Bills Continue Spiral in 30-23 Loss to Dolphins

Fitzpatrick labored again in Buffalo’s 30-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, throwing a season-high three interceptions that contributed to the Bills’ seventh straight loss.

“I just haven’t been able to connect for whatever reason,” Fitzpatrick said. “As the one that is the leader of this offense, we haven’t played well as an offense, and a lot of that falls on me. I’ve got to be better, bottom line.”

Fitzpatrick’s decline has been swift. During the first seven games, he helped lead the Bills to a 5-2 record by completing 67.6 percent of his passes while throwing 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

He has 12 interceptions and eight touchdown passes since — a skid that has the Bills at the bottom of the AFC East.

“It’s not a one-person show, everybody’s down,” receiver Stevie Johnson said. “Nobody’s pointing fingers.”

Though both AFC East teams are 5-9, the Dolphins have moved ahead of Buffalo in the division after sweeping the season series following a 35-8 win at Miami a month ago. The Bills are in jeopardy of finishing last in the division for a fourth straight season.

“Very frustrated,” linebacker Chris Kelsay said. “We started off the way we did, and we had a lot of confidence. I haven’t really seen that confidence lately.”

Reggie Bush took advantage of Buffalo’s fragile psyche, rushing for a career-high 203 yards for the Dolphins in interim coach Todd Bowles’ debut after Tony Sparano was fired last week. His 76-yard TD run helped seal the victory.

“Reggie’s an elusive back in space, and he’s great at making guys miss,” Bills safety George Wilson said. “They got him going early.”

Matt Moore showed no signs of a head and neck injury that sidelined him a week ago by throwing two touchdown passes — a 22-yarder to Anthony Fasano and a 65-yard strike to Brandon Marshall — and finishing with 217 yards passing.

Cornerback Vontae Davis had two of Miami’s three interceptions and Dan Carpenter hit three field goals in helping the Dolphins win for the fifth time in seven games following a 0-7 start.

C.J. Spiller scored on a 24-yard rush — the longest run this season against Miami — and added a 3-yard touchdown catch, and Fitzpatrick finished 31 of 47 for 316 yards.

“It’s hard for me to go out there and turn the ball over three times and struggle like I did,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Bills made it close by recovering an onside kick that led to Dave Rayner hitting a 34-yard field goal with 1:22 left. Rayner failed on his next onside attempt, which Chris Clemons recovered to allow Miami to run all but the final seconds off the clock.

Bush secured the win with his electrifying run up the middle to put the Dolphins up 30-13 with 5:41 left.

It came on the first play from scrimmage after Spiller’s 3-yard score. Breaking through a huge hole up the middle, he blew past safety Jairus Byrd, who was the only Buffalo player to get a hand on him.

Bush then capped the run by sliding through the end zone on a slick field.

His 203 yards rushing rank third on the Dolphins’ list. And Bush has three straight 100-yard games and four this season after he had just one in five seasons in New Orleans.

Moore broke the game open in the third quarter when he hit Marshall in stride up the right sideline for an over-the-shoulder 65-yard touchdown pass.

The Bills’ next two possessions ended with Fitzpatrick throwing interceptions.

After Spiller scored on his 24-yard scamper 10 minutes in, Buffalo mustered only four first downs on their final six possessions of the half — three of them coming on their final drive.

“Obviously, we’re not where we want to be,” Johnson said. “I think we all need to dig deep. We can’t just keep taking these losses like this.”

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Bills (4-1) at Giants (3-2)

1 p.m., CBS

MATCHUP to watch

Eli Manning vs. Bills’ secondary

Interceptions have not been nearly as great an issue for the Giants this season as they were in 2010, but if ever there was a game for a relapse, this would be it. The Bills have 12 interceptions (and 16 takeaways over all), with safety George Wilson recording an interception each of the last three weeks. On Sept. 25, Tom Brady threw four interceptions against the Bills, so Manning must beware.

NUMBER to watch

75

Say this for the Giants and Bills: They don’t pass up opportunities to score. In 20 trips inside the opponents’ 20 this season, the Bills have scored 15 touchdowns, giving them the N.F.L.’s best red-zone efficiency at 75 percent. Right behind them? The Giants, who have scored 10 touchdowns in 14 red-zone opportunities (71 percent).

QUOTATION OF THE WEEK

‘Fitz is finding everybody — we all want to get into the stands and celebrate with the fans.’

Bills receiver STEVIE JOHNSON, on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s accuracy in the red zone.

SAM BORDEN

GRAPHICS

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Bills Among Teams to Vote to Recertify Union

The Buffalo Bills players have voted unanimously in favor of recertifying as a players union.

Bills safety and player representative George Wilson said Saturday that all of his teammates signed a ballot in favor of recertification a day earlier when the team reported to training camp in suburban Rochester.

The NFL Players Association decertified in March at the start of the NFL lockout. With the lockout lifted last week, the union must recertify in order to negotiate the final few terms — such as benefits and the league’s drug policy — of the new collective bargaining agreement.

Wilson said the plan is to have the union recertified “before the weekend is out.”

Once the CBA is formally ratified, veteran free agents will be allowed to join their teams in practice.

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