Written by Steven Wilson | Twitter: @stevenjwilson11
With a three-game losing streak to their AFC-East rivals hanging over their head, the Miami Dolphins overcame adversity on Thursday night answering the bell with a resounding 22-9 victory at home.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw two second-half touchdowns to lead the comeback, while the defense stepped up with a big safety. Now, the monkey is off their back and they’re ready for their next test.
“Yeah, we hadn’t beaten them in three games, so we had to come out and just play football,” said Lamar Miller, who rushed for 86 yards on 15 carries. “Everybody in this locker room knew − we just did what we had to do.”
For the Phins QB, that was easier said than done. With a ferocious Bills pass rush coming for him, Tannehill still managed to complete 26 of 34 passes for 240 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, earning a passer rating of 114.8.
“It’s great,” admitted Tannehill. “I never felt the monkey or anything like that. [It was] a great division win on a Thursday night so I think it was big day for all of us.”
Knowing that their New York natives had the upper hand over the past year and a half meant something to the Dolphins. Even on a short week, the team used that motivation to fuel a 19-0 comeback in the final 18 minutes of action.
“I mean the ‘faster the fast,’ they beat us these last three times that we played them, really outplayed us in all three of those games, so it felt good to go out there and get a win today,” said Mike Pouncey. “I mean we use all that to add fuel to the fire on the short week of play and we just made more plays than they did.”
Brent Grimes added, “We knew what we had to do on early downs. We came out and executed. The coaches told us what we had to do and we executed. Coach (Kevin) Coyle had a great plan and we executed in the second half and it worked out well for us.”
The defense was solid in the second half, limiting the Bills to just 86 yards after the break, Olivier Vernon earned a safety early in the second period, and minus a fumble, the special teams unit held Buffalo from making too many big plays.
“It was good to just go out there and get a team win,” said Cameron Wake. “All around guys stepped up and made big plays: offense, defense, [and] special teams. Obviously, Thursday night, division opponent we wouldn’t want it any other way.”
The streak, which stemmed from a lack-luster offense, looked like it would continue early in the first half. But the offense kicked it into gear late on Thursday night after converting just 1-out-of-33 possessions against Buffalo into an offensive touchdown over the past three meetings.
“Number one, I wasn’t aware of that statistic and couldn’t pass it along to the team,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said with a laugh afterwards. “You’ve got to credit the guys. As I said to the guys, coming home on the plane, and the way we lost the game last week, they just came in to work that Monday. They got back to work and this is a game they wanted to get and they just prepared well. I think they were confident they were going to play well.”