Monday, October 21, 2013

Sherman fumbles play-calling in fourth quarter


The Miami Dolphins ran the ball eight times on their 11-play, go-ahead drive in the third quarter of their 23-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The formula was written for offensive coordinator Mike Sherman going into the fourth stanza: Run the ball. Sherman fumbled.

After the Bills got within a point thanks to a Dan Carpenter field goal, the Dolphins went to the air three straight times on the ensuing drive. Three and out.

Miami's defense forced a punt, and the offense was back on the attack. That drive, which concluded with five-straight passing calls, ended in a fourth-and-15 punt from the 50-yard line.

But yet again, the Dolphins' defense gave the ball back to the offense with another forced punt. Sherman surely couldn't botch this one.

With three and a half minutes left, the Dolphins just needed to eat some clock, force Buffalo to use up its timeouts, and at worst, bury the Bills deep in their own territory with very little time. After all, the defense proved itself capable of bailing the offense out one more time.

Sherman had the right idea when a two-yard run by Daniel Thomas helped eat away half a minute of time. Then, Sherman called a passing play. The result? A strip-sack by Bills defensive end Mario Williams, who set up Buffalo on Miami's 34-yard line.

The Bills then did what Sherman should have done and ran the ball six straight times. Carpenter went on to boot the game-winner and hand his former team its third straight loss.

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