The Miami Dolphins, sporting seventh-round pick and third-string quarterback Skyler Thompson, gave Josh Allen and the second-ranked Buffalo Bills a scare in the third quarter, but the Super Bowl favorites held on for a 34-31 Super Bowl victory. Wild Card Weekend advances to the AFC Divisional Round. They jumped out to an early 17-0 lead, but clawed their way back to a 34-24 edge before a crucial turnover with 2:22 left in the game forced the loss.
The Dolphins faced third-and-1 from their own 48 following a 14-yard completion from Thompson to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. They started to run up the middle with no gain and then chaos broke out. As the game clock wound down, Miami struggled to get a hold, but the play was whistled dead after Thompson snapped the ball. He went to Tyreek Hill. However, the play never counted, and Thompson’s pass on fourth-and-six was ripped from tight end Mike Gesicki’s hands, ending Miami’s chance of being tied for the second-biggest playoff loss in the Super Bowl era. spreading.
The Bills entered Sunday’s game as 14-point favorites, the largest in wild-card round history (since 1978), and looked good early as they rattled off 17 consecutive points: Allen’s touchdown pass to tight end Dawson Knox, a 12-yard rushing touchdown by running back James Cook. The score and a 33-yard field goal by kicker Tyler Bass. The second touchdown came after Thompson was intercepted by safety Dean Marlowe, filling in for an injured Tamar Hamlin.
The Dolphins rallied to take leads of 20-17 and 24-20, but Allen brought the Bills back despite three turnovers — two interceptions and a fumble. Sunday marked his first three-turnover game since Week 10 in the Bills’ 33-30 overtime home loss against the Minnesota Vikings.
Allen eventually got off the mat and bounced back to throw back-to-back touchdowns, including a six-and-a-half score to the recently reacquired Beasley and a 23-yard strike to Gabe Davis. Allen finished with 352 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on 23-of-39 passing, giving him his fourth career playoff game with over 300 yards. All others in Bills history have tied for four such games.
With the win, the Bills are in a position to wait and see who their next opponent will be in the divisional round. If the sixth-seeded Baltimore Ravens beat the third-seeded Cincinnati Bengals Sunday night, the fourth-seeded AFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars will travel to Buffalo.
However, if the Bengals take care of business against the Lamar Jackson-less Ravens, they will face the Bills next week in the divisional round. The Dolphins are still searching for their first playoff win since the 2000 season, the second longest active drought since the Detroit Lions’ wait since the 1991 season.