The Buffalo Bills weren't at their best Sunday in Miami, but they had three things going for them: a defense that gave up yards but not points, the hard-nosed running of Marshawn Lynch, and special teams.
It added up to a 13-10 victory for the Bills over the winless Dolphins. Here's a sampling of big plays:
SS Donte Whitner tackles RB Jesse Chatman for 1-yard loss on fourth-and-1 at Buffalo's 34-yard line: Bills have seven men on line of scrimmage with LBs Angelo Crowell and John DiGiorgio between DEs Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel and Whitner standing to Schobel's right outside Dolphins TE David Martin. Miami sends two receivers wide right while Chatman is in a single back set. Dolphins try to run a counter with RG Rex Hadnot pulling to left side. WR Marty Booker motions from right to left before the snap and tries to block down on Whitner. But Whitner easily runs past him and Hadnot past and makes the tackle.
DE Chris Kelsay sacks QB Cleo Lemon in end zone for safety: Bills are in standard 4-3, while Dolphins are in I-formation with two receivers to the right and TE Justin Peele on the left. Booker motions towards the formation, then goes back outside. On the snap, RT L.J. Shelton moves inside to help Hadnot double team DT John McCargo. Chatman tries to cut Kelsay's legs out with a low block, but barely makes contact. Lemon should throw to FB Reagan Mauia, who is open in the short flat but doesn't. Lemon pump fakes but Kelsay jumps in the air, forcing Lemon to bring ball down and take the sack.
Lynch scores on 3-yard run on first-and-goal: Bills are in I-formation with Ryan Neufeld lined up at fullback in front of Lynch. TE Michael Gaines is next to LT Jason Peters while OT Kirk Chambers is the extra tight end on right side. WR Lee Evans is on right side and WR Josh Reed is to the left. Miami has three interior defensive linemen who are flanked to the left and right by DE Jason Taylor and OLB Joey Porter. Reed motions across the formation and stops behind Chambers. The play is to the left. Peters locks on to DT Rodrique Wright and Gaines kicks out Porter. SS Cameron Worrell penetrates, but is taken out by Neufeld. Lynch cuts inside of Neufeld's block and is grabbed by Wright and gets hit in front by LB Channing Crowder. But Lynch keeps his legs churning and drives his way into the end zone.
Lynch adds two-point conversion: Bills come out with three receivers, Evans to the left and Reed and Justin Jenkins to the right. Gaines lines up on right side. Lynch is single back. Dolphins are in a four-man front with linebackers 5 yards behind line of scrimmage. Taylor tries to beat Peters inside, but Peters shields him as Lynch cuts outside. Lynch is met at the goal line by CB Jason Allen, who wraps up Lynch's legs, and Crowder, whose jolting hit spins Lynch backward. But Lynch spins off the blow, shakes loose from Allen and lunges across the goal line.
Roscoe Parrish's 40-yard punt return: Parrish fields the ball at his 11, as he hits the 15, there is a huge corridor created by blocks from Mario Haggan, Bryan Scott, Coy Wire and Josh Stamer. A defender closes in from Parrish's right, but John Wendling picks him off. Jim Leonhard takes out another pursuer as Parrish hits the sideline. Parrish encounters P Brandon Fields and drops Fields to his knees with a deft juke move. It takes a diving tackle by Worrell to prevent a TD.
The biggest overlooked play of Sunday's game was LT Jason Peters' hustling downfield and diving over a pile to recover a fumble by Lynch after his 10-yard reception on third-and-8 from Miami's 48. A turnover would have given Miami the ball in good field position with more than three minutes remaining. Instead, Peters kept the Bills' drive alive and allowed them to get in position for game-winning field goal.
The Bills dodged a big bullet with Miami's Ted Ginn Jr. had a kickoff return for a touchdown called back because of a holding penalty in the fourth quarter. It would have been the second week in a row the Bills' kickoff coverage allowed an opponent to take one to the house.
The Bills will look to shock the football world Sunday night when they host the unbeaten New England Patriots.