Dawson KnoxPhoto: Getty Images
Buffalo and Miami did their best to try and follow events in Minnesota. The third game of Saturday’s NFL triple-header ultimately failed because when the Vikings decide to play a drunken football game, it’s Frank the Tank who takes his first sip of alcohol.
However, Bills-Dolphins saw more lead changes, as many draws, and Bills Mafia sang “Let It Snow” in the fourth quarter when the flakes finally emerged. And when it started to snow in Buffalo, so did Devin Singletary. On the last drive of the game, the running back doubled his carries from six to 13 and gained 36 of his 42 yards that night.
A pair of Josh Allen completions and a 21-yard PI call accounted for 50 of the other 86 yards on the 15-minute, nearly six-minute drive that Tyler Bass capped with a game-winning field goal after time was up. The win secured the Bills a fourth straight trip into the postseason and kept them in the driver’s seat for the one-seed in the AFC.
The win wasn’t as easy as the final drive looked as the home side went into the break eight points clear only to see Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill reverse the script in the second half and take eight points themselves made with just under 12 minutes into the game.
Allen, who was phenomenal once again, then went for 75 yards, found Dawson Knox for six and then converted the two-point try himself to tie it at 29. He finished with 304 in the air, 77 on the floor and four passing touchdowns.
When a team is as revered as Buffalo, we look for bugs because they’re so hard to find, and my only problem is the running game. This was the ninth time in 14 games that Allen had led the team in rushing, so I made it my mission to lead with singletary.
He was on his way to being an afterthought on Saturday, but when conditions made it risky to fall behind in the final minutes of the contest to pass, Singletary got hard-earned yards to set up or convert third downs and even walked to the ground – as opposed to the end zone – allowing the Bills to shorten the clock to four seconds for the walkoff kick.
Buffalo has three losses this year. The first was the Flukey game in Week 3 against the Finns as they ran 90 games against Miami’s 39 and lost. The second came against the Jets and could have been Allen’s worst performance of the season. The third was the bat-crazy matchup in Minnesota, which would have been the game of the season had the Vikings not smashed the NFL record for greatest comeback on Saturday.
What impressed me the most about Buffalo is its resilience. From Weeks 11-13, they won three times in 12 days, including two Thursday games and a weather-related home game against Cleveland in Detroit. Starting security Micah Hyde is done for the year and his secondary partner Jordan Poyer has been battered all season. Nobody would blame the Bills if they were 10-4 or 9-5 instead of 11-3.
Although Buffalo sits where many NFL fans thought they would be at this point in the season, it hasn’t always been pretty. Winning when you’re the prey is hard, and it’s even harder when luck isn’t on your side.
I would congratulate the Bills on another trip to the playoffs if I thought they meant anything. The postseason may have satisfied the team and its fans four years ago. Not now. No longer. And for that they deserve extra credit.