MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 28-25 loss against the Miami Dolphins Sunday worked out:
1. Continue to slam the door against the run. Incredible whiff here. Jay Ajayi trampled the Bills for 214 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries. That's an average of 7.6 yards per carry.
The Bills' defense was horrific against the run. Not only did the Dolphins' offensive line consistently knock the front seven off the ball, the Bills' linebackers were nowhere to be found to fill cutback lanes through which Ajayi routinely exploded for long runs.
The only way the Dolphins were going to be able to win this game was the same way they beat Pittsburgh last week, with Ajayi piling up yards and wearing down the defense. His running helped allow Miami to make just enough plays through the air to rally from a 17-6 deficit.
2. Don't let Ryan Tannehill make plays outside of the pocket. Check. Tannehill didn't really hurt the Bills with his arm and he didn't produce any significant pass plays on the move, but he was able to make a big throw and a big run.
The biggest damage came when, working from the middle of the pocket, he connected with Kenny Stills on a 66-yard touchdown that put the Dolphins in front to stay, 28-17, with 2:24 left in the fourth quarter. Stills had nothing but green in front of him after Ronald Darby and Jonathan Meeks collided as Stills caught the ball at the Buffalo 38.
Tannehill also had a 13-yard scramble that helped set up a four-yard touchdown run by Ajayi late in the third quarter to cut the Bills' lead to 17-14.
3. Run the ball well ... again. Not even close. LeSean McCoy's hamstring issue, which cropped up during Wednesday's practice, clearly was a problem.
He hardly resembled the MVP-level player he had been while piling up 290 yards and three touchdowns against San Francisco and Los Angeles the past two weeks. He was tentative and deliberate in his movement, and the Dolphins were able to limit him to 11 yards on eight carries.
4. Tyrod Taylor makes some big plays while being efficient. Check. He did make a couple of big plays and he was efficient, although on a day when the Bills had very little in the way of a running game, it wasn't enough.
Taylor had a 10-yard touchdown run on a read-option play that gave the Bills a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. He also connected with Marquise Goodwin on a 67-yard touchdown pass that put the Bills ahead, 17-6, with 5:51 left in the third quarter and seemingly gave them a stranglehold on the game.
5. Maintain razor-sharp focus. No way. You can make a pretty good case, in fact, that the Bills got a little too full of themselves after winning four games in a row and hearing plenty of talk that they're one of the hottest teams in the league and have the inside track on a playoff spot.
The players knew there was absolutely no excuse for allowing themselves to get pushed around on both sides of the ball. The Dolphins have some very talented players on their defensive and offensive lines, but they shouldn't have been able to enjoy the sort of success they had from start to finish.
The Bills did not display enough effort and they certainly didn't show enough concentration to do the right things they had been doing the past four weeks. This was, in so many ways, the type of loss that can't be excused.