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Turnovers cost Bills vs. Dolphins – Week 16 report card
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Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush (22) scores a touchdown as Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Nick Barnett (50) can't tackle during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Miami. This is Bush's second touchdown of the game. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
By Dan Goldman, sports writer
Dec. 24, 2012 12:01 a.m.





There was a lot of optimism among Bills management, coaches and fans going into the season that the team would be in the hunt for a playoff spot. I thought Buffalo would win at least eight games. That seems laughable now as the Bills fell to 5-10 with a 24-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.



While the team's new lease provided some positive news on Friday, there wasn't much positive happening for Buffalo on the field at Sun Life Stadium in Miami.



Buffalo turned the ball over four times in the game: Stevie Johnson and Dorin Dickerson fumbled, Ryan Fitzpatrick was strip-sacked and threw an interception on the team's final offensive possession. Miami scored 17 points off of Buffalo's turnovers.



If the Bills were truly playing to save Chan Gailey's job they failed miserably. Gailey and Fitzpatrick need to go. I'm not sure if Buddy Nix should stay either.







The season thankfully comes to an end when the Jets come to town next Sunday.



Quarterbacks: Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't look awful on paper (20 of 35, 240 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), but that doesn't reflect how he played. The quarterback didn't pick up most of those yards until the fourth quarter and was off target for most of the day. Fitzpatrick did hit T.J. Graham deep, but it was underthrown and would've been a touchdown if it were on target. Yet again he threw an interception on the team's final possession to lose the game. Fitzpatrick did throw a touchdown to Brad Smith near the goal line. Grade: D



Running backs: C.J. Spiller was one of the few who came to play for the Bills, rushing 22 times for 138 yards (6.3 average) and catching four passes for 35 yards. Why didn't Spiller get the ball that much every game? He displayed his elusiveness on a 62-yard run that almost went the distance. Spiller was mad at himself for not scoring on that play, but he did more than enough to help the team win. Grade: A+



Wide receivers: Stevie Johnson had one of his worst games in a Bills uniform catching just four passes for 44 yards on 10 targets. He fumbled early in the game and later dropped what would've been a touchdown when the ball got away from after landing in the end zone. Graham caught three passes for 49 yards, including a 41-yarder. Ruvell Martin and Brad Smith each caught two passes with Smith getting a short touchdown. When Johnson struggles this group of receivers can't get it done. Grade: F



Tight ends: Scott Chandler caught a pass for 25 yards before going down with a season-ending knee injury. Dorin Dickerson got eight targets and caught four passes for 54 yards to lead the team. Grade: C



Offensive line: The line did a good job of run blocking and only allowed two sacks. Third-string tackle Sam Young only surrendered one to Cameron Wake, but it was the strip-sack. Fitzpatrick did get hit hard a few other times. Kraig Urbik, Andy Levitre and Young committed false start penalties and Cordy Glenn was flagged for a face mask penalty. Grade: C



Defensive line: Mario Williams only recorded two tackles and knocked down a pass. He fell for the read option on Ryan Tannehill's 31-yard run. Marcell Dareus played a strong game with two sacks, two tackles for a loss and two hits on the quarterback. I didn't notice Kyle Williams, Kyle Moore or Shawne Merriman. Miami rushed for 182 yards on the ground. Grade: D



Linebackers: Nick Barnett was burnt on one of Reggie Bush's touchdown catches. Kelvin Sheppard finished with six tackles to lead the group, but as a whole the unit got run over and didn't make any plays. Grade: F



Secondary: George Wilson led the team with 11 tackles, which his a bad sign for the linebackers and defensive line. Wilson was burnt on Bush's other touchdown reception. Tannehill and Miami's mediocre receivers didn't do much damage, only gaining 130 yards through the air. Grade: B



Special teams: Shawn Powell shanked a punt 23 yards, but finished with an average of 42.8 yards thanks to a blast of 60 yards. Alex Carrington continued to be amazing at blocking field goals and recorded another Sunday. Rian Lindell hit a 42-yard field goal. Punt coverage wasn't great. Grade: B-



Coaching: Chan Gailey didn't have his team ready to play. The offense turned the ball over, the defense couldn't stop Reggie Bush and the team committed 11 penalties for 93 yards. There was no urgency on the last drive. Miami looked the better team despite having a first-year quarterback and head coach. The wildcat play call on second and 20 was a joke and fittingly gained just one yard. Grade: F

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