It was a wild afternoon in Miami that saw a TV outage, a lightning delay, and some late-game drama, but it was the Buffalo Bills who held off the Dolphins in a 31-28 win at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida.
With the win, the Bills improve to 2-0 on the season for a second consecutive year. It is also Buffalo's second win this season over an AFC East division rival after a 27-17 win over the New York Jets in the season opener last week.
After the Dolphins won the coin toss and elected to defer, the Bills' first drive of the game ended after four plays when quarterback Josh Allen just failed to connect with wide receiver Stefon Diggs in the open field.
On that play to Diggs, Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones came up lame with a groin injury and was forced to miss out on the rest of the game. Miami added Jones during the offseason as part of a number of moves to improve that defensive group.
After a nice stop by the Buffalo defense on Miami's first offensive drive of the game, Allen and the Bills offense went back to work on a 97-yard drive that was capped off with a touchdown reception for rookie tight end Reggie Gilliam. Gilliam was able to catch a pass from Allen at the goal line and just got the ball extended over the goal line for the score. It is the first career score for Gilliam, who was brought in this past offseason as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo.
Miami responded quickly to tie the game at 7-7 with a 10-play drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to wide receiver DeVante Parker.
During the drive, the television feed for the game on CBS was cut out after the TV truck had reportedly lost power.
On the first play of their next drive, the Bills offense coughed up the ball after tight end Dawson Knox goes off for a 38-yard catch-and-run down the field. However, linebacker Kyle Van Noy knocked the ball out of Knox's hands and it was rookie cornerback Noah Igbinoghene who came up with the loose change.
Buffalo responded very well to the turnover with a big defensive stop, followed by a five-play drive that got the Bills back into the end zone. The scoring drive was really set up big with a 46-yard catch and run play by wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who got Buffalo to the 22-yard line.
On the very next play, the Allen-to-Diggs connection comes through again as Diggs brings in his first touchdown as a member of the Bills.
The Bills would add to their second quarter lead with 2:30 left as kicker Tyler Bass was able to drill a 39-yard kick to make it a 17-7 Buffalo advantage.
At the two-minute warning of the first half, the Bills defense comes up with another big play to end a Dolphins drive as defensive end Mario Addison comes up with a third down sack of Fitzpatrick. However, Buffalo could not turn that around into more points, which gave the Dolphins a chance to score one more time before halftime.
It was a quick drive for the Dolphins that was just enough to get kicker Jason Sanders into position for a 52-yard field goal attempt. He was able to put the football through the uprights and cut the Bills' lead to 17-10 heading into halftime.
The second half started with the Dolphins getting two plays in before the game went into a lightning delay. After a 35-minute delay, both teams returned to the field and resumed the drive that saw Miami come away with three points. It was Sanders who helped cut the Buffalo lead to four with a 45-yard field goal.
After a Bills punt, the Dolphins got the ball back and drove down the field looking to grab the lead for the first time. Miami got as far as they could to the one-yard line with four plays in hand, but they failed to convert and ended up turning the ball over on downs.
Late in the third quarter, it was announced that Knox was not going to return to the game as he suffered a concussion earlier in the game.
The Dolphins took their first lead of the game with 10:11 left in the game as they drove down the field again and found themselves at the Bills' two-yard line. On a third-and-goal play, running back Jordan Howard got the ball and was able to punch it in for a 20-17 lead.
The Bills immediately responded to re-take the lead, 24-20, with a seven-play drive that was capped off by a six-yard touchdown pass from Allen to rookie wide receiver Gabriel Davis for his first-career NFL touchdown.
After another stellar defensive stop by the Bills, Allen and the Buffalo offense put the game on ice as the third-year quarterback fired a 46-yard bomb to John Brown for a touchdown.
With the score at 31-20 with 3:18 to go, Allen had surpassed the 400-yard passing mark on the day, while also tossing his fourth touchdown. Allen became the first Bills quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards (417 yards) in a game since Drew Bledsoe did so in 2002.
As time started to dwindle down in the game, the Dolphins stormed back down the field and made it a three-point game with 49 seconds to go. This time, it was Fitzpatrick connecting with tight end Mike Gesicki for an eight-yard strike to make the score 31-28.
On the ensuing onside kick, it was safety Micah Hyde who came up with the recovery to seal the win for the Bills.
- 7-0 BILLS: Bills touchdown (5:00) – Josh Allen throws a one-yard touchdown to tight end Reggie Gilliam. (Tyler Bass' extra point attempt is good).
o Drive info: 11 plays, 97 yards, 5:19
- 7-7 TIE: Dolphins touchdown (0:38) - Ryan Fitzpatrick throws a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeVante Parker. (Jason Sanders' extra point attempt is good.)
o Drive info: 10 plays, 75 yards, 4:17
- 7-7 TIE: Bills fumble (0:38) - Dawson Knox connects on a 38-yard catch-and-run, but is stripped of the ball by linebacker Kyle Van Noy and recovered by cornerback Noah Igbinoghene.
- 14-7 BILLS: Bills touchdown (11:45) – Josh Allen connects with wide receiver Stefon Diggs for a 22-yard touchdown pass. (Tyler Bass' extra point attempt is good.)
o Drive info: Five plays, 84 yards, 2:48
- 17-7 BILLS: Bills field goal (2:30) - Tyler Bass' 39-yard field goal attempt is good.
o Drive info: 13 plays, 73 yards, 6:13
- 17-10 BILLS: Dolphins field goal (0:06) - Jason Sanders' 52-yard field goal attempt it good.
o Drive info: Five plays, 41 yards, 0:31
- 17-13 BILLS: Dolphins field goal (11:23) – Jason Sanders' 45-yard field goal attempt is good.
o Drive info: 9 plays, 48 yards, 3:42
- 17-13 BILLS: Dolphins turnover on downs (2:05) - Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass attempt to Preston Williams in the end zone fall incomplete. Buffalo takes over at the Dolphins' one-yard line.
- 20-17 DOLPHINS: Dolphins touchdown (10:11) – Jordan Howard rushes for a two-yard touchdown run. (Jason Sanders' extra point attempt is good.)
o Drive info: 10 plays, 44 yards, 5:13
- 24-20 BILLS: Bills touchdown (5:55) - Josh Allen connects for a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Gabriel Davis. (Tyler Bass' extra point attempt is good.)
o Drive info: 7 plays, 75 yards, 4:16
- 31-20 BILLS: Bills touchdown (3:18) - Josh Allen tosses a 46-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Brown. (Tyler Bass' extra point attempt is good.)
o Drive info: 5 plays, 71 yards, 1:17
- 31-28 BILLS: Dolphins touchdown (0:49) - Ryan Fitzpatrick fires an eight-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mike Gesicki. (Miami's two-point conversion attempt is successful.)
SKYWORKS EQUIPMENT RENTAL STATS OF THE GAME:
Josh Allen: 24-of-35, 417 yards, 4 TDs
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 31-of-47, 328 yards, 2 TDs
Devin Singletary: 10 carries, 56 yards
Zack Moss: 8 carries, 37 yards
Josh Allen: 3 carries, 18 yards
Gabriel Davis: 1 carry, 0 yards
Myles Gaskin: 7 carries, 46 yards
Matt Breida: 7 carries, 37 yards
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 3 carries, 12 yards
Jordan Howard: 5 carries, 4 yards, 1 TD
Stefon Diggs: 8 receptions, 153 yards, 1 TD
John Brown: 4 receptions, 82 yards, 1 TD
Cole Beasley: 5 receptions, 70 yards
Isaiah McKenzie: 2 receptions, 47 yards
Dawson Knox: 1 reception, 38 yards, 1 fumble
Devin Singletary: 2 receptions, 20 yards
Gabriel Davis: 1 reception, 6 yards, 1 TD
Reggie Gilliam: 1 reception, 1 yard, 1 TD
Mike Gesicki: 8 receptions, 130 yards, 1 TD
Isaiah Ford: 7 receptions, 76 yards
DeVante Parker: 5 receptions, 53 yards, 1 TD
Myles Gaskin: 6 reception 36 yards
Preston Williams: 1 reception, 26 yards
Adam Shaheen - 1 reception, 4 yards
Jakeem Grant Sr.: 1 reception, 2 yards
Matt Breida: 1 reception, 2 yards
Lynn Bowden Jr.: 1 reception, -1 yards
Levi Wallace: 10 tackles, 1 pass defended
Micah Hyde: 9 tackles, 1 pass defended
Tyrel Dodson: 8 tackles, 2 passes defended
Jordan Poyer: 8 tackles, 1 sack
Taron Johnson: 5 tackles
Tre'Davious White: 4 tackles, 2 passes defended
Ed Oliver: 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defended
Mario Addison: 3 tackles, 1 sack
Nik Needham: 12 tackles
Davon Godchaux: 6 tackles
Jerome Baker: 6 tackles
Kyle Van Noy: 4 tackles, 1 pass defended
Noah Igbinoghene: 4 tackles
Andrew Van Ginkel: 4 tackles, 0.5 sacks
Emmanuel Ogbah: 2 tackles, 0.5 sacks
BUF: 6 for 55 yards
MIA: 3 for 20 yards
Time Of Possession:
The Bills will return to Orchard Park and prepare for a rare matchup with the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Bills Stadium. Coverage of the Bills-Rams matchup starts at 7 a.m. on WGR with Breakfast with the Bills - Fantasy Style. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m., so be sure to tune in to hear all the action on WGR with John Murphy, Steve Tasker and Sal Capaccio on the call.