8:25 PM ET, November 13, 2014
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL
With both looking to bounce back from frustrating defeats, the visiting Bills try for a fourth straight victory over the Dolphins on Thursday night.
Buffalo and Miami are both 5-4 and tied for second in the AFC East, two games behind New England. However, nine of the 11 AFC teams with winning records are ahead of the Bills and Dolphins.
Buffalo beat Miami 29-10 on Sept. 14 behind five field goals from Dan Carpenter. The ex-Dolphin has made 12 of 13 attempts during the Bills' three-game winning streak in the series.
"You lose three in a row to anybody, it's not going to feel good," Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes said. "The Bills play us very well. It'll be a huge game. To get a win on Thursday night at home would feel great for us."
Miami needs a much better rushing effort after gaining a season-low 50 yards in a 20-16 loss at Detroit that snapped a three-game winning streak Sunday. Though the Dolphins' 228 yards also were a season low, they were in position to win before the Lions scored with 29 seconds remaining.
Miami was held to 80 rushing yards by Buffalo in Week 2, then averaged 137.8 on the ground in the six games prior to facing the Lions.
Nursing a sore shoulder, Lamar Miller was held to 10 yards on four carries Sunday. He gained 46 on 11 attempts at Buffalo in September.
The Bills allowed 405 rushing yards in the first six games, but have yielded 460 in the last three. Buffalo gave up 127 in Sunday's 17-13 home loss to Kansas City, including a 39-yard touchdown to Jamaal Charles on fourth-and-1 early in the final quarter.
Winners of two straight prior to the defeat, the Bills blew a 13-3 lead and a chance to better position themselves to snap a 14-year playoff drought.
"We definitely lost an opportunity," coach Doug Marrone said. "Now we're going to have to fight our way back and find a way to win our next game."
As the Bills focus on more effectively stopping the run, the offense can't seem to shake its struggles in the red zone. Last in the NFL at 41.2 percent inside the opponent's 20-yard line, Buffalo settled for two field goals in four trips Sunday.
Bryce Brown appeared headed for a 17-yard TD run early in the third quarter but lost a fumble a few steps from the end zone. Buffalo also turned the ball over on downs late in the fourth as Kyle Orton threw four straight incompletions from the Chiefs' 15.
The Bills, whose 19 takeaways are tied with Miami and Arizona for second in the league, had one while committing three turnovers. They are tied with the Dolphins for seventh in the NFL in turnover differential at plus-5.
"We can't change anything. It's time to get ready for Miami," safety Aaron Williams said. "If we want to get back to the playoffs, this is a really important game."
The NFL leader with 34 sacks, Buffalo recorded six against the Chiefs. The Bills sacked Miami's Ryan Tannehill four times in September.
Tannehill, who has been sacked 18 times and owns a 67.0 passer rating while going 1-4 against the Bills, could be in for another rough afternoon. Miami lost left tackle Branden Albert to a season-ending right knee injury against the Lions.
While rookie Ju'Wuan James will move from right to left tackle, it appears veteran left guard Daryn Colledge could miss a third straight contest with a back injury. After Albert was hurt, Dallas Thomas moved from left guard to right tackle, and Shelley Smith took over at left guard.
"What you saw is probably what you're going to get (Thursday)," coach Joe Philbin said. "Those guys weren't perfect, but overall I thought they held their own."
Buffalo's Sammy Watkins had eight catches for 117 yards with a TD in the September meeting with Miami. The rookie had 12 receptions for 279 yards and three touchdowns in the two games prior to last week, but managed only four for 27 while dealing with a sore groin against Kansas City.
Orton, who has thrown 10 TDs and three INTs while going 3-2 since replacing EJ Manuel as the starter, has never faced Miami.
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|Avg Points Allowed||2.2||.9|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||BUF|
|Rush Yds Allowed||BUF|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Buffalo leads 15-13|
|Sep 14, 2014||BUF 29, MIA 10|
|Dec 22, 2013||BUF 19, MIA 0|
|Oct 20, 2013||BUF 23, @MIA 21|
|Dec 23, 2012||BUF 10, @MIA 24|
|Nov 15, 2012||BUF 19, MIA 14|
|Dec 18, 2011||BUF 23, MIA 30|
|Nov 20, 2011||BUF 8, @MIA 35|
|Dec 19, 2010||BUF 17, @MIA 14|
|Sep 12, 2010||BUF 10, MIA 15|
|Nov 29, 2009||BUF 31, MIA 14|
|Oct 4, 2009||BUF 10, @MIA 38|
|Dec 7, 2008||BUF 3, MIA 16|
|Oct 26, 2008||BUF 16, @MIA 25|
|Dec 9, 2007||BUF 38, MIA 17|
|Nov 11, 2007||BUF 13, @MIA 10|
|Dec 17, 2006||BUF 21, MIA 0|
|Sep 17, 2006||BUF 16, @MIA 6|
|Dec 4, 2005||BUF 23, @MIA 24|
|Oct 9, 2005||BUF 20, MIA 14|
|Dec 5, 2004||BUF 42, @MIA 32|
|Oct 17, 2004||BUF 20, MIA 13|
|Dec 21, 2003||BUF 3, MIA 20|
|Sep 21, 2003||BUF 7, @MIA 17|
|Dec 1, 2002||BUF 38, MIA 21|
|Oct 20, 2002||BUF 23, @MIA 10|
|Jan 6, 2002||BUF 7, @MIA 34|
|Nov 25, 2001||BUF 27, MIA 34|
The Dolphins have been winning the turnover battle this season, a major contributor to their above .500 record:[+]
Dolphins This Season
The Bills defense is one of the best units in the league, ranking in the top 5 in several categories:[+]
Bills Defense This Season
In the Week 10 loss to the Chiefs, Sammy Watkins was targeted 9 times on 48 routes run, making his target pct 18.8 in the game. The Bills need to throw the ball to Watkins in order to win games:[+]
Sammy Watkins by Target Pct - This Season
In the first quarter the Bills recorded their 25th sack of the season when sending standard pressure (4 or fewer rushers) 4 more than any other team in the NFL.
Ryan Tannehill was 8-of-8 for 83 yards on passes thrown fewer than 10 yards downfield in the first quarter. He entered the game completing 72% of such passes, 7th best comp percentage in the NFL.
--Ryan Tannehill's touchdown pass to Brandon Gipson was the fourth he has thrown outside the pocket this season. Since entering the league in 2012, Tannehill has thrown 12 such touchdowns, 4th most in the NFL behind Colin Kaepernick (17), Aaron Rodgers (16) and Tony Romo (15).
--Ryan Tannehill was 6-of-6 for 91 yards against the blitz. The 15.2 yards per attempt against the blitz are a career high for Tannehill.
--The Bills recorded four sacks when sending standard pressure; they now have 28 such sacks this season, 7 more than the next closest team (Kansas City, 21)
The Dolphins blitzed Kyle Orton on 14 of his 42 dropbacks Thursday, limiting him to 5-of-13 passing for 47 yards and a sack. Orton's 38% completion percentage and 47 yards passing against the blitz while are both season lows while his 3.6 yards per attempt against the blitz was his second worst this season The Dolphins defense has excelled blitzing this season, ranking near the league lead in several categories. - Miami's defensive efficiency when sending a blitz Thursday was +6.4 points. For the season the Dolphins blitz has resulted in a defensive efficiency of +44.1. Miami is one of two teams in the league with a positive efficiency when blitzing (Texans, +10.2)[+]
Dolphins Blitz, This Season
Ryan Tannehill was 25-of-28 for 223 yards and 2 touchdowns on throws traveling 10 yards or fewer downfield Thursday night. The 223 yards and 89% completion percentage are both career highs for such throws. All 5 of Jarvis Landry's targets were thrown within 10 yards of the line scrimmage, resulting in 5 catches, 5 first downs and a touchdown.
Bills: 11-29 vs division opponents since 2008 (3rd-worst record in NFL against division opponents in span ahead of only Browns and Rams).
ESPN Stats & Information