AFC East Reporter
The snow began simply because the Buffalo Bills tied the Miami Dolphins within the fourth quarter. It wasn’t only a flurry. It was a robust winter storm in Buffalo that shortly coated the sector at Highmark Stadium through the Bills’ 32-29 win on Saturday night time.
Josh Allen has been there and completed that. The person performs soccer like he was raised in a snow globe for goodness’ sake. The Bills quarterback has performed in situations like Saturday’s snowstorm — and much worse.
However Tua Tagovailoa? The Hawaiian? The Alabama prospect turned Miami QB? Not a lot.
So it felt just like the Dolphins’ benefit within the recreation shifted considerably with the Bills’ tying landing and the onslaught of snow.
The Fins’ offense ran 5 performs after the arrival of the heavy climate, and whereas they drove for 32 yards, they got here up with none factors. They punted.
Miami didn’t get the ball again, both, because the Bills managed the clock with a 15-play, 86-yard, six-minute drive that concluded with a area objective on the buzzer. The Dolphins’ secondary struggled — with rookie cornerback Kader Kohou letting up a couple of catches and committing a defensive move interference penalty within the ultimate minute. (Kohou grew up in Texas, a principally snow-free state.)
Quickly, the Bills have been in a snug field-goal spot on the 4-yard line. And whereas one may argue there isn’t a “comfortable” field-goal spot in a storm this intense, kicker Trevor Bass hammered the ball by the uprights and loved the snow with a celebratory slide.
“I know a lot of people would like to make it about the weather,” Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel mentioned postgame. “Our team never did. And it was cool for you guys to talk about, but it was more about the football players on the football field.”
Yeah, however that soccer area was lined in snow.
The Dolphins put up a struggle. It actually appeared like they may pull off the upset in Buffalo. The recipe was there. Tua fired downfield passes to Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill for touchdowns. Possibly Tagovailoa wasn’t having his finest recreation — he accomplished simply 56% of his passes — however he capitalized upon large alternatives. He fired the ball into gaps within the Bills protection and located spots to assist his receivers rating.
It was a tea-leaves recreation for Tua. Folks will see what they need to see. Had Miami gained, everybody would proclaim the southpaw “back.” They’d run the highlights of Tua’s landing to Hill. There have been sufficient big-time throws. However there have been additionally the misses and the incorrect or inadvisable passes. And sadly, these throws will turn into the focal point.
Contemplating the Bills gained it on their lengthy drive, the blame falls totally on the Dolphins’ protection. The unit had its moments. Cross-rusher Jaelan Phillips opened the fourth quarter with a strip-sack that gave Miami an opportunity to take a two-score lead. However its offense subsequently let its protection down, placing up only a area objective following the turnover to make it 29-21.
Even McDaniel appeared to have a little bit of an off day. On third-and-short, he leaned into his passing offense. On a traditional day, that might make sense. However in opposition to the Bills, the Dolphins averaged 7.5 yards per carry.
Regardless of me furiously tweeting in-game that McDaniel ought to run the ball, he didn’t. Apparently, he was not protecting observe of my reside tweets. If he had been, he most likely would’ve pointed to the Waddle rating, a 67-yard landing on third-and-4. It is technically not a short-yardage scenario however an optimum end result nonetheless. That mentioned, within the second half, the Dolphins confronted three third downs after they wanted three yards or fewer. They threw it each time. They did not convert each time. They completed 5 of 14 on third downs. Which leaves us with this:
- The Dolphins weren’t adequate to beat the No. 1 workforce within the AFC on the street.
- However in addition they performed properly.
- It wasn’t the most effective they’ve performed.
- Miami made progress.
All 4 of these issues might be true on the similar time.
The issue is that their progress is coming throughout a three-game shedding streak close to the tip of the season — after they should be profitable.
Miami (8-6) will host the Inexperienced Bay Packers subsequent week, then play on the New England Patriots earlier than ending at residence in opposition to the New York Jets. That’s a troublesome end. Proper now, the Dolphins narrowly personal the No. 6 seed within the AFC and have a 66% probability of constructing the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight.com. In the event that they beat the Packers, that determine jumps to 76%. In the event that they lose, their possibilities fall to 46%.
I am going to depart you with a higher reality about this recreation.
The actual reality and nothing but it surely.
This recreation got here all the way down to Josh Allen. That’s how the Bills (11-3) gained it. They’ve the most effective soccer participant on the planet — or second-best behind Patrick Mahomes. Sure, it is a workforce recreation. However generally people take over. That’s what Allen did.
That is what the Dolphins should wrestle with. If they offer the Bills something however their finest, Allen will beat the Dolphins. He is that good.
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Previous to becoming a member of FOX Sports activities because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years protecting the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports activities Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Observe him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.
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