ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — The Dolphins came into Orchard Park riding high after a 70-point performance in Week 3. The Bills answered with an equally impressive performance, dominating the Dolphins en route to a 48-20 win.
Josh Allen finished with just as many touchdowns as incompletions. He completed 21 of his 25 attempts for 320 yards and four touchdowns. That performance was good for a perfect passer rating, the first time in his career he’s accomplished that feat. Three of Allen’s touchdowns went to Stefon Diggs, who caught six passes for 120 yards.
We’ve gotten to a point where we have an ‘earn it’ mindset,” said Diggs. “Nothing’s going to be given to us. Stay humble, stay hungry. But each and every week, each and every day we’ve got to earn it. We can’t expect to win if you don’t earn it during the week. We’ve just been approaching practice the right way.”
“The world tries to count us out and we love it. We’re going to stay that underdog,” said left tackle Dion Dawkins. “We’re still the same Bills. After the first week, who cares? Positive plays, this is the Buffalo Bills’ ball.”
The good feelings from the victory were dampened in the fourth quarter when Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White suffered a potentially serious non-contact injury. White left the game and was being evaluated for an Achilles injury.
Points were expected in this game and both offenses delivered early. Each team scored on their first two offensive drives and there was not an incomplete pass thrown in the first quarter. Gabe Davis and James Cook scored for the Bills while De’Von Achane tallied both of Miami’s touchdowns.
Buffalo’s next drive featured the first two passes that hit the ground, but the first was still a good outcome for Buffalo. Kohou was hand-fighting with Stefon Diggs down the left sideline and got hit with a 43-yard pass interference penalty. Allen cashed it in a few plays later with a scrambling 11-yard throw to Diggs for Buffalo’s third consecutive TD to start the game.
“Our thought process every time we touch the ball is to score,” said Allen. “Whether it be six or three, no turnovers today, which is great. I still think there are some things that we can clean up. As good as it looked out there, the film is never as bad or never as good as you think it’s going to look.”
There was finally a break of serve on the next drive. Miami took an illegal formation and false start penalty to end up in 3rd and 17. A third-down screen to Mostert turned into a fumble thanks to Johnson. Micah Hyde had a golden chance to recover the fumble but tried to pick the ball up instead of falling on it. Miami recovered, but still had to punt.
Each team punted one more time before the Bills got back in the end zone.
Two plays after Miami’s punt, Diggs got loose from Kohou (despite an illegal contact penalty on the play). Twice. The first got Buffalo’s number one wideout free for a 15-yard catch. Diggs then escaped a pair of two defensive backs and finished a 55-yard catch and run that put Buffalo in front 28-14.
The Bills’ defense came up big again on the next drive. Matt Milano stuffed a 3rd and one sweep to Mostert short and forced a fumble. Terrel Bernard recovered. Tyler Bass made it count with a 53-yard field goal and Buffalo was in command with a 31-14 halftime lead.
Members of the Bills defense cited several reasons for the turnaround after the first two drives. One was the fact that they had to get used to playing in front of a raucous home crowd, which required the defense to use hand signals for about 40% of the team’s plays according to Sean McDermott.
The other was adjusting to the unique way that Miami plays offense.
“We were just trying to get a feel of how they were attacking us, how they were coming out, all of their different motions,” said safety Taylor Rapp, who started for the injured Jordan Poyer. “All of those unique out-motion, jet-motion, moving around and stuff. Just getting a feel and settling in and we got into a good groove.”
“We stuck to the plan the whole way through. We settled in a little bit and we got some information early on what they were trying to attack us on and how they were moving the ball,” said Bernard. “After that, I felt like we played well.”
Miami needed a touchdown to open the second half and they got it. Tagovailoa converted a third and three with his legs then found Berrios for an 11-yard TD on third and 6. The Dolphins went for two, but Dane Jackson won a 1-on-1 battle with Hill to knock the pass away.
Allen authored one of his typically incredible plays to get Buffalo points on their next drive. A scramble to his left allowed both Cook and Dawson Knox to leak into a zone covered by one defender. Allen flipped a ball in stride to Cook and he went 48 yards to the Miami 16-yard line. A sack stopped the drive, but Buffalo got another Bass field goal and extended the lead to 34-20.
The next sequence was probably the back-breaker. Tagovailoa tried to fit a throw to Robbie Chosen that was too tight. The ball sailed and Hyde made an easy interception. Four plays later, Diggs was in the end zone for a third time with a 13-yard touchdown pass and a 21-point Bills lead. Deonte Harty did well to keep the drive alive, avoiding two tackles near the sideline for seven yards on third and five.
“The wins don’t happen on Sunday. The wins happen on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.” said wide receiver Trent Sherfield. “All of the prep that goes into it.”
“Our guys were very locked in on details this week,” said Allen. “[Offensive coordinator Ken] Dorsey had a heck of a gameplan and our guys went out there and did it.”
Everything was going right for the Bills until Miami’s next drive. The Bills got off the field with a fourth-down stop, but Tre’Davious White suffered a non-contact injury on the play. White was running back in coverage when he spun around after injuring his right leg.
The Bills announced that White was being evaluated for an Achilles injury. While on the ground, he threw his helmet about 20 yards in anger and frustration. White was emotional as he was carted off the field after being surrounded by his teammates on the ground.
The Bills scored their final points on the next drive, with Allen rushing in for an 11-yard touchdown.
Tagovailoa finished with 25 completions on 35 attempts with 282 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Achane finished with eight carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
The win puts the Bills tied with the Dolphins in the AFC East with a 3-1 record, with the Bills holding the tiebreaker as a result of the victory.
The two teams will meet again in Miami in Week 18, the final week of the regular season.
The Bills will head across the pond next week to play the Jacksonville Jaguars at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England. The Jaguars played in London on Sunday, defeating the Falcons 23-7.