C.J. Spiller had 138 rushing yards for the Buffalo Bills, but his performance wasn't enough in the Bills' 24-10 loss to Miami.

The Bills committed 11 penalties and had four turnovers Sunday. The Dolphins took advantage of those opportunities. Reggie Bush scored three touchdowns and Nate Kaeding booted a 45-yard field goal.

The loss was the third in a row for Buffalo and their sixth loss in eight games. 

Here is this week's Buffalo Bills report card:



C.J. Spiller showed today why he's one of the best players in the NFL. He rushed for 138 yards and had four catches for 35 yards. It was his fifth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.

But if you ignore what Spiller did, the Bills didn't have a lot of success on offense. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 240 yards, but he missed several throws, was sacked twice and had an interception late in the game that sealed the victory for Miami.

Stevie Johnson also had a rough game. He had a fumble that ended a drive and a dropped pass. He finished with four catches for 44 yards, but he should have played better.

One problem the Bills have was exposed today. They don't have a lot of receiving threats. When Scott Chandler left the game due to injury, Fitzpatrick started targeting Dorin Dickerson. Dickerson was targeted eight times. (He finished with four catches for 54 yards.) But Dickerson isn't a big threat like Chandler is. And without a true No. 2 receiver, the Bills struggled to move the ball down the field. 


The good news: The Bills only gave up 301 total yards, including 119 yards passing. The unit had two sacks and forced the Dolphins to punt five times. 

Now, the bad news.

The Bills gave up 182 yards rushing. The rush defense has been atrocious this season. They need to address that in the offseason, whether it's by firing defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt or by improving their front seven. Something needs to change. You can't give up 182 yards rushing and expect to win games. 

Another bad stat for the Bills: The Dolphins were 7-for-14 on third downs. It's tough to win when you allow the opponent to convert so many third down opportunities. This has been a problem throughout the season for the Bills. They need to strengthen their third-down defense. 


An average day for this unit. Rian Lindell was one of the few bright spots. He kicked a 42-yard field goal and he had a couple of good kickoffs. 

The return game didn't do a lot today. Brad Smith handled the kick return duties, but on one return he waited to bring it out and, as a result, the Bills ended up with terrible field position. 

Punter Shawn Powell had another mediocre day. He had a booming 60-yard punt, but his directional kicking is an issue. 


I'm going to avoid a long explanation here. The "F" grade is a grade, but it also stands for frustration. The Bills didn't look prepared to play today. The defense wasn't ready -- again -- for the read option and Chan Gailey offered more of the same lousy play calling we have seen all year. The only thing he did right: He made sure Spiller got the ball early and often. 

The biggest crime this week: The hurry-up (or lack thereof) offense. At the end of the first half, the Bills didn't show any desire, with two timeouts, to move the ball down the field and attempt a field goal. Late in the second half, down by two scores, it was more of the same.

It was another frustrating game to watch. And another frustrating performance by the coaching staff. 

Game Ball

C.J. Spiller. If it wasn't for Spiller, the Bills wouldn't have moved the ball Sunday. He rushed for 138 yards and had 35 receiving yards. Spiller's 62-yard run in the second quarter was the play of the game. 

Needs Improvement

Defensive pass rush. The defense has had a season to forget and the lack of a consistent pass rush is one reason why. The Bills recorded two sacks on Sunday (Marcell Dareus had both), but the defense sits back way too much. They need to pressure the quarterback, especially a rookie quarterback like Ryan Tannehill. The defense didn't do that against the Dolphins. 

The Bills have some good pieces. Mario Williams has had an up-and-down year. Kyle Moore has a promising future. Mark Anderson was hurt, but he showed in 2011 that he can be a good pass rusher in this league. And the interior linemen -- Kyle Williams and Dareus -- are capable of getting to the quarterback.

But Dave Wannstedt doesn't have a lot of blitz packages in this system. It's frustrating for fans, but it has to be more frustrating for the players. Bring five or six players every time. Not only will that force the quarterback to make snap decisions -- and could lead to turnovers -- but it will help take some pressure off the secondary. 

Up Next

At 1 p.m. Sunday, the Bills host the New York Jets. It is the final game of the regular season.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.