Here are how my five takes before the Buffalo Bills' 34-31 overtime loss against the Miami Dolphins Saturday worked out:
1. Show some fight: Check! The Bills got off to a slow start and pretty much appeared to be sleepwalking as the Dolphins built a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.
But then they woke up, at least offensively. As the Dolphins shredded the Bills' defense, Buffalo's offense came back with strong responses that allowed the Bills to take a 31-28 lead with 1:20 left in regulation.
Effort absolutely was not an issue for the Bills in the loss that officially extended the longest active postseason drought in North American sports to 17 years. The problem was mainly poor coaching.
Rex Ryan made an awful decision to punt with 4:09 left in overtime, because, having missed a field goal, the Bills gave the Dolphins the opportunity to either tie or win the game. Both scenarios would have eliminated the Bills from the playoffs. Coaching also failed the Bills when they ended up with only 10 men on the field as Jay Ajayi ripped off a 57-yard game on the Dolphins' first play after the punt to set up the winning field goal.
2. Don't let Jay Ajayi tear it up again. Not even close. He ran for 206 yards on 32 carries, an average of 6.4 yards per rush, and a touchdown.
That was an impressive encore to the 214 yards Ajayi had in the Dolphins' 28-25 victory on Oct. 23 at Miami.
The Bills were determined to do something about the horrible tackling that did the most to allow Ajayi to have such a dominant showing the first time. They supposedly spent the practice week focusing on having defenders swarm to the ball. However, if anything, the Bills' tackling was even worse Saturday.
On numerous plays, Buffalo defenders either tried lunging at Ajayi with their shoulders or whiffing on him altogether.
The Bills had already made the wrong kind of history by allowing two 200-yard rushers in a season for the first time in their history (including the 236 of Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell on Dec. 11).
3. Don't get caught up in seeking revenge. Check. The Bills didn't do anything that looked like an attempt at payback for Jarvis Landry's vicious hit on Aaron Williams on Oct. 23 that ended the safety's season and possibly his career.
There were a couple of skirmishes, but none appeared to involve him.
4. LeSean McCoy finishes on a high note. Check. There's still one game left in the season, but McCoy made his final game of the year at New Era Field memorable by rushing for 128 yards and a touchdown.
His weaving, 19-yard scoring run that cut the Dolphins' lead to 21-14 with 6:46 left in the third quarter was a thing of beauty. McCoy continues to demonstrate that he is the best and most entertaining player on the Bills' roster.
5. Prevent Matt Moore from feeling comfortable on the road for the second game in a row. Check. He did throw for 233 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
But Moore threw a terrible interception to kill a scoring opportunity just before halftime. He was far less a driving force in the Dolphins' win than their rushing attack.