Here are six things we learned from the Buffalo Bills’ 34-31 win over the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wild-Card round:
Regular season woes continue
Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Allen’s turnovers were plain ugly. Five times (2 INTs, 3 fumbles) the Bills quarterback put the ball in jeopardy.
Buffalo had a problem giving the ball away too much during the regular season and evidently they did not get themselves a clean slate heading into the postseason because that continued against the Dolphins.
But at least the good does, too
Bills safety Dean Marlowe (USAT photo)
But luckily, the positive side of this ledger followed the Bills into the playoffs.
At the end of the 2022 season, Buffalo ranked right in the middle of the turnover differential chart in the league. That, despite Allen’s interceptions and other giveaways that mounted.
Naturally the reason why the Bills ended up in the middle was because they took the ball away a healthy amount and that happened against Miami. Defensive backs Kaiir Elam and Dean Marlowe shined with picks.
Sack fest for Fins
Spencer Brown #79, Josh Allen #17 and Ryan Bates #71 of the Buffalo Bills . (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
After the Bills offense averaged 4.1 yards per carry and gave up a ridiculous seven sacks agains the Dolphins? We learned that Pro Football Focus ranking Buffalo’s offensive line only as the 23rd best in the NFL this season… looks about right.
Gabe Davis #13 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Playoff Gabe Davis is in the building.
Stefon Diggs led the Bills in receiving with seven catches and 114 yards. However, he was held quiet in the second half.
That allowed Davis to shine and boy did he. On six catches, Davis had 113 yards and a touchdown.
After regular season struggles, there could have been a debate: Do the Bills look elsewhere for production from the receiver position in the playoffs?
It was a tough one, and Cole Beasley did score his first-ever TD in the playoffs. But despite those tough games, Davis had played at a record-setting pace during the postseason in the past. We now know that guy is back for this year’s playoff run.
Studs at linebacker
Bills linebacker Matt Milano (Usat photo)
Any doubt Matt Milano was deserving of his first-team, All-Pro selection? Not anymore. He was all over against the Dolphins, notably recording two sacks and two tackles for a loss.
Not to mention, his linebacking partner played well too. Tremaine Edmunds particular thrived against the run and Miami running back Jeff Wilson Jr., not to mention his four passes defended.
The defensive line in front of these two also allowed them to shine. They deserve their share of credit.
Time to re-group
Head coach Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
All in all, the Bills survived and advanced. Usually you want to hang your hat on any playoff win, but probably not this one. It came down to the wire and Buffalo was a two-touchdown favorite over Miami.
We learned, and hopefully Bills head coach Sean McDermott did as well, that it’s time to re-group. Move forward and create a fresh start ahead of hosting the Cincinnati Bengals in the Divisional round next week.