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Bills 31, Dolphins 34: Thanks a lot, Dan Carpenter

Two missed field goals and a questionable decision to punt eliminated Buffalo from the playoffs today.

Facing the possibility of playoff elimination and another disappointing loss to a division rival, the Buffalo Bills came from behind and won a crucial overtime victory.

Actually, they didn't. But let me live with this fantasy for a few more minutes.

Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, and the rest of Buffalo's offense stepped up big time to put Buffalo over the top after trailing for the first 58 minutes of the game. But it didn't matter, because Dan Carpenter missed two huge field goals and the defense ruined an historic offensive output by the Bills.

Buffalo's defense claimed to be prepared for Jay Ajayi, after giving up 213 yards to him in their first meeting.


They "held" Ajayi to 120 yards in regulation. He eclipsed 200 during overtime, showing that the only thing holding him back was the coach's decision not to use him more.

Buffalo's defense missed several crucial tackles today, and that killed them on the scoreboard. They clamped down when it was most needed to buy the offense time to score at the end of the game, but a soft defense in the final minute of regulation allowed Miami to tie the game on a 55 yard field goal. They missed more tackles in overtime, and it cost then the game.

The Buffalo offense was firing on all cylinders after the first quarter ended. Taylor finally threw for over 300 yards and added 3 touchdowns. McCoy contributed 125 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. Mike Gillislee had 91 of his own. Every time it felt like the Dolphins were pulling away, the Buffalo offense put itself right back in the game. They finished with a franchise record in yards gained.

Special teams? Dan Carpenter made all his extra points, which shouldn't deserve kudos, but this shows how far the bar for competent kicking has fallen. He missed two makeable field goals and cost Buffalo the win. Colton Schmidt was mediocre again, and the coverage units gave up a slew of return yards.

The game went into overtime, and Buffalo started the period with the ball, the offense picking up right where it left off from regulation. Mike Gillislee had a huge run, Sammy Watkins and Charles Clay had crucial chain-moving receptions, and the Bills found themselves in field goal range. The drive fizzled there thanks to a head-scratching decision to try a reverse to Reggie Bush, and Carpenter missed the field goal attempt, his second miss of the day.

Buffalo managed to hold the Dolphins out of the danger zone despite gifting them a shortened field thanks to the missed kick. They forced a punt, but Buffalo stalled near midfield, and Ryan chose to punt on a 4th and 3 with 4 minutes left, another questionable decision. Then came the backbreaker: a 57 yard run by Ajayi that put Miami safely into field goal range. A few runs later, and the Dolphins lined up for the winning kick.

I've compared the Bills to Charlie Brown before. They aren't Charlie Brown. They're Lucy. We are all Charlie Brown.

And we are so, so, so very sick of having this ball pulled from us time and again.

Good riddance, Buffalo Bills. Happy holidays.