What did Miami Dolphins’ Xavien Howard make of key fourth-quarter penalty call?

Xavien Howard of the Miami Dolphins attempts to tackle Travaris Cadet of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Xavien Howard was called for illegal use of the hands with less than seven minutes to play in Miami’s loss at Buffalo.

Tyrod Taylor’s scramble came up 3 yards short of a first down but instead of a punt, Buffalo was awarded a first down. Miami may have had more time to climb back into the game if not for the penalty.

The call on Howard was away from the play, and he took responsibility.

“I was just trying to disguise my technique I was going to do,” Howard said. “And I came down and tried to shoot my hands first. I just need to shoot them down lower. It was a two-man coverage. So I just need to shoot my hands down lower.”

Howard is at his best when physical, so there’s a fine line. He’s been dominant the last two weeks and was solid on Sunday.

“It’s football, man, and the penalties are going to come with it,” Howard said. “It cost us a lot of yards. So we have to be smart.”

Taylor passed for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for 42 yards and 1 touchdown.

“We just have to start faster,” Howard said. “That’s the mindset we had last week. And contain the quarterback. A lot better.”

Howard said he is feeling better, after battling the flu. But he was very disappointed in Sunday’s result.

“Just losing,” Howard said. “Losing sucks. It’s a division game. We play those guys in two weeks so we just have to stick to the game plan and start fast. We’ll start fast the next time we see those guys.”

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