Buffalo, N.Y. (WGR 550) - Whew! That was much harder than I thought it would be.
I was completely ready for win or go home playoff stress with the Buffalo Bills, but not until the AFC Divisional Round. This was supposed to be the easiest game of, what we hope will be, a four-game postseason run for Buffalo.
Not for one moment - including the strip sack/scoop-and-score that gave the Miami Dolphins a four-point lead early in the third quarter - did I think the Bills would actually lose this game. It was very simple.
If the Bills offense would just stop giving the ball to the Dolphins, they would manage to put some touchdown drives together. They did exactly that, but the Bills offense kept both teams in this game due to its mistakes.
This game was representative of the story of the Bills offense for the last two months. At the end of the day, they put up good stats, but they look sloppy, go into extended dry spells and have to work really hard, at times, to move the ball down the field.
Over their first four drives of Sunday's game, the Bills recorded two touchdowns and a field goal, while rolling up 191 yards.
The next six drives saw the Bills manage just 99 yards, while turning the ball over three times and punting on the other three possessions.
Josh Allen made some questionable decisions under center. I love to watch Allen throw the ball deep, but he went a bit overboard. Allen eschewed shorter, higher-percentage throws a number of times in hopes of hitting big passes downfield.
Some of those vertical throws turned out to be big plays, though.
On the Bills' first touchdown drive of the afternoon, Allen aired it out when the Dolphins blitzed on 3rd-and-15. He made them pay on a 54-yard connection to Stefon Diggs.
The field goal drive just before halftime began with a 33-yard strike to Gabe Davis, and included a 17-yard throw to Davis on 3rd-and-6 when Allen was being pressured.
The 23-yard touchdown toss to Davis later in the game was a beautiful throw into a tight window.
Allen should have had another 50-plus yard throw on the stat sheet, but it ended up being dropped by Khalil Shakir. The rookie receiver did make a great catch on a 31-yard pass later in the contest.
There were zero targets in the passing game for James Cook and Devin Singletary, who were on the field for a combined 64 snaps out of the 74 snaps for the offense in the game. That seems to drive the point home that Allen didn't do a good enough job of taking what was being given.
Maybe I've set the bar too high for the Bills offense. Perhaps I've been spoiled by too many no punt or one punt games this season.
The offense did put up 34 points, 423 net yards, converted 56% on third down, and had a 75% success rate in the red zone. All very strong numbers. They topped the 30-point mark for the fourth-straight game and the ninth time in 18 games this season.
But for some reason, the Bills offense always leaves me with reasons to be concerned.
They need to clean up their game big time by Sunday's AFC Divisional Round matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals in Orchard Park.