The Bills clinch a playoff berth as Josh Allen beat the Dolphins

ORCHARD PARK, NY — As the Miami Dolphins’ offense found life in the third quarter on Saturday night, their AFC East showdown against the Buffalo Bills appeared headed for the abyss as the expected blizzard approached.

A defensive interference call put the Bills up at the Dolphins 13 with 45 seconds left, and Tyler Bass converted a 25-yard field goal as Buffalo cruised to a 32–29 victory to clinch a playoff berth.

Josh Allen threw three touchdown passes in the first half to put Buffalo up 21-13, but Tua Tagovailoa caught two TD passes, including a 67-yarder to Jaylen Waddle, in the third quarter as Miami took a 26-21 lead to set up the game. wild end.

Buffalo bills

With under six minutes remaining, the Bills needed a drive. The offense struggled for nearly the entire second half outside of a single touchdown drive. But as it started to snow seriously at Highmark Stadium, Allen led the Bills downfield on a drive that turned everything off the clock and gave Buffalo the win and a playoff berth.

The 15-play, 65-yard drive that ended the game was the Bills’ longest in terms of plays and didn’t give the Miami offense a chance to respond.

The win was far from perfect, with four third-quarter punts and errors allowing the Dolphins to take the lead, but so was the ability of the flailing offense to put together two scoring drives in the fourth quarter, thanks to Allen’s arms and legs. , this proved sufficient. Allen finished with 304 yards passing and four TDs, and rushed for a team-high 77 yards.

Describe the game in two words: comma separator. The Bills have always set their sights on the big things this season, and while the effort was far from perfect in all three, they did enough to clinch a spot in the postseason, thanks in large part to a faltering fourth-quarter running game featuring 99ers. yard.

The worrying trend: Lost tackles and running defense. Those two together. Buffalo’s defense seemed to have solved most of its running problems, allowing less than 100 yards on the ground in each of its past four games entering the meeting with the Dolphins.

But Miami was committed to starting the running game and had success with it, in part because of a slew of missed tackles. The Dolphins rushed for 188 yards, for an average of 7.5 yards per carry. Explosive play on the ground and missed opportunities went a long way to the Dolphins’ success in the second half.

promising developmentAllen’s four passing touchdowns went to running backs and tight ends for most of his career. The Bills haven’t consistently incorporated running back Nyheim Hines into offense since trading for him at deadline, and tight end Dawson Knox has had his receiver role diminished this season. Against the Dolphins, they both received touchdowns—tight end Quentin Morris and running back James Cook had the other two. Knox exploded for 98 yards on six receptions and was a vital part of the passing offense. Engaging untapped players is an important step for this offense. – Alaina Getzenberg

Under the Radar stats that matter: Allen has now thrown several touchdowns in all 10 games he has played against the Dolphins. Only Tom Brady (22) has more games with more assists against the Dolphins all time.

Next game: at Bears (1 p.m., ET, Sunday, Dec. 25)

Miami Dolphin

After two lackluster losses to the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers, Miami’s offense was finally looking up, but it wasn’t enough as the Dolphins lost their third in a row.

It was Miami’s rushing offense that kept them in the game in the first half, and it was the game’s great passing game ability that put the Dolphins ahead in the second half.

But it came down to who had the ball in the end, and Allen made it happen.

QB Breakdown: Tagovailoa has historically struggled in cold weather games, but has been a driving force in the Dolphins’ comeback bid.

In the coldest heat he’s ever played, Tagovailoa came off a string of poor play, took his checking action and tackled the Bills’ defense. After a terrible performance against the Chargers in Week 14, this game marked the rise of the Dolphins’ average quarterback, and his efficiency didn’t slow down once the fourth quarter began to snow. On Miami’s first drive after it started snowing, Hill hit a 13-yard touchdown run before throwing a 21-yard pass to Cedric Wilson.

Describe the game in two words: Broken narrative. The outside expectation going into the game was that Miami would struggle in cold, snowy Western New York. But the Dolphins’ 405-yard offense Saturday night proved it could get stuck in a cold-weather environment — which was a crucial hurdle for the Ascent, considering they likely would travel north if they made the playoffs.

Promising sign: The Dolphins’ running game was essentially nonexistent during their losses to the Chargers and 49ers, with a total of 125 yards — 28 of which came from Tagovailoa in Week 14. But Mostert broke the 100-yard mark in the first quarter thanks to a 64-yard rush, the Dolphins’ longest in the game. season. In the NFL Next Gen Stats, Mostert ran for 52 yards above expectations, while Salvon Ahmed added 43 yards on six carries in place of an injured Jeff Wilson. – Marcel Louis Jacques

Under-the-radar stats that matter: Mostert is the first Dolphins player in the past 45 seasons to rush for 100 yards in the first quarter of a game.

Next game: At Beers (1 p.m. ET, Sat. Dec. 24)

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