Buffalo and Miami did their best to try to follow up what happened in Minnesota. The third game of Saturday’s NFL triple header ultimately failed because when the Vikings decide they’re going to play a drunk football game, it’s Frank the Tank taking his first sip of booze.
Yet, Bills-Dolphins featured more lead changes, just as many ties, and Bills Mafia singing “Let It Snow” in the fourth quarter once the flakes finally showed up. And once the snow started in Buffalo, so did Devin Singletary. On the final drive of the game, the running back more than doubled his carries, going from six to 13, and gained 36 of his 42 yards on the evening.
A couple Josh Allen completions and a 21-yard PI call made up 50 of the other 86 total yards on the 15-play, nearly six-minute drive that Tyler Bass capped with a game-winning field goal as time expired. The win clinched the Bills fourth-straight trip to the postseason and kept them in the driver’s seat for the one-seed in the AFC.
The win wasn’t as easy as the final drive looked, with the home team taking an eight-point lead into the break only to see Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, and Tyreek Hill flip the script in the second half and go up eight themselves with a little under 12 minutes remaining in the game.
Allen, who was phenomenal once again, then went 75 yards, found Dawson Knox for six, and then converted the two-point try himself to tie it at 29 all. He finished with 304 in the air, 77 on the ground, and four passing touchdowns.
When a team is as revered as Buffalo, we look for flaws because they’re so difficult to find, and my one hangup is the running game. This was the ninth time in 14 games that Allen has led the team in rushing, and that’s why I made it a point to lead with Singletary.
He was on his was to being an afterthought Saturday, but when the conditions made dropping back to pass risky for the final minutes of the contest, Singletary got hard-earned yards to set up or convert third downs, and even went to ground — as opposed to the endzone — allowing the Bills to run the clock down to four seconds for the walkoff kick.
Buffalo has three losses on the year. The first was that flukey Week 3 game against the Fins when they ran 90 plays to Miami’s 39 and lost. The second came against the Jets and might’ve been Allen’s worst showing of the season. The third was that batshit crazy Minnesota matchup that would’ve been the game of the season had the Vikings not broke the NFL record for largest comeback Saturday.
Above all else, the thing that has impressed me the most about Buffalo is the resiliency. From Week 11 to 13, they won three times in 12 days, including two Thursday games and a weather-forced home game against Cleveland in Detroit. Starting safety Micah Hyde is done for the year, and his secondary partner Jordan Poyer has been banged up all season. No one would blame the Bills if they were 10-4 or 9-5 instead of 11-3.
Even though Buffalo is sitting where a lot of NFL fans thought they’d be at this juncture of the season, it hasn’t always been pretty. Winning when you’re the hunted is hard, and it’s even more difficult when luck isn’t in your corner.
I’d congratulate the Bills on another trip to the playoffs if I thought it meant anything to them. The postseason may have satisfied the team and its fans four years ago. Not now. Not anymore. And they deserve extra credit for that.