Bills cruise in Miami

The offense has its most complete game of the season

Howard Simon
November 17, 2019 - 6:25 pm

Photo: Sam Navarro - USA TODAY Sports


Never in doubt.

The Buffalo Bills played their most complete game of the season, took care of business against a bad team and won a game they had to win if they want to be in the playoffs come January.

As opposed to the game against the Miami Dolphins four weeks earlier at New Era Field when the Bills trailed 14-9 at the half, this time the Bills led by nine points at the break and were never seriously threatened by their AFC East brethren. 

The offense had its best game so far, scoring a season-best 37 points. The Bills got production both in the running game and passing the ball. They ran 34 times for 168 yards, an average of 4.9 yards per-carry, and Josh Allen passed 33 times, completing 21 attempts for 256 yards. Allen tied his career-high with three touchdown passes. His other three touchdown day also came against the Dolphins in Week 17 of last season. The Bills quarterback added 56 yards rushing and another score, the 15th rushing touchdown of his young career. That is the most rushing touchdowns by an NFL quarterback since the start of the 2018 season.

Allen looked very comfortable throughout the game.

On his first touchdown toss, a 40-yarder to John Brown, Allen initially looked to his left before coming back to his right, which froze the Dolphins safety. Allen zipped a perfect pass to Brown, who was able to run after the catch into the end zone. Allen burned a Miami blitz on his second scoring throw. The Dolphins rushed seven, and one of those rushers let Dawson Knox go right by him. Allen hit the wide open tight end in the middle of the field, and Knox broke one tackle on his way into the end zone.

Allen also used his legs as a weapon. He executed a zone read to perfection and faked out the entire Miami defense, which went after running back Devin Singletary. Allen kept the ball and picked up a season-long 36-yard run that gave the Bills a 1st-and-goal. The drive stalled though, and the Bills settled for a Stephen Hauschka field goal.

Allen’s rushing touchdown was a very smart decision by him. The Bills sent all five targets out into routes against man-to-man coverage. No one was open other than Frank Gore in the left flat for, what would have been, a short gain. All of the other Dolphins defenders in coverage were by the goal line or in the end zone. Allen saw all of the open space and ran it in from eight yards out.

As I said, Miami was never a serious threat in this game. They did score a touchdown 25-seconds into the fourth quarter to pull within 10 points, but Allen and company went back to work. The Bills went no huddle and were calling plays with about 15-seconds left on the play clock, rather than just run the ball and milk the clock, and the aggressiveness paid off. Allen was a perfect 5-for-5 for 51 yards on an eight-play, 62-yard drive that left the Bills up by 17. 

Brown continues to pay dividends for the Bills. He ended up with 137 yards receiving on nine catches and had a pair of touchdowns. Brown set a Bills record with his 10th straight game of 50 or more receiving yards, and he became the fastest Bills receiver to 50 catches since Stevie Johnson in 2010.  

Other positives from the Bills' fourth road win in five games away from Orchard Park this season included Hauschka bouncing back from a rough game in Cleveland. His 51-yard field goal in the first quarter snapped a streak of five straight misses from 50 or more yards. Hauschka was a perfect 3-for-3 with field goal kicks, hitting other kicks from 34 and 21 yards.

The defense harassed former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick all day. The blitzes were too much for Miami’s offensive line to handle, and the Bills sacked Fitzpatrick seven times. They held the Dolphins' running game to just 23 yards on 13 carries.  

Sean McDermott even won a challenge. He correctly challenged a play that was called an incomplete pass, but was actually a fumble after the catch by Miami receiver Allen Hurns. That ended a streak of 11 consecutive failed challenges by the Bills head coach. 

The Bills are now 7-3, which is their best record after 10 games since 1999.

Now the true test begins.

The Bills are about to go into the meat of their schedule. The 3-7 Denver Broncos are up next, but they actually had a 20-0 halftime lead against the Minnesota Vikings on the road before collapsing in the second half and losing 27-23.

After that come games against the Dallas Cowboys (road), Baltimore Ravens (home), Pittsburgh Steelers (road) and the New England Patriots (road).

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