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May 19, 2024

Bills Complete Thrilling 4th Quarter Comeback to Beat Dolphins, Claim AFC East Crown

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Jan 8, 2024

The Buffalo Bills pulled off a thrilling comeback victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night to claim their fourth straight AFC East division title. In a game with major playoff seeding implications, the Bills erased a 14-6 4th quarter deficit with back-to-back touchdowns to shock the Dolphins 21-14.

Back-and-Forth Battle Early

The game started as a defensive struggle, with both offenses sputtering. The Dolphins got on the board first with a field goal in the 2nd quarter to take a 3-0 lead. The Bills responded with two field goals of their own to grab a 6-3 advantage heading into halftime.

It looked like Buffalo was poised to pull away early in the 3rd quarter when they drove deep into Miami territory. But Dolphins safety Eric Rowe came up with a goal line interception of Josh Allen to swing momentum back in Miami’s favor. The Dolphins capitalized on the next drive, with Tua Tagovailoa finding Jaylen Waddle for a 13-yard touchdown to give Miami a 10-6 lead.

Late in the 3rd quarter, another long Dolphins drive resulted in a Jeff Wilson Jr. 1-yard touchdown plunge. Miami extended their lead to 14-6 early in the 4th and the Bills’ offense continued to stall.

All Come Crashing Down in Final Minutes for Miami

With under six minutes remaining and trailing by 8, the Bills were facing a critical 4th and 2 at midfield. In danger of losing control of the division, Allen dropped back and found tight end Dawson Knox wide open across the middle for a 42-yard catch and run that kept Buffalo’s hopes alive.

| Bills – Dolphins Box Score | |
| ————- |:————-:|
| Passing | Cmp/Att | Yds | TDs | Ints |
| J. Allen (BUF) | 20/35 | 223 | 0 | 1 |
| T. Tagovailoa (MIA) | 18/29 | 170 | 1 | 0 |

A few plays later, running back Devin Singletary weaved his way through the Dolphins defense for the game-tying touchdown. The Miami crowd was stunned into silence as Buffalo tied it at 14 with just over two minutes remaining.

The Bills defense then forced a three-and-out to get the ball right back in Allen’s hands with a chance to win it. The superstar QB managed the clock masterfully, setting up Tyler Bass’ game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired to send Bills Mafia into raptures. Josh Allen collapsed on the field in relief and elation after leading another vintage comeback.

With the win, Buffalo claimed their fourth straight division crown and the crucial #2 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Dolphins will still make the postseason, but fall all the way down to the #6 seed after entering Week 18 with control of the AFC East. It was a heartbreaking collapse that now sends Miami on the road for a much tougher Wild Card game.

What’s Next for the AFC Contenders?

The Bills and QB Josh Allen once again proved why they are top Super Bowl favorites in the AFC. They will host the Miami Dolphins in the Wild Card round next weekend. Despite beating Miami twice in the regular season, Buffalo knows not to overlook them with playoff newcomer Tua Tagovailoa guiding a dynamic Dolphins offense. Still, earning home field advantage was critical for the Bills to avoid a tough road environment.

Miami now must quickly regroup from their late game debacle as they head on the road to face a feisty Justin Herbert and the dangerous Los Angeles Chargers. The Dolphins had won 8 of their last 9 games heading into Sunday night and still feature an explosive attack led by receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. But if questions remain about young QB Tua Tagovailoa’s ability to perform in high-leverage games, this crushing loss could linger into the playoffs.

Deeper Dive Into Box Score Numbers

While the final score shows a close game, a look deeper into the box score numbers reveals Buffalo’s dominance throughout the contest:

Team Stats Bills Dolphins
1st Downs 17 15
Total Yards 319 230
Rushing Yards 96 52
Time of Possession 32:43 27:17

The Bills outgained Miami in total yards, earned more first downs, doubled up Miami’s rushing output, and controlled the time of possession. If not for critical red zone failures, Buffalo likely wins this game going away.

On an individual level, Josh Allen relied on his rushing ability and legs more than his arm to move Buffalo’s offense. Allen racked up 77 yards on the ground, consistently creating plays outside of structure with his mobility. Devin Singletary added a workmanlike 63 yards rushing.

Dawson Knox also came alive after a quiet game to deliver the key 4th down conversion that kept Buffalo alive. He and Stefon Diggs (7 catches for 114 yards) were Allen’s top targets.

For Miami, Jeff Wilson Jr. powered the ground game with 50 yards rushing and the critical 4th quarter touchdown. Jaylen Waddle led the receiving group with 7 grabs for 78 yards and a score, while Tyreek Hill was surprisingly limited to just 47 yards on 4 catches. The Bills secondary held Miami’s elite receivers largely in check all night.

Conclusion & What This Means Moving Forward

In primetime and with the division crown on the line, Buffalo once again relied on their experience and mental toughness to stun a young Dolphins group when it mattered most. Josh Allen adds another signature 4th quarter comeback drive to further cement his status among the league’s elite QBs.

Meanwhile, doubts will continue to linger about Tua Tagovailoa’s ability to perform under pressure and lift Miami’s offense to new heights. The Bills pass defense also provided a blueprint for slowing down Miami’s passing attack that other playoff teams will surely study.

While heartbreaking for Dolphins fans, the outlook remains bright in Miami with a stacked roster of young talent locked up long-term. But Baltimore now jumps Miami for the valuable #5 seed based on tiebreakers. So after entering Week 18 controlling their own destiny for the division title and home playoff game, the Dolphins now face a much tougher road to an AFC Championship Game appearance.

As for the Bills, they are as dangerous and resilient as any team remaining in the AFC. With home field advantage secured, an MVP-candidate quarterback, and memories of last year’s crushing playoff exit fueling them – Buffalo has their sights clearly set on Super Bowl glory. But nothing is given in the NFL playoffs and danger lurks in every matchup. Can the Bills avoid the upset bug that bit them last year against Kansas City? Will Josh Allen continue his brilliance in prime postseason games? The road to the Super Bowl begins next weekend, with Buffalo looking primed to defend their AFC crown.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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