Bills vs. Dolphins score, takeaways: Josh Allen leads Buffalo to comeback victory, another postseason berth

On a night where the Buffalo Bills needed Josh Allen to deliver an MVP-caliber performance, Allen gave Buffalo one of his best games of his career — in weather conditions that make a quarterback the stuff of legend. Allen led the Bills on a 86-yard drive with 5:56 to play that resulted in a game-winning Tyler Bass field goal with no time left on the clock to give the Bills a thrilling 32-29 victory over the Miami Dolphins on a snowy, frigid Saturday night in Orchard Park. 

Allen, who finished with four passing touchdowns on the night, went 4 of 5 for 40 yards on the final drive to lead the Bills to victory. The Bills quarterback also threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Knox in the fourth quarter to make the score 29-27 then just broke the plane on the conversion attempt to tie the game at 29-29 with 9:02 left. 

Allen finished 25 of 40 for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the win, all in freeing temperatures as Buffalo clinched a playoff berth for the fourth consecutive year. The victory pulls Buffalo within one win of the AFC East title and a guaranteed home game in the playoffs. Allen also rushed for 77 yards. 

The Dolphins gave the Bills all they could handle, as Tua Tagovailoa finished 17 of 30 for 234 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. Miami took the lead in the third quarter on a Tagovailoa pass to Tyreek Hill to put the Dolphins up 26-21 with 2:30 remaining. Hill finished with nine catches for 69 yards and a touchdown in the contest and Raheem Mostert rushed for 136 yards. The Dolphins fall three games behind the Bills in the AFC East race and are a half game up on the final playoff spot in the AFC. 

Here’s a breakdown of what transpired on a snowy night in Buffalo.

Why the Bills won

Give it up to Josh Allen, who showed up when it mattered most in the fourth quarter. Allen was brilliant all game with his four touchdown passes, but he went 5 of 7 for 45 yards in the fourth quarter while running five times for 47 yards — and converting a two-point conversion to tie the game at 29-29 with 9:02 to play. 

Allen went 4 of 5 for 40 yards on the final drive to boot, finishing his night with 304 passing yards and 77 rushing yards. Allen had his third game with 300 passing yards and 75 rushing yards, tying Michael Vick and Russell Wilson for the most such performances in NFL history. 

Why the Dolphins lost

The Dolphins just couldn’t keep up with the Bills in the track meet when the snow was coming down. Buffalo run 22 plays on their final two possessions and gained 161 yards (scoring 11 points) while Miami ran 10 plays for 50 yards and scored three points.

The Dolphins defense just couldn’t get a stop and get off the field, a recurring problem for Miami all year. Tua Tagovailoa can’t be blamed for this loss, as he finished 17 of 30 for 234 yards with two touchdowns and a 104.0 passer rating. 

Turning point

On a first-and-10 from the Bills’ own 43-yard line, Josh Allen called his own number and took off for 44 yards — going out of bounds at the Dolphins’ 13-yard line right before the snow came down. 

Allen had his longest run of the game and followed up that play with a 5-yard run that drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a late hit out of bounds. The Bills scored three plays later on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Dawson Knox to set Allen up for his two-point conversion run that tied the game at 29-29. 

While Allen’s arm stole the show, his legs provided some key plays in this one as well. 

Play of the game

Allen’s touchdown pass to James Cook with no time remaining in the first half catapulted the Bills, which arguably ended up being the difference late in the game. Instead of taking three points before the half and throwing the ball away, Allen’s gamble to buy time and throw to the end zone paid off.

Allen rolled to his right after spending too much time in the pocket, appearing to make a terrible decision. He bought enough time to direct Cook and threw a rope to the running back in the end zone for a touchdown with no time remaining in the half that put the Bills up 21-13.

Without that touchdown, the Bills probably lose the game. That touchdown throw can’t be overlooked. 

The quote

“This is nothing. I wish it was colder. I wish it was colder. I played in Wyoming for 3.5 years. This is my fifth year here. This is second nature now baby.” — Josh Allen on playing in the snow and cold in Buffalo to NFL Network after the game.

Allen is now 5-1 in his career in games with freeing temperatures, having 17 total touchdowns in those games. 

Up next

The Bills (11-3) can clinch the AFC East with a win over the Chicago Bears (3-10) next Saturday while the Dolphins face the Green Bay Packers (5-8) on Christmas Day. 

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