Bills still stung by memories of last loss to Dolphins
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Putting a big dent in the Miami Dolphins' playoff chances is motivation enough for the Buffalo Bills.
But that's not all.
Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman are among numerous Bills players having a few other scores to settle when the AFC East rivals meet Saturday.
For Dareus, it's the memory of being sidelined and helplessly watching Jay Ajayi gain 214 yards rushing in the Dolphins' 28-25 win at Miami on Oct. 23.
''It was one of the more painful games for me to watch,'' Dareus said.
As for Robey-Coleman, his eyes light up when reminded of Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry's crackback block to the head that ended safety Aaron Williams' season and potentially his career.
''Yeah, I have my own reaction to it. But I'm going to keep it to myself,'' Robey Coleman said of Landry who was flagged on and fined by the NFL. ''As far as the game, we've got to come out and stay focused.''
At 7-7, the Bills' playoff chances are minuscule, but they're still mathematically in the hunt for the AFC's final wild-card berth.
The Dolphins (9-5) can clinch their first playoff spot since 2008 with a win and Denver loss or tie against Kansas City on Sunday.
If there's any lingering bad blood, the Dolphins aren't letting on regardless of the various subplots.
So forget the Dolphins having lost four straight at Buffalo, and there's no point bringing up the weather, with a mix of snow and rain in the forecast.
''The weather is a silly comment that a lot of people make a lot of big fuss about,'' defensive end Cameron Wake said. ''It's hot down here. It's cold up there. It rains. Sometimes it doesn't. Do your job.''
The Dolphins have won eight of nine since opening the season 1-4.
They'll have to continue rolling with veteran backup Matt Moore making his second consecutive start in place of Ryan Tannehill (strained left knee). Moore went 12 of 18 for 236 yards and a career-best four touchdowns in a 34-13 win over the Jets last weekend .
Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen compared Moore to Matt Hasselbeck, who had an accomplished 17-year career as a starter and backup.
''He has won big games. He's got a magnetic personality and he's kind of a live wire,'' said Christensen, who coached Hasselbeck in Indianapolis. ''Hasselbeck had those same traits. I think they're great quality backups, but they're starters in many senses of the word.''
Other observations for Saturday's game:
MOORE MEMORIES: The win over New York was Moore's first start since Jan. 1, 2012, when he led Miami to a 19-17 win over the Rex Ryan-coached Jets.
Ryan hasn't forgotten.
''He may throw it better than Tannehill does, the deep ball,'' Ryan said.
DOLPHINS ON THE RUN: Ajayi's production has dropped since last facing Buffalo, when he also combined for 529 yards rushing and four touchdowns over a three-game stretch. In his past six, the second-year player has 361 yards rushing and scored once.
Coach Adam Gase doesn't want Ajayi to change anything, attributing the drop in production to defenses keying on stopping the run. He expects the same against Buffalo.
Bills defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman can attest to that.
''It's always embarrassing to give up over 200 yards to anybody,'' Thurman said. ''We can't take it back. We have to go out this Saturday and reverse it.''
BILLS ON THE RUN: LeSean McCoy has essentially carried the Bills' offense, with his 1,462 yards from scrimmage representing 30 percent of Buffalo's output. A sore left hamstring limited McCoy to 11 yards rushing and playing just one half against Miami in October. He's fully recovered and had a season-best 153 yards rushing and scored twice in a 33-13 win over Cleveland last weekend.
''I can't wait to get out there and perform,'' McCoy said.
He faces a defense that has allowed 139.2 yards rushing in its past five outings.
MARIO'S EXES: Dolphins defensive end Mario Williams has not given any thought to traveling to Buffalo for the first time since being released by the Bills in March.
''You're asking me this question right now during football season?'' Williams said. ''It's like, you know, `How many ex-girlfriends have you had?' Are you going to tell your girlfriend that? `Yeah, I miss that girl. I miss this girl.' Come on, man.''
TV TIME: Though Williams publicly questioned Ryan's defensive system last year, the Bills coach said he had no issues with the defensive end last season.
''I like Mario. I thought he was a really good guy,'' Ryan said, noting Williams purchased TVs for each of his defensive line teammates.
Asked if he got one, Ryan smiled and said: ''I think his position coaches did, if I'm not mistaken. But I don't get anything from anybody. A chunk of coal, I think.''
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