two tackles.

It was the offensive line, the running game, and the playcalling that did the Dolphins in today, as it has all season long.

The offensive line could not seem to get a good surge into the second level for the running backs, and the rushing game suffered. The Dolphins only ran the ball 19 times for 65 yards. The Bills defense is the worst against the rush in the league, and we only ran the ball 19 times? C’Mon Man!

While we really cannot place the blame on the lack of a ground game soley on the running backs or the offensive line, one has to come to the decision that responsibility should lie on all three’s shoulders, the backs, lineman and coaches, specifically Dan Henning.

Henning’s playcalling has been inconsistent all season long, and we have lost a couple of games because of his idiocy when it comes to calling plays.

The big ones that pop out to me are the decision to go Wildcat on 2nd and 10 with 2:27 left in the game. The Dolphins had been driving up to that point, and Henne was on a roll. The ball was on the Bills 30 yard line, and the play only netted a one yard gain. The Wildcat has struggled all season long, and has never broken a huge gain, so why try it there when your offense seems to be in a rhythm, and your kicker is 0/3 up to that point? Why not try to get as close as you can, so if you fail to get into the endzone, it’s an easy kick for your kicker?

Then, with less than a minute to go, Henning arranges for a couple of short pass plays to end the game. The Dolphins needed a touchdown to win, and were pitted on their 20 yard line, and were running short routes? That’s inexcusable, and Henning needs to go. At this point, I could care less whether or not he retires or gets fired, I just want him gone from Miami. Sure, the Dolphins would benefit from drafting another quarterback in this years draft, but until Henning is gone, we will not be able to see Henne’s full potential.

Let’s sum this up in a nutshell, the Dolphins lost this one because of a lack of offensive effort. Everything that went wrong on offense went wrong. We could not generate a rushing game against the leagues worst run defense, and we could not score when needed. Something’s gotta give here, and I think Brandon Marshall summed it up best after the game:

“I want to apologize to the defensive guys, especially the players. All year they played their hearts out, they played together. They played like a unit’s supposed to play,” said Marshall, who is playing his second game since being sidelined by a right hamstring strain. “Offensively all year we didn’t get the job done. We didn’t make enough plays. Today we didn’t get the job done. It’s embarrassing. It’s just a shame.

“When you have a defense like that …you don’t have to be great as an offense. You just have to be okay and we haven’t been that all year and it’s embarrassing. So, I apologize to each guy on the other side of the ball.

“I’m held accountable too. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone on the offense. It’s all of us as a group, coaches too. We just didn’t get the job done [against the Bills] and it’s been that way all season.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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