The Miami Dolphins had this game in their hands. Then the snow began to fall.
The AFC-leading Buffalo Bills (11-3) overcame an eight-point deficit with Josh Allen overseeing scoring drives on the final two possessions, capped by Tyler Bass hitting a 25-yard field goal as time expired to propel Buffalo to a 32-29 victory Saturday night.
The loss is arguably the most challenging loss for the Dolphins.
The Dolphins return home after a three-game road trip with three losses.
The Bills wrapped up their fourth consecutive playoff berth and fifth in six seasons under head coach Sean McDermott.
Allen threw a 5-yard pass to Dawson Knox, and the quarterback then leaped over the line for a 2-point conversion to tie it to 29 with 9:02 left. Allen lost control of the ball, but a replay review showed he crossed the goal line before fumbling.
Allen then oversaw a 15-play, 86-yard drive that ate up the final 5:56 to set up Bass’ field goal.
Allen finished 25 of 40 for 304 yards and matched a career-best with four touchdowns passing. Nyheim Hynes, Quintin Morris, and James Cook each had TD catches.
Allen threw four touchdown passes to increase his career total to 171 (including one receiving), and tie former Miami quarterback Dan Marino for the most by an NFL player in the first five seasons of his career.
The Dolphins (8-6) entered the weekend in second place and as the AFC’s sixth seed. They’ve now lost three in a row in their bid to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2016.
Tagovailoa finished 17 of 30 for 234 yards and two touchdowns, including a 67-yarder to Jaylen Waddle.
The Dolphins running game was impressive; Raheem Mostert finished with 136 yards rushing, while backup Salvon Ahmed ran for 43 yards, including an 11-yard TD.
Despite the loss, the Dolphins’ offense showed signs of rediscovering its groove. After combining for 527 yards offense in losing to San Francisco and the Los Angeles Chargers on consecutive weekends on the West Coast, Miami finished with 405 yards against a Buffalo defense that entered the weekend ranked ninth in the NFL in yards allowed.
There are no moral victories; however, the Dolphins did play well despite the loss. They were close to a monumental win of beating the Bills twice this season. They will likely have to win all three games to make the playoffs.
Mike McDaniels is aggressive with his play calling, and it showed going for the two-point conversion early in the game when the analytics show they did not have to go for it. If they converted, it would be a different topic; however, an extra point would have sufficed. The Dolphins passing game has been impressive this season; however, in the conditions they were playing in, running the ball would have benefited from having an eight-point lead.
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle have shattered the duo receiving records; Tagovailoa leads all players in pro bowl voting at the moment; however, in those conditions, the Dolphins running game was working. The flaw in this game was not continuing to run the ball with Mostert. Moreover, Ahmed was running well, also.
This game is a heartbreaker—the worse loss of the season. When you run the ball, you control the clock. If the Dolphins would do it again, I believe they would stick to the running games, especially on short-yardage situations.