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Mistakes abound in fourth

The Buffalo Bills took the opening possession of the second half and methodically drove 70 yards, capping the march with an 8-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch.

The Bills, who ended the first half with a field goal to build a 9-7 lead, were now in command at 16-7 against the Miami Dolphins.

Or so we thought.

The Bills didn't score again as their offense imploded in a dizzying fourth quarter of turnovers and mistakes.

There were miscues all around in the Bills' 25-16 loss, but there also were some great individual plays by the Dolphins, primarily linebacker Joey Porter and safety Yeremiah Bell.

You know what happened in that second half. Here's a look at why.:

*On the Bills' first possession after their touchdown, they were in a shotgun formation on third-and-3 at their 17-yard line. The Bills like to give Lynch the ball on an inside handoff in this situation. Sure enough, that was the call. But the Dolphins were in an all-out blitz, sending eight men. LB Channing Crowder penetrated up the middle and slipped past TE Derek Schouman, who lined up in the backfield. Schouman ended up on the turf, slowing Lynch enough for Bell, blitzing from the outside to make the tackle for a 3-yard loss.

*Trent Edwards' interception on the first play of the fourth quarter was caused by pressure up the middle. The Bills lined up in the shotgun on second-and-7 at Miami's 47. Edwards faked a handoff to Lynch to hold the secondary in place. The Dolphins rushed four men, but DT Randy Starks overpowered RG Jason Whittle. Whittle got away with a holding penalty, but that wasn't enough to slow Starks. Edwards was facing the rush, but his eyes were downfield. As Edwards threw the ball, Starks lunged at him and hit Edwards' right arm. The ball fluttered in the air and fell into the hands of CB Will Allen.

*Edwards' fumble on the following possession was a case of him trying to do more than necessary. His third-down sneak appeared to get the yard needed for the first down. But when LB Quentin Moses grabbed him from behind, Edwards reached the ball forward and Porter snatched it from his hands.

*Perhaps the most damaging play for the Bills was Porter's sack-turned-safety. As Porter pointed out later, LT Jason Peters was setting up to the outside to protect against Porter's outside rush throughout the game. In fact, Peters did just that two plays prior to the sack. On third-and-10, Porter lined up on the outside shoulder of TE Robert Royal. Knowing that Royal was going out on a pass pattern, Peters knew he had to get into his pass set quickly and immediately slid outside to anticipate Porter's upfield rush.

Porter sold the outside move until the last second and then cut underneath Peters. LG Derrick Dockery moved over and got a hand on Porter, but for some reason didn't stay with the block. Porter powered past both blockers and drilled an unsuspecting Edwards in the back while chopping down on Edwards' arm to force the fumble.

*On third-and-19, and with Porter in his face, Edwards completed a pass to Royal down the seam for what would have been a first down. But as S Jason Allen hit Royal low, Bell hurled his body into Royal and knocked the ball out with his right hand and Crowder recovered it.

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Other observations

The Bills should not have played CB Terrence McGee. Coach Dick Jauron claimed McGee was healthy enough to play. Oh really? He did not look very healthy trying to stay with Miami's speedy WR Ted Ginn, who had a career day at McGee's expense. To McGee's credit, he tried to tough it out. But putting him on the field at less than 100 percent did McGee and the defense a disservice. And by the way, didn't the Bills spend the 11th overall draft pick on a cornerback.

It would have helped McGee and the secondary, if the Bills had a better pass rush. They sacked Chad Pennington once and didn't pressure him enough. This team sure misses DE Aaron Schobel.

e-mail: awilson@buffnews.com

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