MIAMI The showed just how much they’ve improved since the start of the season, and the again looked lousy at home.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two touchdown passes and the resurgent Bills made themselves at home in Miami, winning 17-14 Sunday to eliminate the Dolphins from the AFC playoff race.
Buffalo was woeful in a season-opening loss at home against the Dolphins, but that was before Fitzpatrick took over at quarterback. He went 16 for 26 for 223 yards in the rematch.
The Dolphins, who have won only once in Miami this season, again sputtered on offense. Chad Henne threw a costly interception and took three sacks, and kicker Dan Carpenter went 0 for 4, missing from 48, 61, 53 and 48 yards.
Buffalo (4-10) won for the fourth time in six games after starting 0-8, while Miami (7-7) lost for the eighth time in nine home games over the past two seasons.
This season, Miami is 1-6 at home and 6-1 on the road, and no NFL team has ever had such a disparity, according to STATS LLC. The Dolphins finished 0-3 in the division at home.
Henne struggled for most of the afternoon, and Miami’s ground game netted only 65 yards against a run defense ranked last in the NFL. Fans booed every time the offense came to the bench, which was often.
There were more jeers when Miami’s final, comical desperation play ended with a loose ball being batted about deep in Dolphins territory.
That ended Miami’s comeback bid. The Dolphins trailed 17-7 in the fourth quarter before Henne completed passes on seven consecutive plays to spark a 77-yard drive that ended with his 8-yard scoring pass to Brandon Marshall.
The Dolphins got the ball back at their own 20 and drove to the Bills 30, but Carpenter was wide right on a 48-yard try with 1:48 left. Miami started again from the 20 with 41 seconds to go but no timeouts remaining, and four plays failed to advance the ball beyond the 35.
Miami actually outgained Buffalo, but Fitzpatrick was at his best on an 86-yard drive in the third period. He completed two third-down passes, then threw a 15-yard scoring pass to Steve Johnson for a 17-7 lead.
George Wilson intercepted a pass by Henne in Dolphins territory to set up the game’s first score. It came on third-and-goal at the 18, when Fitzpatrick hit David Nelson in the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
C.J. Spiller’s 34-yard punt return set up a field goal to put the Bills ahead 10-0.
Miami’s Ronnie Brown scored on a 6-yard keeper out of the wildcat to cap a 64-yard drive. It was the Dolphins’ first touchdown in 53 wildcat plays this year, and only their sixth rushing TD.