MIAMI GARDENS — The Dolphins went down fighting — literally — in a 22-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday to end their season 6-10.
Breaking down the breakdowns:
The Jay Cutler Era came to a merciful end — and a fitting one. He completed 1-of-2 passes for 6 yards and a 56.2 passer rating, with the one incompletion coming within an eyelash of being intercepted. In came David Fales, who probably was auditioning for the role of backup to Ryan Tannehill next season. Fales looks good when he drops back and releases the ball quickly and with authority. He throws with confidence, accuracy and can avoid the rush. It would have been nice to see him complete a few more passes downfield, but not a bad outing. Plus, he ran 1 yard for a late touchdown.
Kenyan Drake had 75 yards before exiting early, ejected in that ugly fracas in the fourth quarter in which he threw the helmet of a Bills player 20-odd yards.
Grade: B for his play, F for temper control
Jarvis Landry set a team record with 111 catches this season and needed 13 yards to become the first Dolphins receiver with three straight 1,000-yard seasons. Then all hell broke loose, a fight with 6:06 left that left the feisty Landry with an ejection for roughness and a second ejection for good measure for disrespecting an official. We’ll have to see if that triggers a fine, suspension or both, which could carry over into next season’s opener. Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker had quiet days.
Grade: C for play, F for temper control
The Dolphins, with Zach Sterup making his starting debut, allowed one sack and ran for 86 yards. Not bad; not outstanding.
Cameron Wake nailed Tyrod Taylor for a 5-yard sack on third-and-10, forcing a punt. It was Wake’s 10th sack of the year. He is the 12th player in league history (since sacks became an official statistic in 1982) to have double-digit sacks at age 35 or older. Among those he joins are John Abraham, Julius Peppers and Terrell Suggs — excellent company. On the other hand, the Bills were able to run on the Dolphins even after LeSean McCoy left with an ankle injury.
Stephone Anthony made a big hit on a third-down stop against FB Mike Tolbert late in a first half in which he made four tackles. He’s an active young linebacker who deserves a look in training camp next summer. Ditto for Chase Allen, who made a nice stop for a 4-yard loss against Marcus Murphy in the third quarter. Lawrence Timmons looked slow on crossing route to LeSean McCoy that resulted in an 18-yard gain.
Possibly frustrated by the Dolphins’ inability to get anywhere near Tyrod Taylor, Walt Aikens was called for roughing the passer against Tyrod Taylor as the Bills converted a third-and-8. Bills TE Nick O’Leary scored on a 26-yard reception in the first quarter. He was so wide open, it was difficult to discern who blew the coverage, although S Reshad Jones tried to close on him with the ball in the air.
Bobby McCain recovered the onside kick in the dying seconds, giving the Dolphins four onside kick recoveries this season. Adam Gase was determined to play it aggressively, going for it on fourth down whenever possible, which accounted for Parkey’s quiet day.
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