Allen leads the comeback as the Bills clinch a playoff berth

ORCHARD PARK, New York — On the second play of the Buffalo Bills’ game-winning campaign against the Miami Dolphins, the offense pulled back thanks to a sack on quarterback Josh Allen.

Facing second-and-18 at their own 13-yard line, the Bills needed to make some big plays or force a pass to the Dolphins with limited time left but would likely be in good field position with the score tied. Instead, Allen connected with wide receiver Gabe Davis on a 15-yard pass, and the Bills offense drove deep down the field, taking all the remaining five minutes, 56 seconds off the clock on a 15-play, 65-yard drive.

Aided by a defensive tackle call on Miami Zone’s third down, the game came to a 25-yard field goal attempt, which Tyler Bass kicked through the uprights after Bills players helped dust a spot in the snow for him.

The kick sealed a 32-29 win over the Dolphins, and a fourth consecutive season with a playoff appearance for the title-hopping Bills. It also gave Buffalo its third consecutive campaign with 11 wins, the second-longest streak in franchise history (four in a row from 1990 to 1993). The festivities began with Bass and several players sliding onto the ice to celebrate.

“It took everything we had to pull this off tonight,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “It makes it special…. Like I said, humility. Really, that’s how I feel about it. I’m humbled to be a part of this great city that honestly doesn’t get a lot of the credit it deserves. And the fans mean this place is one of a kind.” .So just wow. wow.”

With an eight-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Bills tied the score on their second-to-last drive, thanks in large part to a 44-yard run by Allen on a quarterback tie that put Buffalo inside the Dolphins’ 20. Allen likened the way he ran to Forrest Gump, the way he raised his knees and continued full speed forward.

Allen’s long run was the highlight of the Bills’ rushing offense that was activated in the fourth quarter. They ran for 99 yards in the final 15 minutes after rushing for 51 yards in the first three quarters combined. Allen finished with a team best 77 yards on 10 carries, and also threw four touchdown passes, all of which went to running backs and tight ends, including a 5-yard scoring pass to tight Dawson Knox on the game-tying drive. Then Allen moved on to the ensuing two-point conversion.

“He does plays that I haven’t seen before. Sometimes you turn into a fan while he’s watching,” Knox said. “Unfortunately, I was so under 300 by 3-pound tech on that play that he hit the ball at the two points, so I didn’t see it until we saw the JumboTron. But I’ve talked about it before. It’s not surprising at this point. You’re just like, oh, There’s Josh turning into Josh again. He’s the best quarterback in the league, the best football player in the league. So any time you run him on your team, you get a chance to win.”

The Bills led 21-13 at halftime, but all three stages of their game were undone in the third quarter. The offense ran on four consecutive possessions, the defense gave up two rushing touchdowns, and the special teams extended a Dolphins drive thanks to a hard penalty on defensive back Cam Lewis.

But as the fourth quarter snowed, things came together for the Bills. After an Allen fumble, the Dolphins defense held a field goal, and Buffalo’s offense put up the consecutive scoring drive to seal the game.

“Almost as if everything was supposed to happen, right?” Bills safety Jordan Boyer said about the timing of the snowfall. “We didn’t see much snow. We thought we were going to see a lot more snow than we did. But yeah, Josh comes down, reduces the offense and scores, and the snow starts falling. It was kind of surreal. It was a fun, fun atmosphere though.”

The Bills remained atop the AFC with an 11-3 record, with games remaining against the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots. But the sights are now determined to host many games at Orchard Park.

“That’s the No. 1 thing that Coach McDermott preaches, and he’s a playoff hitter; you can’t win a Super Bowl unless you make the playoffs,” Allen said. “So that’s Goal No. 1. Goal No. 2 now is to clinch the division. That’s the way we’re going to take it. We’re going to take it one game at a time. Be ready for next week.”

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