Bills squeak out win over Dolphins, advance to AFC Divisional Round

Buffalo defeats Miami, 34-31, in the AFC Wild Card Round in Orchard Park

Orchard Park, N.Y. - The Buffalo Bills are moving on in the 2022 NFL Playoffs by the narrowest of margins.

While it ended up being a closer matchup than first anticipated, the Bills are able to take care of business with a 34-31 win over the Miami Dolphins at Highmark Stadium to advance to the AFC Divisional Round.

The Bills received the opening kickoff, but eventually turned the ball over on downs after not converting on a fourth down. However, the Dolphins were unable to get their offense going and punted the ball back to Buffalo.

On their second drive, Bills quarterback Josh Allen got the offense moving quickly. Allen used the long-ball early with a 52-yard pass to wide receiver Stefon Diggs that moved Buffalo well into the red zone.

On the very next play, Allen rolled to his left and tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dawson Knox.

The Bills defense got in on the action on the next drive when safety Dean Marlowe intercepted a pass from Dolphins quarterback Skylar Thompson intended for wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

Allen moved quickly again on the next drive, needing only four plays to get into the end zone. This time, it was running back James Cook scoring on a 12-yard run that extended the Bills' lead to 14-0.

Following another Miami punt, the Bills took over possession of the football on their own 33-yard line. Allen and the offense moved down the field a bit slower on this drive with multiple short passes.

As they entered the red zone, Allen targeted Knox again and a catch he made in the end zone was originally ruled a touchdown. However, review showed the ball hit the turf before the completion was made and the call on the field was overturned.

Kicker Tyler Bass was then called into action to make a 33-yard field goal to give Buffalo a 17-point advantage.

The Dolphins finally got their offense going on the next drive.

Thompson got the offense rolling on the first play when he connected with tight end Durham Smythe on a 20-yard pass. The Dolphins converted on third down once on this drive, but were unable to a second time, resulting in a 40-yard field goal from Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders.

After Allen was picked off by Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard on a pass intended for wide receiver John Brown, Thompson got the offense moving again, converting on fourth down once on the drive.

Sanders was called into action once again after Miami got into field goal range, and converted a 48-yard field goal.

Following another tough drive for the Bills and a huge 50-yard punt return, the Dolphins were in good position to score again, but had to settle for another field goal. Sanders made his third field goal of the quarter, this time from 37 yards out.

The Bills continued to struggle, as with just under two minutes to go in the half, Allen threw his second interception of the day when a pass intended for wide receiver Cole Beasley went in-and-out of his hands and into the arms of Dolphins safety Jevon Holland.

The Dolphins' next drive started on the Bills' 18-yard line, and Thompson worked quickly to connect with tight end Mike Gesicki for Miami's first touchdown of the game. The Dolphins attempted a two-point conversion and succeeded on a pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

With little time remaining on the clock, Allen and the Buffalo offense moved quickly down the field, getting to the Miami 21-yard line in just 30 seconds. Allen found Diggs open down the left sideline, but the wideout was unable to keep both feet in-bounds in the end zone for the touchdown.

Bass was called upon again with seconds remaining on the clock and converted a 39-yard field goal heading into halftime.

Photo credit Skyworks Equipment Rental

The Dolphins started out the second half with the ball, but punted after a three-and-out.

On Buffalo's very first play on offense in the third quarter, Allen was strip sacked by Dolphins safety Eric Rowe and recovered by defensive tackle Zach Sieler, who rumbled his way into the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown.

With the Dolphins leading still on their third drive of the half, Bills cornerback Kaiir Elam intercepted a pass by Thompson that was intended for wide receiver Trent Sheffield. Elam's interception gave the Bills great field position at the Miami 33-yard line.

Just five plays later, the Bills re-took the lead with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter, as Allen connected with wide receiver Cole Beasley for a six-yard touchdown score.

After another Dolphins punt, the Bills got right back to work scoring on back-to-back drives for the first time since the first quarter.

Allen started the drive with a pair of big connections with tight end Quintin Morris and Beasley, before finishing things off with a 23-yard strike to Gabe Davis to lengthen their lead to 34-24.

The Dolphins got their offense restarted as the fourth quarter began. Thompson led his team down the field quickly with three big throws before running back Jeff Wilson Jr. found the end zone with a one-yard rush.

While the remainder of the game lacked any scoring plays, it did not lack fireworks.

The Bills defense stepped up multiple times on the last two Miami drives, stopping the Dolphins on third down to force a punt, and later stopping them on fourth down to cause a turnover on downs.

Running back Devin Singletary had two carries on the last drive for the Bills that were enough to secure a game-clinching first down. This allowed Allen to kneel out the remaining time on the clock and secure a Wild Card victory.

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First Quarter:

7-0 BUFFALO: Bills touchdown (7:57) - Josh Allen tosses a five-yard pass to Dawson Knox for the touchdown. (Tyler Bass' extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 73 yards, 3:00

14-0 BUFFALO: Bills touchdown (5:07) - James Cook runs 12 yards for a touchdown. (Tyler Bass' extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 23 yards, 2:13

Second Quarter:

17-0 BUFFALO: Bills field goal (12:46) - Tyler Bass' 33-yard field goal attempt is good.
Drive info: 11 plays, 52 yards, 4:52

17-3 BUFFALO: Dolphins field goal (7:34) - Jason Sanders' 40-yard field goal attempt is good.
Drive info: 10 plays, 38 yards, 5:12

17-6 BUFFALO: Dolphins field goal (2:15) - Jason Sanders' 48-yard field goal attempt is good.
Drive info: 8 plays, 18 yards, 3:46

17-9 BUFFALO: Dolphins field goal (1:15) - Jason Sanders' 37-yard field goal attempt is good.
Drive info: 4 plays, 8 yards, 0:17

17-17 TIE: Dolphins touchdown (0:33) - Skylar Thompson throws a seven-yard touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki. (Dolphins' two-point conversion attempt is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 18 yards, 0:20

20-17 BUFFALO: Bills field goal (0:04) - Tyler Bass' 39-yard field goal attempt is good.
Drive info: 6 plays, 54 yards, 0:29 seconds

Third Quarter:

24-20 MIAMI: Dolphins touchdown (13:59) - Zach Sieler scoops up a Josh Allen fumble and scores a touchdown. (Jason Sanders' extra point attempt is good)

27-24 BUFFALO: Bills touchdown (5:18) - Josh Allen fires a six-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley. (Tyler Bass' extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 33 yards, 2:11

34-24 BUFFALO: Bills touchdown (2:07) - Josh Allen throws a 23-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Davis. (Tyler Bass' extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 68 yards, 2:07

Fourth Quarter:

34-31 MIAMI: Dolphins touchdown (10:53) - Jeff Wilson rushes one-yard for a touchdown. (Jason Sanders' extra point attempt is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yards, 6:14


Photo credit Skyworks Equipment Rental



What's next:

With the win, the Bills move on to the AFC Divisional Round, where they will face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, Jan. 22 at Highmark Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. EST on the official voice of the Bills - WGR Sports Radio 550.

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