Bills blitz Dolphins, reset balance of power atop NFL

Sunday's Bills-Dolphins showdown started as a shootout. It ended as a Buffalo statement.

Buffalo slowed Miami's scorching offense while putting on a clinic of its own in a commanding 48-20 win. The victory gives the Bills the early edge in the AFC East while resetting the balance of power atop the NFL.

5 possessions, 5 touchdowns

The first quarter brought the promised fireworks of the most anticipated game of the young NFL season. The first five drives produced five touchdowns as Buffalo opened a 21-14 lead. Allen (8 for 8) and Tagovailoa (6 for 6) posted perfect first-quarter passing efforts while breakout rookie running De'Von Achane scored Miami's first two touchdowns, raising his scoring tally to six in two weeks.

While Buffalo's offense kept up the pace, its defense frustrated Tagovailoa with confusing coverages and an aggressive pass rush that produced four sacks and an interception. A Dolphins offense that scored 70 points in a historic Week 3 effort against the Denver Broncos produced just six points after halftime against the Bills.

Stefon Diggs, center, celebrates a touchdown with Josh Allen, right and  Spencer Brown. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Stefon Diggs, center, celebrates a touchdown with Josh Allen, right and Spencer Brown. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Allen, Diggs connect for 3 touchdowns

Allen, meanwhile, had his best game of the season while reigniting his connection with wide receiver Stefon Diggs. The pair hooked up for three touchdown passes against a Dolphins secondary helpless to contain the All-Pro receiver.

Diggs' first touchdown secured the 21-14 edge for Buffalo. His second extended the lead to 28-14 as he shed a pair of would-be Dolphins tacklers on a 55-yard catch and run down the left sideline.

Buffalo's defense, meanwhile, held Miami scoreless for four consecutive possessions, forcing three punts and a Raheem Mostert fumble to close out the first half as the Bills built their lead to 31-14. The Dolphins opened the third quarter with a touchdown, but Buffalo responded with 17 unanswered points to close out the game.

Allen finished the day completing 21 of 25 passes for 320 yards with four touchdowns and no turnovers. He repeatedly put his signature athleticism on display to produce big chunk plays for the Bills, including this scramble and pass to running back James Cook for a 48-yard gain.

That pass set the Bills up for a field goal to take a 34-20 lead.

Diggs finished with six catches for 120 yards. His third touchdown of the day late in the third quarter all but put the game out of reach for Miami.

Bills frustrate Tua

Tagovailoa, meanwhile, faced the stiffest defensive test of his season. After taking just one sack during Miami's 3-0 start, he took four Sunday as Buffalo repeatedly clogged passing lanes and forced him to hold onto the ball.

An overthrow on a downfield ball intended for Robbie Chosen instead landed in the arms of safety Micah Hyde for an interception near midfield.

That turnover set up Diggs' third touchdown catch just four plays later.

Tagovailoa completed 25 of 35 passes on the day for 282 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Achane was the brightest spot in Miami's offense while tallying 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns as he took the lead running back role from Raheem Mostert. Mostert managed just 9 yards on seven carries. He fumbled twice, losing one.

The Bills outgained the Dolphins on offense, 414 yards to 393. While the advantage was minimal, Buffalo's drives produced touchdowns as Miami's produced multiple mistakes and breakdowns.

Meanwhile the Bills welcomed the return of safety Damar Hamlin, who made his 2023 debut in his first game since suffering cardiac arrest on the field last season. He was limited to special teams play on Sunday, but his return in front of a Buffalo crowd provided an emotional boost for the Bills.

While it was a day to celebrate in Buffalo, the Bills leave Sunday down a top defender. Cornerback Tre'Davious White left the field on a cart after sustaining a non-contact leg injury in the second half.

The Buffalo win leaves both teams tied at 3-1 atop the AFC East while giving the Bills the tiebreaker advantage in the series. They'll meet again in Week 18 to close out the regular season in Miami.