Make no mistake about it, folks: two very desperate football teams face off this Sunday in Miami. At 1-2 and 0-3, respectively, neither the Buffalo Bills nor the Miami Dolphins can afford to fall back any further off the pace being set by the red-hot New York Jets. With Chad Pennington gone for the season and Joey Porter possibly unavailable as well (keep your fingers crossed), this is an opportunity that the Bills need to take advantage of. Kick 'em while they're down, and kick them hard.
I am happy to report that, although it took until Week 4 to get there, we have finally come to a team that the Bills have a winning record against over their last five meetings. Keep in mind that since this is a division opponent, this post covers the last five times these two teams have played in Miami. Those last five meetings are re-visited after the jump.
December 5, 2004: Bills 42, Dolphins 32
Terrence McGee started this game by taking the opening kickoff 104 yards to the end zone for a very quick 7-0 lead. Drew Bledsoe would add four touchdown passes - two to Lee Evans (21, 69), one to Eric Moulds (30) and one to Tim Euhus (15) - to pace the Bills offensively. What seems amazing to me about this game is how on earth Miami scored 32 points, and totaled 403 yards on the day, while throwing five interceptions and losing two fumbles. McGee, Rashad Baker, Nate Clements, Takeo Spikes, and even Pat Williams recorded interceptions in this game. Williams returned his 20 yards for a score. Aaron Schobel and Chris Kelsay split a sack in this game. How does a defense play so well and so badly all in the same game? If not for Williams' pick-6 and McGee's return to open the game, the Bills could have conceivably recorded 7 turnovers and lost the game. Weird.
December 4, 2005: Dolphins 24, Bills 23
This is the game that Lee Evans and J.P. Losman were an unstoppable duo for the first quarter. Unfortunately, there were three more quarters to play, and the Bills' offense packed up and went home after the first 15 minutes. Losman hit Evans three times for scores of 46, 56, and 4 yards to give the Bills an early and commanding 21-0 after 12:46 had gone by in the game. Olindo Mare got Miami on the board with a 23-yard field goal; add a London Fletcher sack of Gus Frerotte in the end zone for a safety, and the Bills led 23-3 after three quarters. That's when the immortal Sage Rosenfels entered the game. Rosenfels engineered three scoring drives - ending in a Ricky Williams 5-yard TD run, and Ronnie Brown 23-yard TD catch and a 4-yard Chris Chambers TD grab that came with six seconds left on the clock - and Miami escaped with the win. Fletcher had two sacks on the day counting his safety, and Aaron Schobel had a sack and an interception.
September 17, 2006: Bills 16, Dolphins 6
This was the Daunte Culpepper sack-fest. The Bills sacked Culpepper seven times, with Ryan Denney (3.0) leading the way. Three Rian Lindell field goals of 33, 45, and 43 yards, as well as a Josh Reed touchdown reception from Losman, accounted for the scoring for the Bills. Losman only had 83 yards passing on the day, and Willis McGahee rumbled for 91 yards on 25 carries, but it was enough for the Bills. Angelo Crowell had a sack and an interception for the Bills.
November 11, 2007: Bills 13, Dolphins 10
During the Dolphins' horrible 1-15 season (stupid Ravens!), the Dolphins had enough in them to give the Bills a pretty big scare on this day. After a 38-yard Jay Feely field goal, a Chris Kelsay sack of Cleo Lemon for a safety, and a Lemon five-yard TD scramble, the Dolphins led the Bills 10-2 going into the fourth quarter. A Marshawn Lynch 3-yard "Beast Mode" touchdown and a "Beast Mode" two point conversion tied the game up with 9:46 to play. Exactly nine minutes later, Rian Lindell won the game for the Bills with a 34-yard field goal. After the game was over, a gigantic wind gust came out of the western New York area as Bills fans everywhere released the breath they were holding.
October 26, 2008: Dolphins 25, Bills 16
After Chad Pennington hit Anthony Fasano for a two-yard scoring pass giving the Dolphins a 7-0 lead, the Bills rattled off 16 straight points to go up 16-7. Rian Lindell hit on three field goals, and another Marshawn Lynch "Beast Mode" TD dive accounted for the Bills' points. After that, however, it was all Miami. Three Dan Carpenter field goals and a Ricky Williams TD run would have been enough, but for the third straight game between these two teams in Miami, there was a safety. This time it was Joey Porter stripping Trent Edwards in the end zone and Duke Preston falling up top of the ball first. Lee Evans had another huge day versus the Dolphins with seven catches for 116 yards. (Note to Lee Evans FF owners: Evans kills the Dolphins.)