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Inconsistencies catch up to Dolphins in loss to Bills

December 18, 2017

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler (6) recovers the ball as Buffalo Bills' Adolphus Washington (92) and Ryan Davis (56) close in during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Rich Barnes)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Jay Cutler couldn’t escape questions over the Miami Dolphins inconsistencies on offense all season long.

The quarterback was busy confronting them again following a 24-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday that dropped the Dolphins to 6-8 and all but mathematically ended their already slim playoff hopes.

Six days after Cutler threw three touchdown passes in a 27-20 win over New England to enjoy one of his best outings with the Dolphins this season, the 12th-year player was busy trying to explain the three interceptions he threw against Buffalo.

“I’m not going to make excuses for the way I’ve played or the three turnovers. I’m responsible for all three of them no matter what the situation was,” Cutler said.

“We’ve talked about inconsistencies all year,” he added. “When we win, we do a lot of good things right. And when we lose, wo do things like that.”

Cutler’s outing mirrored that of a Dolphins season in which the team followed a 4-2 start with a five-game skid. Then, after winning the past two, Miami endured a familiar meltdown on offense and defense.

The Cutler-led offense settled for field goals on its only two drives into Buffalo territory in the first half in a game Miami never led.

Down 21-6, Cutler then threw two interceptions on the first two drives of the second half. Then, after punter Matt Haack recovered an onside kick at Miami’s 37 with 28 seconds left, Cutler volleyed a pass that was easily intercepted by Tre’Davious White to seal Buffalo’s win.

Running back Kenyan Drake scored Miami’s lone touchdown on a 1-yard run.

“It hurts,” offensive tackle Jesse Davis said. “We put ourselves in some bad spots. Got in the red zone twice in and should’ve capitalized on that, so that’s our own fault.”

Miami’s defense endured its share of inconsistencies as well.

After holding its past two opponents to converting just 1 of 24 third-down attempts, Miami allowed Buffalo to convert 7 of 15. That included two on the Bills opening drive, which running back LeSean McCoy capped with a 4-yard run.

“We just made too many mistakes. We allowed them to move the ball, especially early, give them their momentum and we can’t allow teams to do that,” defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. “We’ve got to be able to get off the field.”

McCoy scored twice, including a 16-yard catch, and with 50 yards rushing became the 30th player to top 10,000 yards.

Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor finished 17 of 29 for 224 yards passing, and also had 42 yards rushing, including a 9-yard touchdown run.

The Dolphins have had little go right for them since starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sidelined by a right knee injury in August, leading to Cutler being signed. They were also playing their 14th consecutive game after Miami’s opener was postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

“Yeah, I’ll think about that later,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase said when asked about the past.

Cutler’s inconsistencies are well-documented.

He’s never gone more than two games without throwing an interception. And Cutler has had back-to-back interception-free outings just six times — and none since Weeks 2 and 3 of the 2014 season when he was in Chicago.

This year, Cutler has 18 touchdowns versus 14 interceptions and been picked off at least once in nine of 12 games.

“Good teams find ways to do it game in and game out,” Cutler said. “The young teams and the teams that are struggling to figure it out, they’re going to have to have ups and downs.”

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