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December 17, 1995: Bills Clinch AFC East With Win Over Dolphins

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The Buffalo Bills' Steve Christie kicked a field goal with just over six minutes left to beat the Miami Dolphins on this date in 1995. The 23-20 win clinched Buffalo's sixth AFC East crown in eight seasons.

After going to four straight Super Bowls, the Bills had a down year in 1994, going 7-9. They rebounded in '95, and entering their Week 16 match-up against the Dan Marino-led Dolphins, the Bills were 9-5. The 8-6 Dolphins had beaten the Bills earlier in the season. Another win would give the Dolphins the tiebreaker and put them in the driver's seat in the division.

Thurman Thomas had a great day for the Bills, toting the rock for 148 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries. Steve Tasker, filling in for injured Bills throughout the offense, was all over the field, rushing the ball six times and catching three passes for a combined 69 yards. He also returned three punts for 25 yards. Bryce Paup and Phil Hansen combined for three sacks on defense.

Late in the game, the only Dolphins turnover proved costly. With the score tied 20-20 in the middle of the fourth quarter, Marino threw an interception to Bills LB David White. Christie kicked his 25-yard game-winner a few plays later.

The Bills and Dolphins would meet for a third time that season in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Two AFC East teams were the Wild Card selections, and all three wild cards were 9-7. The Bills, at 10-6, were the lowest-seeded divisional winner and hosted the Dolphins, winning 37-22. Buffalo lost in the divisional round to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The loss was their first playoff loss before the Super Bowl since the 1989 season.