2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Underachieving Bills to host resurgent Dolphins

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2012-11-14 15:10

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - The Miami Dolphins were the team featured on ``Hard Knocks'' last summer. Funny, the Buffalo Bills haven't needed a TV series title to define their past 12 seasons.

This year in Buffalo so far has been no different. Defying the high preseason expectations, the Bills have bumbled their way into an all-too-familiar position of challenging to be the AFC East's least for a fifth consecutive season.

That's right, it's the same spot supposedly reserved for the Dolphins after their shortcomings were exposed to HBO's national cable audience.

Bills linebacker Nick Barnett wasn't paying attention then. And he couldn't care less about the projections now.

``I don't make money judging expectations and things like that,'' Barnett said, before turning his attention to the state of the Bills. ``I think in this locker room, we would definitely not have foreseen us being in this predicament and the record we have.''

The Bills (3-6), with the offseason addition of high-priced defensive end Mario Williams, weren't supposed to be this bad. And the Dolphins (4-5), with rookie coach Joe Philbin, rookie quarterback, Ryan Tannehill and many holes to fill, weren't supposed to be this good.

Jim Kelly versus Dan Marino this is not. But on Thursday night, the prime-time lights will once again shine on these two longtime division rivals in a game that will determine who stays in the postseason picture for at least another week.

The Bills haven't given up hope, despite a 1-5 stretch that's put them in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs for a 13th consecutive season, the longest current streak in the NFL.

``It only takes a spark to start a fire, and that spark is winning one football game,'' defensive tackle Kyle Williams said. ``If we win one, I think guys feel good about making a run here at the end of the year.''

The Dolphins understand what's at stake, too, and are eager to rebound from a two-game skid that included last weekend's sloppy 37-3 loss to Tennessee.

``I don't think by any means are we ready to shut this thing down,'' Tannehill said. ``Our guys are resilient. We're realists. We know we didn't play well. We know we didn't perform like we're capable of. But we're ready to move forward.''

Moving forward is key for Tannehill, whose development suddenly regressed Sunday after throwing three interceptions to match his worst outing he had three picks in a season-opening loss at Houston.

Tannehill bounced back from that game; Miami win four of the next six, although Matt Moore was behind center for most of the victory over the Jets when Tannehill was hurt early on. The Dolphins are confident the No. 8 draft pick out of Texas A&M can get them back on track.

``Ryan is very poised,'' running back Reggie Bush said. ``I told him these types of games build character. These games are going to come and go, make us stronger in the long run.''

Bush needs to rebound, too. He was benched after losing a fumble six minutes in against the Titans.

``I think we're all a little happy to have this game on Thursday, because it gives a chance to erase this last game and get back to football very quickly,'' Bush said. ``I know that I've bounced back before. I'll bounce back again, and we'll be OK.''

It might help Bush's outlook knowing he had a career-best 203 yards rushing and scored on a 76-yard run in a 30-23 win at Buffalo last December.

The Bills' defense isn't much better this season despite the addition of Williams, who signed a six-year, $100 million contract in free agency. Buffalo has allowed 285 points, fewer only than Tennessee - no one is giving up more than the Bills' 36.6 points per game - and 1,473 yards rushing, while Williams has hardly made a dent in improving the pass rush. Williams has 4 1/2 of the Bills' 20 sacks, which is five ahead of where they were at this point last season.

``The biggest thing for us is to make a stand,'' Williams said. ``Definitely, it's got to start some time. We've got seven games, but if you don't start it sooner than later, then we're basically just spinning our wheels.''

The Bills have spent plenty of time stuck in neutral. And it's become difficult to keep count the number of times they've been asked how important it is to win the next game.

``As we continue to lose, people keep asking that question. I feel like we had to have them all,'' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ``We're disappointed. We're not where we want to be. But we've got to start winning at some point, and this is a great week to do it.''

The Bills are coming off a 37-31 loss at New England, which once again exposed their inability to compete against division rivals. Buffalo's lost eight straight against AFC East opponents, and is 4-23 in division games since 2008.

``Our backs are against the wall,'' Barnett said. ``We have to win every game, I feel. And it starts with this game.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Stepfan TaylorOct 20 11:25a

Arizona Cardinals RB Stepfan Taylor vultured two touchdowns in the red zone Sunday, Oct. 19. RB Andre Ellington said he called Taylor in at the goal line and could [ More ]

Jake LockerOct 20 11:13a

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) is expected to play in Week 8, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Jake LockerOct 20 10:50a

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (hand) is expected to be back in Week 8. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Sunday, Oct. 19, that Locker's hand was still sore this [ More ]

Kiero SmallOct 20 10:43a

Cleveland Browns FB Kiero Small was added to the 53-man roster, and FB Ray Agnew III was waived Monday, Oct. 20.

Ryan TannehillOct 20 10:33a

Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill was effective in a scaled-back offense that utilized short-to-intermediate throws and reduced the number of troubling deep throws Sunday, Oct. 19. He was 25-for-32 [ More ]

Fred JacksonOct 20 10:13a

Updating previous reports, Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) said his adductor longus pulled off the bone about a centimeter, and he felt a pop. The injury is typically [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamOct 20 10:02a

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) played 30 offensive snaps (41 percent of the offense) in Week 7 Sunday, Oct. 19. He was targeted twice but was shut [ More ]

Anthony DixonOct 20 09:23a

Buffalo Bills RB Anthony Dixon is likely to start against the New York Jets in Week 8.

Owen DanielsOct 20 08:53a

Baltimore Ravens TE Owen Daniels was targeted by QB Joe Flacco nine times Sunday, Oct. 19, and caught six balls for 58 yards and a touchdown in Week 7. [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 20 08:32a

Updating previous reports, Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (collarbone) is out for the season, according to a source.

Jerod MayoOct 20 02:52a

New England Patriots LB Jerod Mayo (knee) is out for the year, but his financial status may improve as a result of the injury. A total of $4.5 million [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictOct 19 11:22p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (neck) suffered a cervical strain in the Week 7 game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Leon HallOct 19 11:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Leon Hall (back) left the Week 7 game against the Indianapolis Colts due to a strained back, and he was unable to return.

Paul PoslusznyOct 19 11:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny (shoulder) will have an MRI on his right shoulder after leaving the Week 7 game against the Cleveland Browns with an injury. He left [ More ]

Allen RobinsonOct 19 11:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson scored his first career touchdown in the Week 7 game against the Cleveland Browns. He finished with four receptions for 60 yards and the score.

Denard RobinsonOct 19 11:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson ran for a career-high 127 yards with a touchdown in Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns. 'The last time I carried the ball 20 [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 19 11:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Andre Branch (groin) left the Week 7 game against the Cleveland Browns due to a groin injury. He left the locker room after the game on crutches.

Peyton ManningOct 19 11:02p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning left the Week 7 game against the San Francisco early in the fourth quarter due to the lopsided score. He led Denver to a [ More ]

Gavin EscobarOct 19 10:43p

Dallas Cowboys TE Gavin Escobar had career-highs with three receptions, 65 yard and two touchdowns in Week 7 against the New York Giants. It was his first multi-touchdown game.

Daniel KilgoreOct 19 10:43p

San Francisco 49ers C Daniel Kilgore (knee) left the Week 7 game against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter due to an apparent serious left knee injury. C Dillon Farrell replaced him.

Terrance WilliamsOct 19 10:43p

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams had an 18-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter of the Week 7 game against the New York Giants. It was his sixth scoring [ More ]

Dez BryantOct 19 10:43p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant racked up nine receptions for 151 yards in the Week 7 game against the New York Giants. It was the third-most yards of his [ More ]

Davon HouseOct 19 10:23p

Green Bay Packers CB Davon House (finger) suffered a dislocated finger in the Week 7 game against the Carolina Panthers.

James StarksOct 19 10:23p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) left the Week 7 game against the Carolina Panthers in the third quarter due to an ankle injury and he was unable to return.

Peyton ManningOct 19 09:53p

Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning threw his third touchdown of the first half of Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers to WR Demaryius Thomas [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayOct 19 09:33p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray is the first played in NFL history with over 100 rushing yards in each of his first seven games to begin a season, surpassing [ More ]

Junior HemingwayOct 19 09:33p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) left the Week 7 game against the San Diego Chargers due to a hamstring injury and he was unable to return.

Kyle FullerOct 19 09:33p

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (hand) suffered a broken hand in the Week 7 game against the Miami Dolphins, and he also suffered a hip pointer, too.

Fred JacksonOct 19 09:22p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson (groin) had an MRI Sunday, Oct. 19, and he will be out at least two weeks due to the groin [ More ]

Aldon SmithOct 19 09:22p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith was given a nine-game suspension for multiple violations of league policies before the season began. According to multiple sources, there's a chance the [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 19 09:13p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot) suffered a broken foot in pregame workouts before the Week 7 game against the St. Louis Rams.

Alfred MorrisOct 19 09:13p

Washington Redskins RB Alfred Morris (ankle) left the Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans briefly due to a left ankle injury, but he was able to return and [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group