Dolphins' McDaniel: Costly delay of game due to mistaken belief we had 1st down
A delay-of-game penalty on a critical fourth-and-1 play in the final minutes proved particularly damaging. Miami failed to convert after being pushed back 5 yards, allowing Buffalo to take over and run out the clock to seal the 34-31 win.
Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said postgame that his staff upstairs told him they'd earned a first down on the previous play, which led to the substitutions and a delayed new play call for the fourth-down attempt, according to Marcel Louis-Jacques of ESPN.
Miami had already used multiple timeouts to avoid being flagged for not getting the snap off in time earlier in the second half.
"It will be a point of emphasis in the offseason," said McDaniel, according to Yianni Kourakis of WPBF 25 News. "There were some compounding variables - crowd noise, issues in (the) huddle with communication and getting to (the) line of scrimmage, and the excuse of multiple … people in (the) huddle."
The Dolphins started rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson since Tua Tagovailoa was out due to a concussion and Teddy Bridgewater was only healthy enough to suit up as a backup after suffering a finger injury.
Thompson - who finished with 220 yards and one touchdown to two interceptions on 45 attempts - said he was to blame for the procedural issues on the offense.
"I felt like our operation, in general, today struggled at times," he said. "I'll take full responsibility for it."
After losing five straight games entering Week 18, the Dolphins secured the final AFC wild-card berth in McDaniel's first season in charge by beating the New York Jets.
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