MIAMI -- Beating his former team was nothing special for kicker Dan Carpenter.
Beating a division rival on a day the AFC East-leading New England Patriots also lost was a different story.
Carpenter made a 31-yard field goal with 36 seconds left, and quarterback Thad Lewis, a Miami native, won his first NFL game as the Buffalo Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins 23-21 Sunday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium.
"I don't have any hard feelings toward the Dolphins," said Carpenter, who went 3 for 3 on field goals on the day. "But it's got extra meaning because it's a division game. We were just watching in (the locker room), the Jets beat the Patriots. (The division) is getting mixed up."
The Patriots lead the AFC East at 5-2, followed by the 4-3 New York Jets, 3-3 Dolphins and 3-4 Bills.
But that might have been a bit different had Carpenter not made a key stop on the ensuing kickoff return by Marcus Thigpen, breaking up a possible touchdown on Miami's final possession.
Thigpen, tripped up by Carpenter, ran out of bounds at Miami's 46.
"I didn't hit it very well," Carpenter said of the kickoff. "I put our team in a really tough spot. I'm glad our defense picked me up."
The Bills stopped the Dolphins on four straight passes to end the game, including the final heave into the end zone.
The winning field goal was set up by Mario Williams' strip sack of Ryan Tannehill. The fumble was recovered at the Miami 34 by Kyle Williams.
It was one of Tannehill's three turnovers on the day, including two interceptions.
"It was a play we felt we knew," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said, "and a play we felt we could execute."
A 10-yard run by Fred Jackson on that final Buffalo drive was also key. He converted a third-and-4 play from the Miami 28, eating more clock and setting up a closer field goal.
Buffalo, which snapped a two-game losing streak, will play at the New Orleans Saints.
What the Bills said
"I don't have any hard feelings toward the Dolphins. But it's got extra meaning because it's a division game. We were just watching in there (the locker room), the Jets beat the Patriots. (The division) is getting mixed up." -- Kicker Dan Carpenter on his game-winning field goal against his former team.
What the Dolphins said
"It was a play we felt we knew and a play we felt we could execute." -- Coach Joe Philbin on the pass play that resulted in Mario Williams' game-changing strip sack of Ryan Tannehill.
What we learned about the Bills
1. Defensive end Mario Williams is a force and appears to be getting even better. He had two sacks Sunday against the Dolphins and has 4.5 in the past three games. His strip-sack on Sunday virtually won the game, putting Buffalo in position for the winning field goal. For the season, he has eight sacks, third best in the NFL.
2. Running back Fred Jackson is tough. He suffered what looked to be a serious knee injury on Buffalo's first drive. The hit was extra scary because it came on the same knee on which he had been operated on previously. But Jackson came back on the next drive to score a touchdown. Then, on Buffalo's game-winning field-goal drive, Jackson's 10-yard run on third-and-4 killed more clock and gave Buffalo a much shorter field goal. Had he been stopped for no gain, Buffalo would have had a 46-yard field goal, and the Dolphins would have had the ball back with 2:37 left. Instead, the Bills ended up with a 31-yard field goal, and the Dolphins got the ball back with 23 seconds.
What we learned about the Dolphins
1. Miami continued to struggle protecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He has been sacked 26 times in six games. He was sacked just twice on Sunday -- relatively low considering what he had endured previously this season -- but the final takedown resulted in a fumble that turned the game around.
2. Tannehill is still far from a polished quarterback. He had 13 interceptions in 16 games as a rookie and has seven in six games in this, his second year. He lost eight fumbles as a rookie and has lost five so far this season. It proves that young quarterbacks do not just automatically improve from Year One to Year Two. Tannehill has better targets to throw to this season -- most notably Mike Wallace -- but his offensive line has struggled, the running game has produced little and the result has been numerous crucial mistakes
By Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: October 20, 2013 07:54:16 PM
Bills-Dolphins: What we learned
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