Miami began the game with the ball, but quickly finished three-and-out. Matt Milano pulled a five yard tackle for loss on the first play from scrimmage, and E.J. Gaines nearly picked off a Jay Cutler pass on third down.
Adam Gase, with his team already eliminated from the playoffs, treated this game like most fans playing Madden with no pressure about their job security would treat it. He benched Cutler after the first series, and when David Fales took over at QB, Gase opted to try two fourth down conversions on the next drive instead of attempting a field goal. The first conversion succeeded, but Leonard Johnson broke up the pass on the second attempt to help lock up a scoreless first quarter for Miami.
Tyrod Taylor has always played well against the Dolphins, and he continued that trend in the first half. Taylor was on fire in the first quarter, finishing 8-of-9 passing for 111 yards and a touchdown. In the second quarter he cooled off, but the Bills still built an early 10-0 lead over Miami.
The Bills haven’t had quite as much success in the running game, but one strategy is paying dividends. The Bills activated Marcus Murphy off the practice squad this week, and elected to play the running back ahead of veteran Mike Tolbert as LeSean McCoy’s primary backup. Murphy even took a carry on the opening drive, and he’s already delivered a 25 yard run for the Bills. With McCoy not finding any holes to run through (he finished the first half with 10 carries for 7 yards), that contribution was welcomed, and it led to a field goal.
Right tackle Jordan Mills suffered a lower body injury during Buffalo’s two minute drill at the end of the half, and was carted into the locker room. Seantrel Henderson replaced him at right tackle.
The Bills deferred their kickoff to start the game, and they’ll receive the ball to start the second half. To finish Sean McDermott’s first coaching season with a winning record, they’ll need more of the same. Here’s our open thread for the rest of the game, Bills fans! We’ll publish a halftime playoff update shortly.