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Dolphins' playoff hopes dwindling after loss to Bills

Miami's shrinking playoff hopes are on the brink.

Instead of taking care of business on the road against a flawed Bills team, the Dolphins cratered hard on both sides of the ball in Sunday's 19-0 loss to Buffalo.

In the franchise's biggest game in five years, Miami looked less like a postseason threat and more like a team -- just swept by the Bills -- with plenty of work to do in the offseason.

Here's what else we learned from this AFC East showdown:

  1. The tone was established immediately. Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins came out of the gate like a corpse, starting 0 for 5 on third downs before going into halftime with just 56 yards on offense, compared to 205 from the Bills. The team that beat the New England Patriots last week must have missed the plane.
  1. Buffalo's pass rush was dominant. The Bills racked up seven sacks and 10 quarterback hits to set a single-season franchise record with 56 takedowns on the year. Buffalo was especially effective raiding Tannehill on third down. In a huge spot, Miami's overwhelmed offensive line shriveled up.
  1. Thad Lewis started ugly, overthrowing targets and missing color-by-numbers dump-offs to a thin cast of wideouts. The Bills quarterback grew more comfortable as the game went along, but a better team could have buried Miami early. It's either good or bad news for Bills fans that Lewis, to the naked eye, can do anything EJ Manuel can do.
  1. Bills rookie pass-catcher Robert Woods was ejected for throwing a punch at Dolphins safety Reshad Jones. With Stevie Johnson inactive and Marquise Goodwin lost to a knee injury, Lewis was left tossing the ball to Chris Hogan and Scott Chandler.
  1. Fred Jackson -- with 111 rushing yards at 5.8 yards per clip -- doesn't get enough credit. The Buffalo back wore down the Dolphins and looked worlds better than Miami's Lamar Miller and the plodding Daniel Thomas, who combined for 14 yards on the day and don't look like the answer going forward.
  1. The Dolphins can still make the playoffs if the Baltimore Ravens lose out and a variety of other switches are flipped, but let's pump the brakes on Miami. They looked nothing like a playoff team Sunday.

We preview every Week 16 game in the latest "Around The League Podcast."

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