Scoring 70 points in a regular season football game does not mean you won the Super Bowl.
The Miami Dolphins took their talents and undefeated record to Orchard Park, NY, and were humbled by the Buffalo Bills in a 48-20 loss.
Quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills scored on eight of its first nine possessions (not including a kneeldown before halftime).
Allen threw four touchdown passes and added another rushing. Allen finished 21 of 25 for 320 yards and no interceptions while posting his 10th career outing with four TD passes.
“Our guys were very locked in on details this week,” Allen said. “Made sure we had a good presence in our locker room; it is one game. We have to go to London next week. That is what we are going to focus on next.”
Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, who played quarterback at the University of Miami, called an impressive offensive game.
“Dorsey had a game plan; our guys went out there and did it,” Allen added. “We have more; we will learn from this tape, find ways to get better; we left a lot out there.”
Buffalo (3-1) never trailed and finished with 414 yards of offense. The three-time AFC East champion Bills have won three straight since a season-opening loss at the New York Jets.
Buffalo won its eighth straight at home over Miami improved to 12-2 in the past 14 meetings, including a 34-31 win in the wild-card round of the playoffs last January.
Stefon Diggs cooked the Dolphins again. He finished with six catches for 120 yards to enjoy his fourth career three-TD game and third with Buffalo.
“I owe somebody 18 dollars,” Diggs said after celebrating by crushing two beer cans taken from Bills fans in the end zone after scoring his first touchdown to break a 14-14 tie.
Buffalo made it three straight TD drives on Allen’s 6-yard pass to Diggs five minutes into the second quarter.
Allen gained his 40th rush touchdown of his career in this game.
A special moment in the game: Bills safety Damar Hamlin appeared in his first game since going into cardiac arrest and needing to be resuscitated on the field during a game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2. Hamlin was a healthy inactive through the first three weeks of the season, played during the preseason and was mostly limited to special teams against Miami.
Dolphins (3-1) have yet to start season 4-0 since 1995. They had their chances to take a two-game division lead over Buffalo.
Dolphins finished with 393 yards of offense; Buffalo held Miami to 3 of 10 on third down and 0 for 3 on fourth down. The Bills also forced two turnovers and sacked Tua Tagovailoa four times. The Dolphins had allowed just one sack in their first three games.
“There were a lot of communication errors on my part,” Tagovailoa said. “I have to be better with that aspect of the game for our guys. Not put our guys in those situations. That is what the game really turned out to be. Stopping ourselves on first down, guys need to figure out where to go because of formational issues of what was communicated in the huddle. It is on my part to be better for those guys in the locker room.
Miami closed the half with three punts, and running back Raheem Mostert lost a fumble, allowing Buffalo to build a 31-14 lead.
“It was tough to hear numbers because of the crowd noise. That is also a me thing,” Tagovailoa added. “Understanding the game plan, knowing what we want to get done, and situational awareness with our plays we want to run. That is on my part.”
Tagovailoa went 25 of 35 for 282 yards with a touchdown pass to Braxton Berrios and an interception.
“Tua’s teammates need to know the ends and outs of their responsibilities, and Tua can’t be in charge of getting everyone aligned,” Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said. “There is a lot of stuff that goes on with that; it is the National Football League; you play one of the best teams in the National Football League; you better not have that part of your game; otherwise, you will learn the hard way which is what we did today.”
Dolphins rookie running back De’Von Achane had two TDs a week after scoring four times. He became just the fourth NFL rookie to combine for six TDs in consecutive games and the first since Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin in 2012.
This loss is not catastrophic for the Dolphins. They started well, then got out of rhythm.
Two calls that stood out, proving they were out of rhythm, the Dolphins went for two with 9:30 to play in the third quarter. Mathematically, it needed to make more sense. It would have cut the deficit to 9, making it a two-score game. Dolphins passed the ball on 4th down and 1 with 44 seconds to play in the third quarter; Tua was sacked.
Bills owned the line of scrimmage offensively and defensively. This Dolphins team did not resemble who we saw during the season’s first three weeks.
It was a terrible effort for the Dolphins; people were talking about the Super Bowl leading up to the game, but there were missed tackles, and Allen was in Madden mode. All the talk going into the game this week was the 70-point game, and that may have led to the Dolphins taking their foot off the pedal in this game.
Bills had four sacks and forced the Dolphins into two turnovers.
“It is a tough environment once they get the fans into it. It is even tougher, once they start rolling, it is hard to stop a moving train,” Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel said. “They got into their rhythm early; we just could not put the fire out.”
Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert finished with seven carries for 9 yards and two fumbles. The bright spot in the running game, Achane got his opportunities and made the best of it. Dolphins took advantage of explosive plays on the ground. Achane did a fantastic job breaking arm tackling and getting in the open field. Hopefully, the offensive line gets back to healthy.
Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill finished with three catches for 58 yards. His Goal to hit 2,000 yards receiving took a hit. The fact that Tagovailoa did not have time in the pocket hurt getting the ball to Hill. Usually, Tagovailoa would get the ball out in under three seconds today; he had to hold on to the football, scramble, and extend plays.
“You never want to lose a game in the NFL, but we needed this,” Hill said. “Early adversity is always good. We can learn from it, stick together as a team, and become closer.”
Bills did a fantastic job of the defensive scheme in coverage on Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and Durham Smythe. Credit goes to the Bills for the pressure up front and good coverage on the back in. And they took the running game away from the Dolphins as the game continued.
Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme needed an answer covering Diggs. Kater Kohou did okay in coverage, but it was not just him. If the Dolphins defense tackled better, they would get off the field. If the front seven put better pressure, the secondary would not have to adjust on coverage. He will have to adjust defensively moving forward to win essential games moving forward.
“We have to come prepared,” Van Ginkel added. “We have to come better as a defense.”
Dolphins face Daniel Jones and the New York Giants next. This game humbled Miami; it is back to square one. The defense needs to tackle better. The offense needs to prevent turnovers. Offensive lines need to get healthy. Jones is a mobile quarterback. Dolphins need to tackle him.