ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - The Miami Dolphins are so terrible that even division-rival Buffalo is starting to feel bad for them.

Safety Donte Whitner, of course, saved his sympathy until after the Bills completed a 38-17 rout of Miami yesterday.

"I was talking to Booker out there, and he was saying, 'Man, I don't know what it feels like to win in this league, yet,' " Whitner said, referring to Dolphins rookie running back Lorenzo Booker. "And I said, 'You know, don't stress over it . . . Things are going to get better.' "

There once was a time when Miami could at least keep scores respectable, losing six times by three points. The Dolphins (0-13), coming off a 40-13 loss to the Jets last weekend, can't even do that now and have moved within one loss of matching the NFL record for worst start to a season.

And they might become the first team to go winless in a 16-game campaign, surpassing Tampa Bay's 0-14 record as an expansion team in 1976.

"They're all frustrating. And they all weigh on you more and more," Miami defensive end Jason Taylor said. "You lost another game. You wish it was the other way around."

The Bills (7-6) won for the sixth time in eight games to stay in the AFC playoff hunt. They can now look to a critical outing at Cleveland next weekend.

The Dolphins began unraveling before the snow started falling and the field became slick before halftime. The game was effectively over when Buffalo took advantage of two turnovers and three sacks to build a 24-7 lead by the end of the first quarter.

The 24 points were the most scored by the Bills in the first quarter since putting up 28 against Atlanta on Nov. 22, 1992. *