Sammy Watkins, like the rest of the Buffalo Bills’ offense, did all he could Saturday.
Watkins finished with a monster stat line – seven catches for 154 yards and a touchdown – but in the end, it didn’t matter. The Bills suffered a heart-breaking 34-31 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at New Era Field.
“It’s hard. It seems like every time I have a successful game, we lose,” Watkins said in a downtrodden locker room. “That’s the hard part. We’ve got to find other ways to win. I think we had the offense play well. I think we kept fighting and we pulled long drives. I think this game was the best we ever played.”
By yardage standards, it was the third best Watkins has ever played, trailing a 168-yard game against the Dolphins last year and a 157-yard game as a rookie against the Jets in 2014. The Bills, though, are just 5-9 in games in which Watkins scores a touchdown. Watkins has four games of 150-plus yards, just two behind Andre Reed for the most in team history.
“We’ve got to finish games – both sides,” Watkins said. “There have been games where offense don’t finish, and the defense does. But in overtime, it’s sell out. We’ve got to get those games.”
Watkins, who has been playing through a foot injury, made it clear he has no plans of shutting things down with the Bills now eliminated from playoff contention.
“That’s what we were fighting for,” he said. “We fell short. We’ve got to focus on beating the Jets. We lose that game, it could be a little more ugly than what it is now.
“I’m healthy. I’m looking forward to going out there and matching up with the Jets.”
Bills guard Richie Incognito noticed a couple of the Dolphins trying to provoke him on social media.
It's safe to say it didn't work.
"This is my world," Incognito said in response to Miami defensive linemen Andre Branch and Jordan Phillips. "They stepped into my world. Those guys aren’t even in my stratosphere. I thought it was pretty funny. It got me juiced up."
Incognito helped the Bills to a whopping 272 yards on the ground – part of a franchise record 589 yards of total offense. Asked how he was able to keep his emotions in check – which is something he hasn't always been able to do – Incognito had a simple response.
"Shoving the ball down their throat, that helps," he said.
To review, Branch and Phillips on Friday took to social media to take subtle shots at Incognito, with Branch posting a picture on Twitter of him on top of Incognito with the caption “Killer instinct we can tell what’s pretend.” Phillips posted a picture on Instagram of him jawing with Incognito with the caption “Everybody wants to be tough till the war starts.”
Branch finished with five tackles and three quarterback hits, while Phillips had a pair of tackles.
"It's tough," Incognito said. "We fought. We fought. We kept fighting. We kept swinging. You know, it's a disappointing outcome."
Incognito has been one of Rex Ryan's biggest supporters. The loss most certainly will not help Ryan's tenuous job status.
"I don't know. That's not up to me," Incognito said of the speculation surrounding his head coach. "I did my best to get this win today, and that's it."
The Dolphins are packed with former Bills. Defensive end Mario Williams is the most prominent, but he looks to be on his way out of the league. Williams has been playing in a reserve role for the Dolphins, as he did Saturday, and failed to register any statistics against his former team.
Offensive lineman Kraig Urbik started at center Saturday for the Dolphins, as did tight end MarQueis Gray, who finished with one catch for 20 yards. Offensive lineman Sam Young, another former Bill, played in a reserve role for the Dolphins.
The Bills were without starting left tackle Cordy Glenn for the second straight game because of a back injury. Also inactive for Buffalo on Sunday were: linebacker Lerentee McCray (concussion), wide receiver Dez Lewis, tight end Gerald Christian, defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, quarterback Cardale Jones and tight end Logan Thomas.
It might be the most baffling statistic of the Bills’ 2016 season. Running back Reggie Bush has now carried the ball 12 times – for minus-3 yards. Bush lost 8 yards on his only rushing attempt of the game – an ill-advised reverse in overtime.
“We though it would work,” coach Rex Ryan said. “That’s why we ran it.”