It might not have been as easy as originally anticipated, but the Buffalo Bills are moving on.
The AFC’s No. 2 seed held on for a 34-31 win over the No. 7 Miami Dolphins at Highmark Stadium on Sunday. After jumping out to a 17-0 lead, it appeared the Bills would cruise past their AFC rival, but the Dolphins hung around and even had a chance to take a lead late in the fourth quarter.
Miami strung together 24 points in an eight-minute span to take a 24-20 lead early in the third. The Bills proceeded to go up 34-24 on consecutive touchdowns from Cole Beasley and Gabe Davis before the Dolphins made it a three-point game on a Jeff Wilson Jr. touchdown with 11 minutes remaining.
The Dolphins got the ball at their own 14-yard line with 4:24 left in regulation, but the Bills’ defense stepped up and forced a turnover on downs. Devin Singletary iced the game for Buffalo with a seven-yard run on a third-and-7.
When it came to the Bills’ offense, it was an up-and-down afternoon for Josh Allen. The star quarterback finished 23-for-39 with 352 passing yards and 20 more yards on the ground. While he had three passing touchdowns, he also turned the ball over three times with two interceptions and a lost fumble that was returned for a Dolphins touchdown.
Dolphins rookie Skylar Thompson got the start under center with Tua Tagovailoa ruled out and Teddy Bridgewater on the bench with a broken pinky. After a slow start, Thompson ended the game with a final line of 18-for-45 with 220 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
The Bills will learn who their divisional round opponent is Sunday night. If the No. 3 Cincinnati Bengals beat the No. 6 Baltimore Ravens, the Bengals will travel to Buffalo next weekend. If the Ravens beat the Bengals, the Bills will instead host the Jacksonville Jaguars next weekend and the Ravens would travel to Kansas City to take on the No. 1 Chiefs.
This is now the third straight year where the Bills have picked up a postseason win. The Dolphins, meanwhile, were aiming for their first playoff win since Dec. 30, 2000, when they beat the Indianapolis Colts in the wild card round.