The Buffalo Bills beat the Miami Dolphins 19-14 on Thursday Night Football thanks in large part to strong defense and big plays on special teams.
It began with a 79-yard punt return from Leodis McKelvin, and four additional Rian Lindell field goals were enough as the Buffalo Bills held off the Miami Dolphins, 19-14, to win on Thursday Night Football. The win is Buffalo's first in prime time action since 2001, and their first win in the division since beating New England a year ago.
It was the C.J. Spiller show on offense in the first half, with the back accumulating 97 yards as the Bills built a 19-7 lead at the break. In the second half, however, the offense slowed and Spiller gained just 33 in the final two quarters. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a mediocre day, finishing 17 for 27 for 168 yards with six passes finding Stevie Johnson for 79 of those yards.
It was down to Buffalo's defense, then, to step up - and that they did, holding the Dolphins in check outside of their one fourth-quarter touchdown drive. Ryan Tannehill was picked off twice in the final three minutes by Jairus Byrd and Bryan Scott, and was held to just over 100 passing yards until the Dolphins' final drive. Mario Williams, Kyle Moore and even Shawne Merriman (aided by a great play by Moore) notched sacks, and Stephon Gilmore forced a fumble that Byrd recovered in the first half.
The Bills were special teams benefactors of big plays from McKelvin, Corey McIntyre and Shawn Powell (twice) as they built and maintained their lead. McIntyre sprung McKelvin on his punt return score, while Powell pinned the Dolphins inside their one-yard-line with under four minutes left and then got off a respectable punt after a rare bad snap from Garrison Sanborn with 1:35 remaining.
The Bills up their record to 4-6 and drop the Dolphins to the same record, as they now get 10 days to prepare for the wild card-leading Indianapolis Colts and their second straight rookie quarterback.