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Buffalo Bills 31, Miami Dolphins 28: Rapid recap and notes

The new age of Bills offense has arrived!

Match-ups between the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are always memorable, but this one, in the year 2020, definitely set a standard. The bizarre day featured downpours, power outages, lightning delays, and 750 combined passing yards. A team known for great defense had to count on its offense to keep victory in reach, and for the first time in a while, the offense delivered. Buffalo won this shootout, 31-28.

A week after picking apart the New York Jets with dinking and dunking, Josh Allen turned into a B-52 Bomber and pummeled the Miami Dolphins into submission with deep pass after deep pass. His spectacular performance couldn’t have come at a better time, with Buffalo’s defense struggling in the absence of their star linebackers. A week after he notched his first career 300-yard passing game, Allen had his first 400-yard passing game. Outside of a lull in the third quarter, Allen was unstoppable: he was on pace for 500 passing yards at halftime.

Allen’s always been a Dolphin predator since entering the league. In his first four games against them, he averaged three touchdowns and 300 yards of offense. Yet today’s performance may be the finest one yet. In the past, Allen used his gazelle-like running ability to slice up the defense. Today, he looked like vintage Ben Roethlisberger, standing tall in the pocket and raining down destruction. Allen averaged 11.8 yards per attempt today, thanks to his incredible deep throws—he had 17.0 yards per completion! Stefon Diggs was the main benefactor, holding a majestic 8/153/1 receiving slash, but John Brown (4/82/1) and Cole Beasley (5/70/0) got theirs, too.

The Dolphins, and venerable QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, did not let Buffalo walk away quietly. They fiercely fought back time and again, taking the lead at one point in the third quarter, and Fitzpatrick brought the team within three with less than a minute remaining. Miami took advantage of the missing Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano, turning to tight end Mike Gesicki time and again. He had eight catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. After the second half began, the game never felt in hand until the closing minutes of the game—but the Bills rallied when they had to, preserving a 24-20 lead with a punt, leading to one last TD drive by Allen.

The Bills are now 2-0 on the season, keeping their first-place standing intact for another week.

Injury Report

Dawson Knox suffered a concussion in the second half and didn’t return to the game. Ed Oliver twisted his leg after getting tripped, and left the game briefly, but returned to play out the string.

Miscellaneous

  • Josh Allen is now doing things we haven’t seen since DREW BLEDSOE. It has been nearly 20 years since we had any semblance of effective quarterback play, people, but here it is.
  • Allen’s 417 passing yards are a career high. So are his four passing touchdowns, his 11.8 YPA, and his 17.0 YPC.
  • It was the second consecutive 300-yard passing game for Allen, the first time the Bills have seen that since Bledsoe. It was also the second 300-yard passing game with zero interceptions, which last happened for the Bills in 2000.
  • Stefon Diggs opened the season with 16 catches in his first two games, the first time we’ve seen that since 2002.
  • The Bills did a little benching/rotation amid their lineup today. Brian Winters swapped in for Cody Ford at right guard, and Siran Neal came in for Levi Wallace at one point.
  • Wallace really struggled in man coverage today, frequently picked on by Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins dominated him with big receivers and quick slants.
  • Gabriel Davis hauled in his first career touchdown, and it was a gorgeous diving pluck in the back of the end zone. Here’s to many more!
  • Davis wasn’t the only rookie with his first career touchdown: Reggie Gilliam, fullback/tight end, caught one as well in the first quarter.
  • The Bills’ rushing offense was better than last week, but not by much. Devin Singletary led the group with 10 carries for 56 yards. But the team still piled up 531 yards of offense.
  • Along with that impressive offense, the Bills gained 8.9 yards per play. That’s practically a first down every time they snap the ball.