Don Beebe played by far the best game of an often trying and difficult season Sunday. Unfortunately for the Bills' second-year wide receiver, his best game of the year was also his last.
Beebe, who caught a season-high three passes for 74 yards in Buffalo's 24-14 win, broke his lower left leg on the final play of the third quarter and will be sidelined for four to six months.
Beebe was trailing the play on a 13-yard run by Thurman Thomas when Miami inside linebacker John Offerdahl was knocked down and fell on the back of his leg.
Before going down, Beebe had made a couple of critical plays on Bills scoring drives. He caught a 17-yard pass from Frank Reich on second-and-20 to set up the first Buffalo touchdown. And on a third-and-6 in the third quarter, he hauled in a 43-yard bomb from Reich to set up Scott Norwood's field goal that made it 17-7.
"That's going to hurt a lot," Reich said. "Al Edwards will step in and do a great job . . . but Don's just so fast, he gives you that dimension. I think they (opposing defenses) are always afraid. It was obvious today a couple of times."
While Beebe's leg was broken, his spirit appeared to remain intact. As he was driven off the field, he gestured to the Rich Stadium crowd with an upraised fist.
And as he was being wheeled out of the locker room after the game, Beebe looked up at owner Ralph Wilson and said, "Let's just go to Tampa."
Andre Reed's first catch of the day -- an 18-yard grab in the second quarter -- moved him past Elbert Dubenion on the Bills' all-time pass receiving yardage list.
Reed had four catches for 57 yards overall, giving him 5,353 yards in his six-year career. Dubenion amassed 5,309 yards as a Bill from 1960-67.
Reed also extended his own club record by grabbing his 39th career touchdown pass early in the third quarter.
Just days after being elected to the Pro Bowl for a third straight time, center Kent Hull suffered a brief lapse of consistency by being called for holding twice -- on the same drive.
"We scored, though," Hull said with a smile. "You don't count 'em when you score."
The Bills made an unusually large number of mistakes Sunday. They were penalized 14 times for 95 yards, including a holding call on Mark Pike that erased a 44-yard kickoff return by Edwards. Hull agreed the Bills' miscues might have resulted from being too emotionally charged for the Dolphins.
"Yeah, I think so," Hull said. "I think we settled down the second half, though. This was probably the biggest game any of us has played in, other than a playoff game. I think everybody was geared a little too tight."
Linebacker Carlton Bailey has seen his playing time diminished in recent weeks, but he made one of the day's biggest plays as a member of the Bills' special teams.
Bailey recovered Marc Logan's muff of the second-half kickoff -- the first time an opponent has fumbled a kickoff against Buffalo this season.
"We always talk about special teams making big plays," Bailey said. "I was really happy about it. I guess what's most important is doing whatever you can to help the team win. We won and that's all that really matters."
Apparently, the only team capable of stopping the Bills on an opening drive is the Bills themselves.
Buffalo marched to Miami's 26-yard line on the game's opening series but turned the ball over on Reich's fumble. It ended a streak of five straight games where the Bills scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the game.