Dolphins vs. Bills score, takeaways: Miami survives Josh Allen-led Buffalo, 'butt punt' to remain undefeated
Miami's defense made several clutch stops in the second half
Two things were made evident during the Dolphins' 21-19 win over the Bills on Sunday. Buffalo's offense is capable of being stopped, and Miami is a legitimate threat to make noise in the AFC playoffs under first-year head coach Mike McDaniel.
Miami pulled out the win after Melvin Ingram and Emmanuel Ogbah tackled Isaiah McKenzie in bounds on the game's final play. The Bills then tried in vein to spike the ball before ultimately running out of time.
Buffalo had one last chance at a game-winning drive after Thomas Morstead's punt was deflected in the end zone after hitting the backside of teammate Trent Sherfield, resulting in a safety. But Dolphins' defense was able to stop Josh Allen and the Bills' offense on their final drive to move to 3-0 on the season. The Bills are now 2-1 after dropping their first game of the 2022 campaign.
Ahead 17-14, the Bills were unable to extend their lead after Tyler Bass missed a 38-yard field goal attempt a minute into the fourth quarter. Tua Tagovailoa quickly responded by hitting Jaylen Waddle for gains of 32 and 45 yards (the second completion coming on a 3rd-and-22 play) to set up Chase Edmonds' game-winning score. Miami's defense then forced a turnover on downs late in the game before Buffalo's offense ran out of time on its final drive.
The teams played to a 14-14 tie after one half. It was a big first half for Allen, who went a perfect 6 of 6 on Buffalo's first drive that included his two-yard touchdown pass to Devin Singletary on fourth-and-goal. Allen's second touchdown pass of the half -- an eight-yard touchdown pass to McKenzie -- gave Buffalo a 14-7 lead three minutes into the second quarter. Allen finished the game with 400 yards on 42 of 63 passing. He was sacked four times while enduring several big hits throughout the corse of the game.
Miami's defense set up the Dolphins' first score when Ingram scooped up Jevon Holland's strip-sack of Allen. Edmonds tied the score with a one-yard touchdown run four plays later. Miami drove 83 yards on nine plays on its ensuing drive that was punctuated by Tagovailoa's 11-yard, game-tying strike to River Cracraft. The Bills scored the only points of the third quarter on Bass' 30-yard field goal to cap off a 20-play, 87-yard drive. The Dolphins countered with Edmunds' game-winning score in the fourth quarter.
Tagovailoa left the game near the end of the first half when he was hit by Bills linebacker Matt Milano and landed on his back, but returned at the start of the second half.
Here's a closer look at what transpired in Miami.
Why the Dolphins won
The Dolphins' defense came up with several big second half stops while holding Buffalo's offense to just three points during the game's final 30 minutes. Ingram recorded two sacks along with his fumble recovery. Holland added 1.5 sacks to the cause that included his strip-sack that led to Miami's first touchdown.
On offense, Tagovailoa continued to strengthen his rapport with Waddle, who went over 100 yards receiving for the second time in as many games. While he didn't light up the scoreboard, Tagovailoa took care of the ball while completing 13 of his 18 passes. Miami struggled to run the ball, however, as they finished with just 41 yards on 17 carries.
Why the Bills lost
Buffalo's defense played relatively well, especially given the fact that they were without safeties Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde. But their lack of depth in the secondary reared its ugly head on Miami's two big completions from Tua to Waddle on Miami's game-winning drive. Buffalo's defense did not receive much help from an offense that was just 2 of 4 in the red zone. The Bills lost despite piling up 31 first downs and piling up 497 total yards to Miami's 212.
The Bills were in control of the game as the fourth quarter started. But a missed field goal by Tyler Bass appeared to give the Dolphins life. One play after the miss, Tagovailoa hit Waddle downfield for 32 yards. He then hit Waddle for 45 yards to set up Edmunds' score.
Play of the game
While it was more of a mistake on McKenzie's part, kudos to Ingram and Ogbah for tackling the Bills' wideout in bounds while preserving the win.
"I'm doing good. We'll go get those checked, but for the most part, it feels good, especially after a win." -- Tagovailoa to CBS Sports after the game when asked about his head and lower back. Tagovailoa missed the end of the first half after taking a late hit from Bills linebacker Matt Milano.
Miami has a short week before traveling to Cincinnati take on the Bengals. The Bengals got their first win of the season Sunday after defeating the Jets in New York. Buffalo will head to Baltimore next Sunday to face the Ravens in a rematch of the Bills' 17-3 win over Baltimore in the divisional round of the 2020 playoffs. Baltimore improved to 2-1 on Sunday after defeating the Patriots in Foxboro.
Tune in to our post-game press conference with Head Coach Mike McDaniel and players following our win over Buffalo. ⤵️— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 25, 2022
PULSE CHECK, DOLFANS?!?!— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 25, 2022
DOLPHINS WIN. DOLPHINS WIN. DOLPHINS WIN.— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 25, 2022
Allen throws up a prayer on first down as the Dolphins brought the rush. Bills are about 20-25 yards away from FG range.
Holland with a nice hit on Diggs to pry the ball out on first down.
So the Dolphins' punt deflected off of Trent Sherfield's behind and out of the end zone. So the Dolphins are now kicking off to the Bills with their lead trimmed to 21-19.
Bills force a punt as the Dolphins are only able to milk nine seconds off the clock.
Allen throws incomplete and the Dolphins take over with 1:46 left. Bills still have two timeouts, so the game is far from over.
Xavien Howard breaks up Allen's pass for Diggs in the end zone on third-and-goal.
DOLPHINS GET THE STOP ON 4TH DOWN.— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 25, 2022
Jerome Baker with a crushing hit on Josh Allen on second-and-goal. Miami uses their final timeout with 1:55 left.
Josh Allen appreciation tweet.— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) September 25, 2022
Clutch completion from Josh Allen to Singletary on the run for 22 yards. It's been a choppy half for the Bills' offense but they've made enough plays to give them a chance here with seven minutes left.
Josh Allen loses his cool and rips off Christian Wilkins' helmet off as they were getting off the ground. Allen has had a few fiery moments today including throwing his helmet at the end of the first half.
Injury Update | Elandon Roberts has a quad injury and is questionable to return.— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 25, 2022
Chase Edmunds scores the go-ahead touchdown as Miami takes its first lead. Big plays on the drive were Tua's 32 and 45-yard completions to Jaylen Waddle. Waddle has 102 yards now on four catches.