One of the only compelling finishes among the 1pm games today was Buffalo and Miami. The Buffalos were down 17 points with the ball, under 6 minutes left. They took their sweet time getting down the field, but moved with ease and scored a TD with 2:30 remaining (did Miami go to the prevent too soon?).
The Buffalos had no choice but to kick onside. Miami and Buffalo’s “hands teams” showed off pretty bad hands; the ball rattled off about five guys before Buffalo recovered! Two plays later, Fitzpatrick hit Ruvell Martin for a big gainer down the sideline. The Buffalos were now on the Miami 27 with about 2:10 remaining and two timeouts.
In this situation (down 9, 10, or 11), I always think the team should kick the field goal right away. If you go for the touchdown first, it’s too tempting to make plays that burn up clock; there’s not enough urgency. Indeed, the Buffalos completed a few small clock-eating passes but only got to the Dolphins 11, where they settled for a field goal anyway. They ran off another 50 seconds in the meantime. Instead of kicking off with two timeouts and the two minute warning in play, they kicked off with only 1:22 to go.
Clearly the Buffalos had to go onside again, and this time they failed. They did manage to get the ball back, but with 20 seconds remaining deep in their own end. Even if they had scored the TD before, they wouldn’t have had time to get in field goal range. Game over, with the Buffalos on the fast track to last place.