The Buffalo Bills are 11-3, in first place in both the conference and division, and just clinched a fourth consecutive playoff berth with their 32-29 win over the Miami Dolphins. The team can win the AFC East with a win over the Chicago Bears next week.
The weekly Next Gen Stats (NGS) have dropped, which allows us Bills fans to gain a better understanding of what went right and what went wrong. The game wasn’t always pretty, but Buffalo came out of it with a hard-fought win — and were praised by NGS as a result.
Quarterback Josh Allen continues to amaze with his abilities to extend plays and pure will to win football games. Near the end of the second quarter, Allen ran towards the right sideline and, just as he jumped out of bounds, he threw a missile to running back James Cook for a four-yard touchdown as time expired. It was Allen’s third touchdown pass of the first half and second “on the run.” Per NGS, Allen took 7.17 seconds to throw and hit a top speed of 14.71 mph while looking for an open man. The completion probability of the play was just 36.4%.
An interesting stat about Allen is that he went 4-of-4 for 46 yards and two touchdowns on pass attempts when traveling 8-plus mph. Since 2020, he has thrown 27 touchdown passes “on the run” — the most in the NFL in that span, since recently passing quarterback Patrick Mahomes (26). Allen wasn’t just thriving on the run, but also on intermediate throws and with his legs. Again per NGS, on intermediate throws, he went 10-of-19 for 173 yards and three touchdowns — and on seven designed run carries, he generated plus-52 rushing yards over expected (RYOE).
Allen was on fire, and the receivers produced viable numbers, but tight end Dawson Knox stood out. He generated plus-18 yards after catch over expected (YACOE) on his 45-yard, first-quarter snag — the most YACOE on a single play among tight ends this week, per NGS.
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa connected with wide receiver Tyreek Hill on a 20-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to bring his total completions of over 20 air yards to 25, only trailing Allen (26). The Bills’ defense defended the Dolphins’ playmaking wide receivers well, with Tagovailoa routinely hitting receivers who were smothered — bringing his aggressiveness score to 43%, which led all quarterbacks in Week 15. Tagovailoa went 17-of-30 for 234 yards and two touchdowns with a passer rating of 104 in cold, snowy weather (even though it didn't even snow until the fourth quarter).
The Dolphins used running back Raheem Mostert early, and he absolutely torched the Bills’ defense, picking up over 100 yards himself in just the first quarter. On his 67-yard carry, he reached 20.19 mph, the fastest speed by any running back on a rushing play in Week 15. Mostert generated plus-64 RYOE on that single play, but minus-6 RYOE on all runs outside of that play, finishing with a plus-58 RYOE on the day, per NGS. In comparison, Bills running back Devin Singletary finished the day with the second-lowest RYOE figure in Week 15, with minus-21 RYOE. Interestingly, Mostert also had the fastest top speed of the week by any ball carrier, reaching 21.23 mph on a first-quarter, 28-yard kickoff return. Despite torching Buffalo early and often, Mostert did not face a single stacked box.
Although the numbers show the Bills played the Dolphins’ receivers aggressively, they still produced. Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle reached a top speed of 21.11 mph on his 67-yard touchdown catch. It was a mental lapse on the part of the Bills’ defense, because Waddle had a whopping 6.5 yards of separation on the catch, giving the play a completion probability of 60.1%. The Bills gave Waddle the lowest average cushion at the line of scrimmage (3.4 yards) and tied for the fifth-least separation at the time of his catches and incomplete intended targets. Buffalo did the same thing with Hill, as his average cushion was 4.1 yards and average separation was 1.7 yards, per NGS.