Bills secures the playoff spot as Josh Allen leads his comeback in 4th place

Bills secures the playoff spot as Josh Allen leads his comeback in 4th place

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  • December 18, 2022
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Alaina GetzenbergESPN

ORCHARD PARK, NY — On the Buffalo Bills’ second play against the Miami Dolphins, offense fell to quarterback Josh Allen thanks to a sack.

Faced with finishing second and 18th at their own 13-yard line, the Bills would have to make some big plays or be forced to hand the ball back to the Dolphins with limited time left but likely in good field position with the score. Instead, Allen connected with wide receiver Gabe Davis on a 15-yard pass, and the Bills’ offense navigated downfield and took all the remaining 5 minutes and 56 seconds off the clock on a 15-play, 65-yard drive.

Aided by a defensive pass interference call in third in Miami, the game ended with a 25-yard field goal attempt that Tyler Bass launched through the posts after Bill’s players helped him clear a patch in the snow to dust off

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The kick earned a 32-29 win over the Dolphins and a fourth straight season of playoff appearances for a title-aspiring Bills team. It also gave Buffalo its third straight campaign with more than 11 wins, the second longest streak in franchise history (four straight from 1990 to 1993). The celebrations began with Bass and several players sliding down the snow to celebrate.

“It took everything we had to get that out tonight,” said Bills coach Sean McDermott. “It just makes it special. … You know, like I said, humiliating. Really, that’s how I feel about it. Humiliating to be a part of in this great city that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, honestly. And the fans, I mean, this place is unique. So just great.

The Bills were eight points down early in the fourth quarter and tied on their penultimate drive, thanks in large part to a 44-yard run by Allen on a quarterback draw that sent Buffalo into the 20th. Place the Dolphins brought. Allen compared the way he ran to Forrest Gump, the way he pulled his knees up and kept walking at full speed.

Allen’s long run was the culmination of the Bills’ revived rushing attack in the fourth quarter. They rushed for 99 yards in the last 15 minutes after rushing for 51 combined yards in the first three quarters. Allen finished the game with the team’s best 77 yards on 10 carries and also threw four touchdown passes, all going to running backs and tight ends, including a 5-yard scoring pass to tight Dawson Knox on the game tie -Drive. Allen then dunked for the ensuing 2-point conversion.

“He makes plays I’ve never seen before. Sometimes you turn into a fan while watching him,” Knox said. “Unfortunately on that game I was under a 300lb 3 technique where he got the ball on the two points so I didn’t see it until we saw the JumboTron. But I’ve talked about it before. At this point, it’s not even surprising. You just think, oh, there’s Josh Josh again. He’s the best quarterback in the league, the best football player in the league. So whenever you have him on your team, you have a chance to win.”

The Bills went into halftime with a 21-13 lead, but all three phases of their game were wiped out in the third quarter. Offense went for four straight possessions, defense gave up two quick touchdown drives, and special teams extended a Dolphins drive thanks to a gross kicker penalty on defensive back Cam Lewis.

But when the snow fell in the fourth quarter, things came together for the Bills. After an Allen fumble, the defense held the Dolphins to a field goal, and Buffalo’s offense put together the back-to-back hits to end the game.

“Almost like it was all meant to happen, right?” Bill’s safety Jordan Poyer said about the timing of the snow. “We didn’t see much snow. We thought we would see a lot more snow than we did. But yeah, Josh goes down, takes offense and scores, and the snow is just starting to fall. It was actually so surreal. It was still a fun, fun atmosphere.”

The Bills remain 11-3 at the top of the AFC with games remaining against the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots. But the goal now is to host many more games at Orchard Park.

“That’s the number 1 Coach McDermott preaches, playoff caliber — you can’t win the Super Bowl if you don’t make the playoffs,” Allen said. “So that’s goal #1. Goal #2 now is to win the league. This is how we’re going to do it. We’re going to take it one game at a time. Be ready for next week.”

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