AFC East: Miami Dolphins

Chiefs vs. Dolphins preview

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
8:00
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The Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) and Miami Dolphins (1-1) meet for the first time since 2006 on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. The Chiefs are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Broncos in Denver, a game in which the result wasn't decided until the Chiefs' fourth-down pass from the Denver 2 fell incomplete in the end zone in the final seconds. The Dolphins, after beating the Patriots to begin the season, are coming off a 29-10 loss at Buffalo.

ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher and ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker discuss Sunday's game:

Teicher: This is the first time the Chiefs will play against Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Give us a little scouting report on him, his strengths and weaknesses. His season isn't off to a great start, statistically at least. How committed are the Dolphins to Tannehill?

Walker: It's funny that you mention Tannehill, because heading into this season, I've often compared him to Alex Smith. The comparison isn't necessarily based on physical traits, because Tannehill is more athletic and probably has a slightly stronger arm. But in terms of Tannehill's ceiling, I'm starting to think developing into a quarterback like Smith is the best the Dolphins can hope for.

I've watched every one of Tannehill's games in two-plus seasons and nearly every practice open to the media. I don't see that jump into superstardom the Dolphins are expecting. Tannehill hasn't shown he can take over games with his arm and he hasn't been consistent. It doesn't mean you can't win with Tannehill; like Smith, Tannehill just needs a lot to go well around him. Smith eventually figured that out and won with multiple teams. He also got a nice payday from Kansas City. It remains to be seen whether Tannehill can do the same.

Adam, what's the latest with Jamaal Charles and how would his potential absence impact the running game?

Teicher: Charles has a high ankle sprain, so it would be something close to a miracle if he played Sunday. I'll be interested in seeing how Knile Davis does with a full week of practice and after the Chiefs have built their game plan around him and his abilities. Davis is a lot bigger at 227 pounds than Charles, but he's fast -- maybe as fast as Charles. So he is a big-play threat, although he lacks Charles' ability to make defenders miss.

Going back to last season and counting the playoff game, Davis has carried the ball far more than Charles, but his average is about 3.3 yards per carry, compared to almost 6.1 for Charles. So Charles has been far more effective, but the Chiefs haven't been able to build a plan for Davis, as they will this week. The loss of Charles is actually bigger in the passing game. Charles is a better pass protector and receiver than Davis. The Chiefs might use either Joe McKnight, Cyrus Gray or De'Anthony Thomas as a third-down back.

James, what about Branden Albert? He was the longtime left tackle for the Chiefs before signing with the Dolphins this year. It looks like he's playing well. Has he stabilized Miami's offensive line?

Walker: Albert has fit in well here in Miami. Not only is he a good player at an important position, but Albert has taken on a leadership role and coached up younger players such as rookie right tackle Ja'Wuan James. The Dolphins have some issues on the offensive line, but Albert certainly isn't
one of them. He has been consistent in the running and passing game.

Since we're on the topic of former players, the Dolphins are facing cornerback Sean Smith and tight end Anthony Fasano for the first time. Both were significant contributors in Miami. How have they fit in since leaving for Kansas City?

Teicher: Smith is what the Chiefs thought they were getting. Certainly not a Pro Bowler, but a dependable cornerback who can match up with bigger, more physical receivers. He's moved into the No. 1 corner spot after the Chiefs released Brandon Flowers. Fasano missed half the season last year because of injuries, but has missed only a couple of snaps so far this season. He has quietly developed into a reliable red-zone receiver for Smith. He has the Chiefs' only receiving touchdown this season.

The Chiefs last season consistently won in the kicking game. That hasn't been the case this season, but the potential is there. Miami had problems last week on special teams. Are the Dolphins truly vulnerable there or was Sunday just a bad game in that regard?

Walker: Miami's special teams are indicative of its record. The unit was very good in Week 1 and very bad in Week 2. That's pretty much how the Dolphins have played as well. Miami is the only NFL team to allow and successfully execute a blocked punt in the first two games. The Dolphins probably won't dominate on special teams consistently, but I don't expect them to give up a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown every week. It's too early to say special teams are a major concern.

Finally, Adam, is this a must-win game already for the Chiefs?

Teicher: I'm usually not big on the concept of must-win games in September, but this is probably as close as it gets. After losing at home to Tennessee and coming up 2 yards short in their comeback attempt against Denver, the Chiefs have dug themselves a hole and it's impossible to see a realistic way out of it without beating the Dolphins. The Chiefs are 0-2, and after Miami, their next three games are against the Patriots, 49ers and Chargers, with two of those on the road. So this thing has already started to get away from the Chiefs, and they'll be miles behind the pack if they don't win in Miami.
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Miami Dolphins injury report

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
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DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (1-1) completed their second practice of the week in preparation for the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2).

Here is an update of Miami’s latest injuries:

Did not participate: LB Koa Misi (ankle), DL Terrence Fede (knee), RB Knowshon Moreno (elbow), G Shelley Smith (knee)

Limited participation: LT Branden Albert (shoulder), TE Charles Clay (knee), S Louis Delmas (calf), LB Jelani Jenkins, C Mike Pouncey (hip), LB Jordan Tripp (chest), G Billy Turner (foot), LB Philip Wheeler (thumb)

Full participation: WR Brian Hartline (back), S Walt Aikens (hand), DT Randy Starks (toe)

Analysis: The Dolphins added several new injuries following their Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Albert, Delmas and Jenkins are among the starters who were banged up in that game. Pouncey practiced for the second day in a row and appears to be making progress. If he doesn’t return Sunday, Miami’s following game on Sept. 28 against the Oakland Raiders looks like a possibility. Moreno will not play and Misi’s chances aren’t looking good. For Kansas City, star running back Jamaal Charles (ankle) and safety Eric Berry (ankle) did not practice Wednesday.

Ryan Tannehill: 'I have to do better'

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
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DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is trying to put on the best face possible after his slow start to the regular season.

"It’s better to struggle in September than December," Tannehill deadpanned following Wednesday’s practice.

Tannehill
Tannehill is fully aware that he’s not meeting expectations at the start of an important third season. Miami drafted Tannehill No. 8 overall in 2012 and expected him to be the engine that drives the offense at this stage in his career. Instead, three seasons later, Tannehill is having some of the same struggles with accuracy and inconsistency he had in Year 1 and Year 2.

The Dolphins' passing game is ranked 24th in the NFL, and Tannehill is averaging just 209.5 passing yards per game. He also has a passer rating of 76.1. Miami was fortunate enough to split the first two games with its starting quarterback playing mediocre in that span.

Tannehill knows he must be more consistent as Dolphins (1-1) host the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.

“I haven’t been playing up to my standards and up to my standards as a team,” Tannehill said. “I just have to do better. ... Obviously, I want it to change. I’m not sitting here happy with the way I played.”

Miami’s coaches remain behind Tannehill. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said the struggles on offense aren't on one person, and Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor also said Tannehill has shown encouraging signs in practice.

But so far not much has translated into the games as Tannehill tries to adjust to a new offense. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Tannehill was 0-of-6 on throws of 15 yards or more downfield in last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. Miami’s passing game hasn’t been much of a threat through two weeks of the season. Much of that falls on the starting quarterback.

Tannehill has received strong support from Dolphins fans in South Florida. But some of that is starting to change. According to an ESPN.com poll this week, nearly half (49 percent) of Dolphins fans are now convinced Tannehill is not the long-term solution in Miami. About 22 percent believe Tannehill will be the Dolphins’ franchise quarterback and 29 percent remain undecided.

The only way Tannehill can silence the doubters is with consistent play. He has 14 games remaining to have a strong third season.

“Obviously, I don’t want to struggle at all,” Tannehill said. “But there’s a lot of football ahead of us and I’m excited about the opportunity we have.”
DAVIE, Fla. – The Miami Dolphins (1-1) continued their preparation for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2).

Here are some thoughts on Miami’s second practice:
  • Joseph
    Jordan
    Jones
    Jones
    The Dolphins did not get any good news with the change of the NFL and NFLPA’s drug policy. Defensive end Dion Jordan and safety Reshad Jones will continue to serve their four-game suspensions for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and obviously absent from practice. The NFLPA released a statement of the players who can return under the new policy. That includes safety Orlando Scandrick of the Dallas Cowboys and receivers Stedman Bailey of the St. Louis Rams and Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos. Jordan and Jones will be eligible to return for Miami’s Week 6 game against the Green Bay Packers.
  • Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey practiced for the second day in a row, which is a good sign of his progress. In addition, Wednesday was a full-padded practice. That was a first for Pouncey as well. Pouncey believes he can play in Sunday’s game against Kansas City but understands the decision will be made by Miami’s coaching and medical staff. In the meantime, Pouncey needs as much practice as possible to shake off the rust.
  • Dolphins starting guard Shelley Smith (knee) did not practice Wednesday in the portion open to the media. This is the second practice Smith has missed, which is not a good sign for his chances to play on Sunday. Miami linebacker Koa Misi and rookie defensive end Terrence Fede also did not practice during the media viewing portion.
  • The Dolphins reportedly worked out former San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James on Tuesday but did not sign him to a contract. Miami has four healthy running backs to take into Sunday’s game in Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas and rookies Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa.
DAVIE, Fla. -- Lamar Miller failed to consistently produce last season when the Miami Dolphins made him a feature tailback. The Dolphins were 27th in rushing with Miller leading the way and he finished with just 709 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games.

Miller
Still, that hasn't shaken Miller's confidence now that the opportunity has come once again to lead Miami's offense in 2014. Knowshon Moreno's elbow injury, which is expected to sideline him for several weeks, has opened the door for Miller to get more carries.

Miller is averaging a career-best 4.8 yards per carry this season in two games. The Dolphins (1-1) hope that continues when they host the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.

"I'm looking forward to it," Miller said. "Every running back wants the ball in their hands. So I feel like the more carries you get, the more comfortable you get with the team you're going against. I'm pretty up for the challenge."

Miller started both games for Miami, but in reality he was the Dolphins' No. 2 option. After signing Moreno, the Dolphins found a good niche with Miller as a change-of-pace back.

However, Miller is back in the lead role that he struggled with last season. The Dolphins only gave Miller 20 carries or more once in 16 games. Miller is aware this may be the type of smash-mouth game where Miller has his number called a lot.

"I wish it was here tomorrow, but we've got to prepare and just get ready for this upcoming game," Miller said. "I'm going to do anything to help this team win."

Behind Miller, the Dolphins also will rely on rookie backups Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa. Miami also re-signed former Dolphins draft bust Daniel Thomas on Monday, but he's not expected to have a major role with limited practice time.

Williams, who has shown promise as an undrafted rookie, is expected to assume the No. 2 tailback role behind Miller. He rushed for 19 yards on five carries last week in a 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Miller and Williams should get a bulk of the carries Sunday against the Chiefs, who are ranked No. 23 against the run.

"I'm very hungry. You've got to stay that way," an eager Williams said. "Being able to do what I did and then that last Sunday's game, being able to get a couple of carries, that showed that the coaches trust me to have the ball in my hands and do what I've been doing."
Pouncey
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins received some good news on Tuesday. Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey returned to practice for the first time since having major hip surgery following minicamp.

Pouncey missed all of training camp, the preseason and the first two games of the regular season to rehab. His participation is a sign that Pouncey could be close to returning, potentially as early as Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs or the following week against the Oakland Raiders in London on Sept. 28.

The Dolphins certainly can use Pouncey. Miami allowed four sacks and struggled against the running game in a 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

We will have more on Pouncey following Tuesday's practice.

Philbin, Lazor support Ryan Tannehill

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
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DAVIE, Fla. -- It's no secret that this is an important Year 3 for Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The former first-round pick received nearly unanimous support from Dolphins fans in South Florida in his first two seasons, but expectations are higher in 2014.

So far, in two games, Tannehill has not met those expectations. The Dolphins beat the New England Patriots in Week 1 mostly because of their running game and lost to the Buffalo Bills Sunday because of a lack of running game. Tannehill was average in both contests.

This is the time in Tannehill's career when he must prove he can carry an offense. That hasn't been the case early this season, and some are starting to wonder about Miami's struggling passing game.

"The issue is our passing game is not at the level it needs to be," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said in defense of Tannehill. "Those are the facts. But it's a unit issue. It's not one player causing all the problems in the passing game."

Miami first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has been candid in his critiques of Tannehill. A big reason Lazor was brought to Miami was to take Tannehill's game to a new level. Therefore, Lazor has been very demanding with the expectation that Tannehill will respond.

Sunday was an ideal opportunity for Tannehill to step up. The Dolphins were on the road against an energized Buffalo team that has had Miami's number. The Dolphins could have used a dominant passing performance from Tannehill to stem the tide, especially after leading rusher Knowshon Moreno went down in the first quarter.

Instead, Tannehill had another mediocre performance (73.6 passer rating) and struggled with his accuracy and ball placement. The Dolphins lost by 19 points, and Tannehill fell to 1-4 against the Bills in his career.

"There's no doubt Ryan will tell you it needs to improve," Lazor said of his accuracy. "I thought Thursday was the best day that Ryan's had throwing the football since I've been here. So I'm very encouraged about Ryan. I'm very discouraged by the job I've done in the passing game. I'm very encouraged by where we're heading."

This is a no-excuse year for Tannehill. By all accounts, he has better weapons and a better offensive scheme. Yet some of the same issues we have seen with Tannehill in Year 1 and Year 2 are showing up early in his third season.

Tannehill must turn things around quickly to silence the doubters, starting with Sunday's game against the winless Kansas City Chiefs (0-2).

The Film Don't Lie: Dolphins

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
4:00
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A weekly look at what the Miami Dolphins must fix:

A position of strength for the Dolphins has now become a position of weakness after two games. Miami’s running back corps suffered a major blow with leading rusher Knowshon Moreno sidelined with an elbow injury. Early reports indicate Moreno could be out approximately one month.

How do the Dolphins fix this issue? It will be up to Lamar Miller and backups Damian Williams and Orleans Darkwa to step up and carry the load. So far that hasn’t been the case when Moreno isn’t in the lineup. On Monday, Miami also signed Daniel Thomas, who was cut by the team before the regular season.

The Dolphins average 5.5 yards per carry with Moreno running the ball this season. The other three running backs are averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Moreno also has more rushing yards (138) this season than Miller, Williams and Darkwa combined (133).

Miami will need more production from this trio to keep the offense balanced.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins botched a lot of plays during Sunday's ugly, 29-10, loss to the Buffalo Bills. But the one set of circumstances people continue to discuss 24 hours later in South Florida is Miami's ultra-conservative play calling at the end of the first half.

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
AP Photo/Gary WiepertThe Dolphins took a conservative approach at the end of Sunday's first half as the offense struggled.
Miami trailed 9-0 with all three timeouts and 2:21 remaining in the first half. Instead of putting the ball in quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s hands to see if he could put points on the board, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin elected to run the ball six consecutive times to run out the clock. Buffalo was more than happy to go into the locker room without Miami threatening to score.

One day later, after watching the film, Philbin stood behind his decision.

“At that point in time I believe we had 45 yards of offense and three sacks in the first half,” Philbin explained during his Monday news conference. “The last thing I wanted to do was go in the half down 16-0. So I told [offensive coordinator] Bill [Lazor] I wanted to run the ball every single play and get to the locker room and make some adjustments and get it to a one-possession game, which is exactly what we did twice in the third quarter. That was the reason we did it.”

Lazor, who deferred to Philbin at the end of the half, also supported his head coach on Monday.

“It has nothing to do with my wishes,” Lazor said. “I thought what Coach Philbin decided to do worked. Because when you think about it, we had our struggles in the first half. He decided to run the football. At halftime we talked. I think we got settled down in some ways. We made a couple adjustments, not that many, and we came out with two straight scoring drives.”

Many disagree with Philbin’s rationale. The Dolphins practice their two-minute drill a lot for those very situations and didn't take advantage. It potentially sends a bad message that Philbin didn’t have enough confidence in his offensive players to get points in that situation.

The Dolphins will see plenty of two-minute situations this season, and it's worth keeping an eye on how Philbin handles it moving forward.

“My job is to give the team a chance to win the game and put the team in position to win the game,” Philbin said. “I’m not pounding my chest, but I feel like in the third quarter we were exactly where we needed to be in that game. We had a chance. ... Somebody else could have a different opinion. That’s OK. I was very comfortable with that.”

Questions emerge for Ryan Tannehill

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
9:30
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We are two games into an important Year 3 for Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

That presents an important question: How do you feel about the long-term prospects of the third-year quarterback?

Are you willing to say Tannehill is the future of the franchise for the Dolphins (1-1) after Sunday's 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills (2-0)? Tannehill threw for 246 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the loss, while falling to 1-4 against Buffalo in his career.

SportsNation

Is QB Ryan Tannehill the Dolphins' long-term solution?

  •  
    22%
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    49%
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    29%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,776)

“We didn’t win so it’s not good enough,” a frustrated Tannehill said Sunday evening. “No part of our offensive performance was good enough. My play, our running game, our passing game, none of it was enough.”

Truth be told, Tannehill is off to a mediocre start this season. In two games he has 419 passing yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He has a 76.1 passer rating and averages 5.2 yards per attempt.

Perhaps the biggest concern for Miami is Tannehill appears closer to a "game manager" than a dominant quarterback. In two-plus seasons, Tannehill has yet to prove he can take over games with any consistency. The previous two weeks provided another strong warning sign.

In Week 1, the Dolphins rushed for 191 yards as a team and Tannehill filled in the blanks. He made a few good throws here and there to help Miami to a 33-20 victory over the Patriots. But there were some concerns with accuracy and his interception, which were masked by Miami's victory.

In Week 2, the Dolphins couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Running back Knowshon Moreno suffered an elbow injury in the first quarter and Miami's offense fell apart. This was a perfect opportunity for Tannehill to take over an important game -- on the road -- with his arm. Yet, Tannehill failed to produce and the lead only increased in the second half.

Questions are starting to emerge about Tannehill – and deservedly so. Dolphins coach Joe Philbin came to the defense of his young quarterback Sunday night.

“I don’t think it’s all Ryan Tannehill,” Philbin said. “I don’t think our offense played well. We didn’t protect him very well, especially in the first half, so we got behind. … I think it’s easy to point to one player, but it was the team.”

The good news is Tannehill has 14 more games to prove he is Miami’s franchise quarterback. It’s still premature to write off Tannehill as the long-term solution entirely after 34 starts. But there are some concerning signs to begin this 2014 season.

Tannehill knows this is a no-excuse year. He admitted as much during training camp.

It’s time for Tannehill to live up to his potential this year before it is too late.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- After the Miami Dolphins looked flat in a 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Miami head coach Joe Philbin had some explaining to do. Perhaps the biggest mystery was why the Dolphins got ultra-conservative when down nine points at the end of the first half.

Here is the situation: Miami's defense kept the team in the game early by holding Buffalo to three field goals in the first half. The Dolphins were outplayed and, in many ways, fortunate to be down by only single digits.

The Dolphins got the ball back at their 12-yard line with 2:21 remaining and all three timeouts. It was a good opportunity for quarterback Ryan Tannehill & Co. to put together a two-minute drive to get their first points on the board before intermission.

Instead, the Dolphins chose to run the ball six consecutive times -- gaining 20 yards -- to go into the half down 9-0. It was a baffling and passive decision that had many confused.

Here was Dolphins' head coach Joe Philbin's explanation:

"Well, it I’m not mistaken, we got the ball around the 15-yard line and we had, up to that point, 48 or 49 yards of offense. I wanted to come into halftime and give our team a chance to get back into the game. I think we did exactly what I was hoping we would do: Not give them the ball back and get an opportunity to make it a one-possession game. That’s what we did."

Philbin essentially lost confidence in his offense and his quarterback. That sent a poor message to his entire team before halftime.

The Dolphins have practiced two-minute drills constantly since training camp, and it's actually an area of strength for Miami's offense. Even New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised Miami’s two-minute offense before their Week 1 matchup.

In a close game, Philbin essentially took a strength away from his own team, and the second half went downhill for the Dolphins.

Reading between the lines, it didn’t appear quarterback Ryan Tannehill agreed with the first-half decision.

“As a competitor you know I obviously want to go down and score, but it is coach Philbin’s call and he wanted to do that,” Tannehill said candidly. “He knew we were getting the ball at the end of halftime. Obviously, as an offense we feel like we want to get going. But we hadn’t done much up to that point to give him any confidence in us.”

We will never know if Miami’s offense could have added points to bring momentum to the Dolphins before halftime. But the issue is Philbin opted not to try and give his team a chance, which proved to be a mistake.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Miami Dolphins and their offense might have to get used to life without Knowshon Moreno. Based on Sunday’s 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, it might not be pretty.

Moreno suffered an elbow injury on his first carry when he fell awkwardly on his left arm. His arm bent the wrong way and the injury was gruesome enough that Moreno was immediately ruled out for the rest of the game.

[+] EnlargeKnowshon Moreno
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty ImagesThe Dolphins gained just 76 rushing yards after Knowshon Moreno left with an elbow injury.
Now the question becomes: How many games will Moreno miss moving forward?

Although the Dolphins didn't give an official timeline and Moreno didn't speak to reporters after the game, media reports have already indicated Moreno could miss up to a month with a dislocated elbow. That would be a long month for the Dolphins.

The offense looked like a shell of its Week 1 self with Moreno out of the lineup against Buffalo. Miami, after scoring 33 points last week against the New England Patriots, was shut out in the first half and finished with just 10 points against Buffalo.

"Obviously, we'd love to have him, but you have to deal with those things," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "They pop up in football. Injuries happen. So it didn't really impact the game plan. Other guys have to step up. That's football. If a guy gets injured you can't really alter things."

We are about to find out how important Moreno is to this Dolphins team. The free-agent acquisition quickly established himself as the heart and soul of the offense with his energy, intensity and consistent play.

Not coincidentally, the Dolphins lacked energy, intensity and consistency Sunday. Buffalo's defense quickly deflated the downtrodden Dolphins offense, which averaged just 3.9 yards per play.

The Dolphins couldn't run the ball with any efficiency without Moreno. Miami had just 80 rushing yards on Sunday after running for 191 with Moreno the previous week.

"We weren't even close to matching their intensity," Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace said. "We did a good job of playing football, but the [Bills'] intensity was so much higher than ours that I think that's why they won the game, honestly."

Wallace explained the mood of the offense when Moreno went down.

"I saw him on the ground. I know it wasn't good because he never really stays on the ground like that," Wallace said. "It was quiet for a little while, but it was early in the game and we had to keep playing. We definitely missed his intensity."

Moreno is just one player. But he brings a certain attitude and toughness to the offense that is hard to replace. The Dolphins will host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3 and travel to London to face the Oakland Raiders in Week 4. Those are two winnable games before the bye week.

But winning those games will be tougher without Moreno. The Dolphins now will have to rely on Lamar Miller and rookies Damien Williams and Orleans Darkwa.

"As running backs and as an offense we can't really sit there and mope and cry about it," Darkwa said. "We just got to go out and do what we got to do as an offense and as running backs. ... As a group, we got to step it up."
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Miami Dolphins' 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills:

Frustration: The overall theme in the locker room Sunday evening was frustration. Nearly every player who addressed the media felt he could have played better to help avoid a blowout loss. The Dolphins were beaten on offense, defense and special teams. “We made some mistakes that we usually don’t make,” Dolphins Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes said. Miami is 1-4 against the Bills in its past five meetings.

Tannehill
Tannehill owns up: Miami starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill owned up to his shaky performance against the Bills. Although the loss wasn’t on one player, Tannehill didn’t do his part and finished with 246 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. “We didn’t win so it’s not good enough,” Tannehill said. “No part of our offensive performance was good enough.”

No Moreno: One key player who was missing in the locker room Sunday was Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno. He injured his elbow in the first quarter and never returned.

Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
4:09
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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 29-10 loss at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

What it means: The Dolphins (1-1) continue their struggles against the Bills (2-0), who have been Miami’s biggest nemesis of late. The Dolphins fell to 1-4 against the Bills in their past five meetings. Buffalo swept Miami last season and is halfway toward doing so again in 2014. The Bills won this game Sunday the same way it won most of the others. Their defensive line pounded Miami's offensive line and at times rattled quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was sacked four times.

Stock Watch: There are several candidates trending down for Miami after this game, but the two biggest culprits are the Dolphins’ offensive line and special teams. Miami's O-line boasts five new starters this year, but it was the same result trying to run and protect the quarterback against the Bills' defensive line. Miami's defense held the Bills to field goals in the first half, but Buffalo running back C.J. Spiller scored the first touchdown of the game with a 102-yard kickoff return in the third quarter to help seal the win. Even Miami Pro Bowl punter Brandon Fields had a tough day. He had one punt blocked and shanked two punts that helped the Bills with field position.

Oh no, Moreno: The Dolphins lost running back Knowshon Moreno in the first quarter with an elbow injury and he didn't return. Moreno fell awkwardly after his first carry, and his left arm bent the wrong way. The injury wasn't pretty, and it makes you wonder if Moreno could miss multiple games going forward. Moreno proved to be the engine of Miami’s offense early this season. He rushed for 134 yards in a Week 1 win over the New England Patriots. The Dolphins' running game isn’t the same without him in the lineup.

Game ball: Miami's game ball goes to linebacker Jelani Jenkins. The second-year backup got the start in place of the injured Dannell Ellerbe, who went on injured reserve this week. Jenkins was active and had the best game of his career. He finished with a career-high 14 tackles against the Bills.

What’s next: The Dolphins will return home to face the Kansas City Chiefs in another important AFC game. Kansas City made the playoffs last year as a wild-card team.

W2W4: Dolphins at Bills

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
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Sunday will mark a battle of surprise undefeated teams when the Miami Dolphins (1-0) travel to face the Buffalo Bills (1-0). ESPN's Dolphins blog will be on the road this weekend to bring you all the latest on Miami.

Here are three things to watch in this matchup:

1. Protecting Tannehill: It's well documented that the Bills swept the Dolphins last season. One of the primary reasons the Bills' defensive line dominating the Dolphins' offensive line in the trenches. Buffalo registered nine sacks in two games against Miami. Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill didn't have much time to throw and is 1-3 against the Bills in his career. Pass protection will be key to determining if Tannehill can overcome this week.

2. Next man up: Miami is thin at linebacker and will be in transition. The Dolphins put starting outside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hip) on season-ending injured reserve Monday. Starting middle linebacker Koa Misi also missed practice all week with an ankle injury and appears to be a long shot. The Dolphins will be relying on backups such as Jason Trusnik and Jelani Jenkins against the Bills' strong running game. Miami is hoping starting outside linebacker Philip Wheeler (thumb) can return this week from a thumb injury.

3. Facing E.J.: The Dolphins will get their first shot at Buffalo starting quarterback E.J. Manuel. The Bills' 2013 first-round pick missed both Miami games last year due to injury. Manuel received a lot of criticism during the preseason and played decent in Buffalo's Week 1 victory over the Chicago Bears. He threw for 173 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

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