The Miami Dolphins fell to a third straight loss at the hands of AFC East rivals, the Buffalo Bills, in an exciting Saturday night game.

Tyler Bass’ field goal with the clock reaching zero saw the Bills win it 33-29, as the Dolphins lost their third straight game for the second time this season.

This now means that the Dolphins, dependant on the results today, could fall from the sixth to seventh seed, with just a tiebreaker separating them from being on the bubble.

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This was a much-improved performance from the previous two weeks. After going 3-0, the Dolphins lost three straight before going 5-0. They were the second seed after their Week 11 bye week, and before their Week 13 meeting with the San Francisco 49ers, they knew a win in the Bay Area would see them move top of the AFC East.

However, the two games that followed in California, against the Niners and the Los Angeles Chargers, gave the Dolphins team, the fanbase, and the NFL media a dose of a reality check as the team struggled.

Two back-to-back losses meant that the Dolphins went into the game, with most of their fans expecting a loss. They may have fallen to another defeat, but the performance was much more improved.

The Dolphins had 308 yards against the 49ers and 219 against the Chargers. They had 405 last night. Their 188 rushing yards against the Bills was more than the previous two weeks combined.

They have struggled against Buffalo in recent years, but the win in Week Three and the competitive performance in Week 15 shows the league and the Bills that they will be a nuisance to this team for years to come.

McDaniel Shows Coaching Inexperience

Rookie Head Coach Mike McDaniel will want this game back. Full of confidence before the game, donning an “I wish it were colder” t-shirt, he made some questionable decisions in this game that ultimately cost the Dolphins a win that would have been a huge step towards making the playoffs for the first time since the 2016 campaign, and just the third time since the 2008 season.

The aforementioned success in the run game caused some big problems for Buffalo. Raheem Mostert was the best rusher in the game, with 136 yards on the ground. The next best was Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who recorded 77.

Miami went 5-14 on third down, but there were plenty of opportunities for this to be completely different. Miami and McDaniel appeared to neglect the run on third down, despite this being an Achilles heel for the Bills all game. In tough conditions, McDaniel often decided to go for the pass play, and this was often unsuccessful.

McDaniel gets the benefit of the doubt, being a first-year head coach. However, as Brandon Staley and Kliff Kingsbury are now discovering, fans will be less forgiving if he makes the same mistakes in years two or three.

The Final Three Games

Miami faces a crucial last three games as they attempt to make the postseason. The division is out of reach, meaning they need to become one of the three teams in the Wildcard Round.

Their next game is on Christmas Day, as they play a game in Miami for the first time since November 27th. Their opponents are the Green Bay Packers. Two division matchups then occur for the Dolphins as they close out the regular season. A home game against the New York Jets follows a New Year’s Day road trip against the New England Patriots. This is a tough run down the stretch.

The Packers have been way below par this season, currently 5-8. However, write off the Packers at your peril. They have been inconsistent, but with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, running back Aaron Jones, and a rising star in rookie wideout Christian Watson, this is still a tough encounter for the Dolphins.

Miami will need to rely on other results going their way, as they will be cheering on the Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, and Tennessee Titans today. If The Patriots win today, only Miami’s head-to-head record will separate the two from each other in the playoff picture.

A Week 18 game against the Jets has every possibility of being a win, and you’re in a scenario where two long-standing rivals with long playoff droughts go head-to-head for a place in the postseason.

If Miami were to make the playoffs, then they have the offense to beat anyone on their day, and fans should be excited about their future. Should they miss out, serious questions will be asked as to how a team that some were predicting to make a Super Bowl run could collapse in just a matter of weeks.

Sit tight folks.

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