The Dolphins put up one hell of a fight in Buffalo on Sunday, but ran into trouble with clock management.
The Dolphins were forced to burn several timeouts in the second half, when the play clock neared zero with the team not ready to go. This proved to be fatal for Miami’s season, when the team was hit with a delay of game penalty with around three minutes to play. That infraction changed a 4th and 1 to a 4th and 6. Miami was driving for a game-tying field goal and instead ended up turning over on downs. Without any timeouts, the Dolphins never got the ball back after that.
A combination of a rookie head coach and rookie quarterback came back to haunt the Dolphins in this one. That’s not to say Mike McDaniel and Skylar Thompson had a bad day, because they didn’t. The Dolphins erased a 17-0 early deficit, and were even leading during the second half. Miami was competitive until the end, in a game they were predicted to blown out in. Not being able to get to the line on time for a 4th and 1 is however inexcusable. It is unknown if the play call was coming in slow from the sideline, or if Thompson just had some trouble in the huddle.
Assuming he is healthy, Tua Tagovailoa is expected to be back behind center for the start of next season. McDaniel will also have a year of experience going into the campaign. This is a tough way to end the year, but the Dolphins have plenty of positives to build on. Barring unforeseen things, Miami should be able to find itself in the postseason again a year from now.
Besides the aforementioned clock issues, Miami had some trouble catching the ball in this one. Thompson had multiple balls hit a receiver in the hand, only to see the football fall to the ground. It was going to take a perfect effort to beat the Bills in Buffalo and the Dolphins were simply not perfect in this game.