Miami Dolphins (8-7, t-2nd AFC East)
Week 16: win (37-35 against the Minnesota Vikings, in Miami)
The Dolphins tried to keep their slim playoff hopes alive against the visiting Vikings. The game, however, did not start the way the Dolphins had hoped, as they found themselves in an early 14-0 hole. Kicker Caleb Sturgis (0/1) missed a 56-yard field goal on the team's first drive and quarterback Ryan Tannehill (35/47, 396 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT) threw an interception on the first series of the second quarter. Miami, however, would get back into the game, aided by two Tannehill touchdown passes (one apiece to Dion Sims and Mike Wallace) and a Derrick Shelby interception. At the start of a wild fourth quarter, which saw both teams score a combined 41 points, the Dolphins only trailed 14-17. Miami scored on a Lamar Miller-run and two more touchdown passes (to Damien Williams and Wallace for a second time) to tie the game at 35. With 45 seconds to go in the game, Dolphins defensive end Terrence Fede blocked a Vikings' punt, which subsequently went through the back of the end zone for a game-winning safety. It was the difference in an otherwise close game, in which the Dolphins played some solid offensive football; amassing 493 total net yards of offense and converting all five red zone trips into touchdowns. The defense had some up-and-down moments, giving up 357 yards and seven of 12 third down attempts. The unit, however, did also come up with four sacks (two by Cameron Wake) and one takeaway. Yet, despite the win, the Dolphins are now officially eliminated from playoff-contention because the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
Game highlights can be found here.
Buffalo Bills (8-7, t-2nd AFC East)
Week 16: loss (24-26 against the Oakland Raiders, in Oakland)
After losing in Oakland, the Buffalo Bills are eliminated from participating in the postseason for the 15th straight year. Similar to Buffalo's entire season, this game was an up-and-down outing on both sides of the ball. The offense gained 321 yards and scored three touchdowns, but converted only four of 15 3rd down attempts and was shut out in the running game: the Bills rushed 13 times and gained 13 yards for, you guessed it, a 1.0-average. The offense found some success through the air, though, as quarterback Kyle Orton (32/49, 329 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs) hit three different receivers for touchdowns: Sammy Watkins (3/75 yds) scored in the first quarter, Scott Chandler (4/37) and Robert Woods (7/52) in the fourth. Still, it was too little to beat the Raiders, since the Bills were unable to sustain drives and did not reach Oakland's red zone even once. Furthermore, the Bills gave the ball away twice. The defense's performance was as uneven as the offense's, even though statistically, the Bills' defense had a solid day. They allowed 347 yards, stopped the Raiders on 11 of 16 3rd downs and had six tackles for loss. However, the unit could not come up with a takeaway or a stop when one was needed, as cornerback Corey Graham gave up a 51-yard pass play on 3rd and 22 with five minutes to go in the game. The Raiders would score a touchdown four plays later to expand their lead to nine points. The Bills were unable to come back and thus fall to 8-7.
Game highlights can be found here.
New York Jets (3-12, 4th AFC East)
Week 16: loss (16-17 against the New England Patriots, in East Rutherford NJ).
Pats Pulpit is already in the process of analyzing this game.