Nov 15, 2012; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller (28) avoids a tackle by Miami Dolphins free safety Reshad Jones (20) and defensive end Derrick Shelby (79) during the first half of a game at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-US PRESSWIRE
It wasn’t always pretty, and in the end it probably was a lot closer than it should of been, but the Bills squeaked by the Miami Dolphins on route to a 19 to 14 victory. The game was the Bills first appearance on Thursday Night Football as well as the first prime time game since 2008.
The star of the game tonight was C.J. Spiller, who ran for 91 yards on the night and had 39 yards receiving. With Fred Jackson out with a concussion Spiller had the opportunity to take the reins as the full time starting runningback. He did not disappoint.
The Bills started off the game on an excellent foot. After forcing Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense into a three and out, Leodis McKelvin took a punt 79 yards to give the Bills an early 7-0 lead.
After a Rian Lindell field goal later in the frame the Dolphins swung back with a special teams move of their own. Marcus Thigpen took a Lindell kick 96 yards and into the endzone. That touchdown would be Miami’s only points until the fourth quarter.
For a majority of the game the Bills defense dominated, not allowing the Dolphins past the 50 yard line until after halftime. The defensive line was getting pressure on Tannehill almost every play. Mario Williams had a solid day, recording one sack, three tackles, and numerous pressures. Kyle Moore and Shawne Merriman also had a sack on the night.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had an average game, throwing for 168 yards. Notably he had no interceptions, a nice change from recent games. Not surprisingly Stevie Johnson was his main target, catching 6 balls for 79 yards.
Tannehill struggled for Miami, especially in the first half. It appeared like Miami would just have three and out after three and out. Late in the game Tannehill threw two interceptions, one to George Wilson and the other to Jairus Byrd, that would seal the deal for the Bills.
Reggie Bush, who had called out Buffalo women earlier in the week, had a miserable game. At one point in the second half he had zero yards rushing. By the end of the night he had 20 yards on 10 carries while Daniel Thomas had 33 yards on 12 carries.
Lindell hit four field goals (32, 34, 42, 19) which gave the Bills a solid lead going into the fourth quarter. Although the team had some struggles punching it in, they were still up by 12 with only 15 minutes remaining. However, the team would begin to face some adversity.
Miami drove down the field late in the game to cut that margin to only five points thanks to a Davone Bess touchdown. The Bills defense began to take penalty after penalty, giving the Dolphins plenty of free yards. Tonight’s game was the season high in penalties, 11 fouls for 100 yards.
While the Dolphins comeback was threatening, the Byrd and Wilson interceptions put an end to any hopes of victory for Miami. Ryan Tannehill finished the night with 141 yards, a touchdown, and two crucial interceptions.
With the victory the Bills move to 4-6 and take second place in the division. Miami falls to the same record, 4-6, with the loss. They sit in third place ahead of the 3-6 New York Jets. The Bills have a little extra time off before taking on the Indianapolis Colts next Saturday on the road.