Bills vs. Dolphins score, takeaways: Josh Allen leads Buffalo back to victory, another postseason chance

On a night when the Buffalo Bills needed Josh Allen to deliver an MVP-caliber performance, Allen gave Buffalo one of the best games of his career — in a climate that makes a quarterback a legend. Allen led the Bills on an 86-yard drive with 5:56 left in the clock that resulted in a Tyler Bass fumble. Snowy, cold Saturday night in Orchard Park.

Allen finished with four passing touchdowns on the night, going 4 for 5 for 40 yards on the final drive to lead the Bills to victory. The Bills quarterback threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Knox to make it 29-27 in the fourth quarter, then converted to tie the game at 29-29 with 9:02 left.

Allen finished 25 of 40 for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the win, as Buffalo clinched a playoff spot for the fourth straight year. The win pulls Buffalo within one win of the AFC East title and a guaranteed home game in the playoffs. Allen also rushed for 77 yards.

The Dolphins gave it all they could handle as Tua Tagovailoa finished 17 of 30 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Miami gave the Dolphins a 26-21 lead with 2:30 left in the third quarter on a Dakowailova pass to Tyreek Hill. Hill finished with nine catches for 69 yards and a touchdown in the contest and Raheem Mostert rushed for 136 yards. The Dolphins are three games behind the Bills in the AFC East race and a half game out of the final playoff spot in the AFC.

Here’s an account of what happened on a snowy night in Buffalo.

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Why the Bills won

Leave it to Josh Allen in the fourth quarter when it mattered most. Allen was smart all game with his four touchdown passes, but he went 5 of 7 for 45 yards in the fourth quarter and ran five times for 47 yards — and converted a two-point conversion to tie the game at 9 with 29-29. :02 to play.

Allen went 4 of 5 for 40 yards on the final drive to boot, finishing his night with 304 passing yards and 77 rushing yards. Allen had his third game with 300 passing yards and 75 rushing yards, tying Michael Vick and Russell Wilson for the most in NFL history.

Why the Dolphins lost

The Dolphins couldn’t keep up with the Bills on the trail when the ice came down. Buffalo ran on 22 plays on its last two possessions for 161 yards (11 points), while Miami ran 10 plays for 50 yards and three scores.

The Dolphins’ defense couldn’t stop and get off the field, which has been a recurring problem for Miami all year. Tua Tagovailoa can’t be blamed for the loss as he finished 17 of 30 for 234 yards with two touchdowns and a 104.0 passer rating.

turning point

On first-and-10 from the Bills’ own 43-yard line, Josh Allen called his own number and took off for 44 yards — going out of bounds at the Dolphins’ 13-yard line before the ice even came off.

Allen made his longest play of the game and followed that play with a 5-yard run that drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a late hit out of bounds. The Bills scored three plays later on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Dawson Knox before Allen made his two-point conversion run to tie the game at 29-29.

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While Allen’s arm stole the show, his legs provided some key plays in this one as well.

Game of the game

Allen’s touchdown pass to James Cook with no time left in the first half sparked the Bills, which ended differently late in the game. Instead of taking a three-pointer before the half and throwing the ball away, Allen’s gamble paid off to buy time and throw it into the end zone.

After spending too much time in the pocket, Allen rolled to his right and made a terrible decision. He bought enough time to drive Cook and throw a rope to the running back in the end zone for a touchdown with no time left in the half that put the Bills up 21-13.

Without that touchdown, the Bills would have lost the game. That touchdown throw can’t be overlooked.


“It’s nothing. It should have been colder. It should have been colder. I played 3.5 years at Wyoming. This is my fifth year here. It’s second nature now, kid.” — Josh Allen playing in snow and cold in Buffalo to NFL Network after the game.

Allen is now 5-1 in his career in games with freezing temperatures, totaling 17 touchdowns in those games.


The Bills (11-3) can clinch the AFC East with a win over the Chicago Bears (3-10) next Saturday, while the Dolphins face the Green Bay Packers (5-8) on Christmas Day.

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