With the 2017 NFL season in the books following a fairly surprising playoff berth, we look back at the season and our beloved Buffalo Bills. Every week is a story, and we bring this to you through the lens of key plays that defined the game. Your Week 15 match-up:
Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Coming off a snowvertime victory against the Indianapolis Colts, the Buffalo Bills sat at 7-6. Next up, the visiting Miami Dolphins would close out a three-game stretch at home with the last game at New Era Field for the 2017 season. The 6-7 Jay Cutler-led Dolphins had been all over the map. Two games in which the Dolphins failed to score stood in stark contrast to beating the New England Patriots in Week 14. Who were the Dolphins in 2017? That depended on the week. The only certainty was that the Bills needed a win.
In the first half, an atypically effective Buffalo offense led the team to a 21-6 lead. In a tale of two halves, a lone field goal was the only score for a coasting Buffalo offense after halftime. The defense played consistently well throughout the game, but put up highlight reel plays throughout the entire second half. Four fumbles courtesy of Jay Cutler and three interceptions all came in the final 30 minutes of play. Despite that, Miami put ten points up in the fourth quarter and retrieved on onside kick to attempt a miracle comeback.
McCoy TD (Q2, 6:10)
This was touchdown number two for LeSean McCoy. The first came on the Bills opening drive, something the team hadn’t accomplished in 19 games. Easily slipping past the underneath coverage, the back end doesn’t react until it’s much too late. Tyrod Taylor makes the throw right at the end of his drop-back and this score made taking candy from a baby look “C. Montgomery Burns”-tier complicated. Just a week removed from snowvertime, it’s pretty wild to see only that tiny pile of snow at the end of the clip.
Taylor TD (Q2, 0:40)
The Bills owned the first half. In the waning minute of the second quarter, Tyrod Taylor takes advantage of what appears to be a designed run. Legend has it that audible pops from broken ankles could be heard in the 300-level seats. Some quick moves combined with a perfect angle to beat the coverage and put the ball over the pylon show why, if nothing else, Taylor provided exciting moments for Bills fans.
Shareece Wright interception (Q3, 8:01)
The Dolphins received the ball coming back after the half. Jay Cutler was promptly intercepted by Jordan Poyer. The Bills couldn’t capitalize and gave the ball back to Miami. On their second try of the second half, Cutler fumbled (and recovered the ball) and then was picked off by Shareece Wright on this play. Wright fumbles the ball himself at the end, and was able to fall on it. This interception and return set the Bills up for their final score of the game, a 34-yard Stephen Hauschka field goal.
Jay Cutler fumble and Tre’Davious White pass defended (Q4, 9:11)
The Dolphins would go on to score a touchdown on this drive, but this play embodies much of the second half. Jay Cutler managed to recover them all, but “four fumbles” speaks volumes about his comfort level. While Cutler isn’t exactly known for “looking” comfortable in the first place, this game found him looking downright terrorized. Tre’Davious White nearly secures the interception as Cutler makes an ill-advised attempt to fit in this pass quickly after scooping the ball off the turf.
Nordly “Cap” Capi strip-sack (Q4, 2:57)
In Cap Capi’s last appearance at The Cap, he caps off this play by swiping the ball out of Cutler’s
cap hand. The defensive line had a solid victory all around. As Cutler falls on the ball, three defensive linemen fall on him.
Tre’Davious White interception (Q4, 0:37)
A late field goal with only 43 seconds left in the game was followed up by a successful onside kick. The Dolphins would need to move the ball 63 yards in 37 seconds and score a two-point conversion to send the game to overtime. It was a long shot, but it was a shot. Tre’Davious White snags his interception to seal the game for Buffalo. White also shows off his football acumen by giving himself up rather than risking a fumble or taking a big hit.