It was far from a Picasso, but the Miami Dolphins will take it.
Desperately needing a win to snap out of four loss in five-game funk, Miami did just enough in several facets to escape with a 21 – 17 win over AFC rival Buffalo Sunday afternoon.
The Fins got three touchdown passes from Ryan Tannehill, but he only threw for 137 yards in the game. And, Miami carried the ball 23 times for just 60 yards registering only 15 first downs for the game.
Still, the defense had three takeaways and held down the Bills enough when it mattered. That would include, when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter and Miami’s defense rose to the occasion. They stopped rookie QB Josh Allen on the final two possessions trying to get the go-ahead touchdown.
Oh, and it certainly helped that a former Dolphin, taunting his old team, picked up a bad 15-yard penalty that set up the eventual game-winning score. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, who was released by Miami earlier this season, was called for taunting running back Kenyan Drake of Miami after a tackle in the fourth quarter. He then was showboating after another stop a couple of plays later, was taunting the Dolphin bench, and then was taken out of the game.
Shortly thereafter, Tannehill hit WR Kenny Stills, who had been complaining earlier in the week about not being used enough while open on pass patterns, with a 13 yard TD pass. And, Miami had the final margin 21 – 17.
Allen was effective with his wheels for the Bills running for a career-high 135 yards, which is also the most in Buffalo history by a quarterback in a game. Still, he couldn’t complete the critical fourth-down pass on their final drive trying to get another former Dolphin, Charles Clay, who was open in the end zone. Allen scrambled, threw off balance and the ball fluttered and fell short-incomplete for Miami to take over.
Bullet dodged in South Florida.
It isn’t a very memorable win, but the Dolphins will head into the final four games with a 6 – 6 record. They will obviously have to play better, if they have any hope of being part of the AFC playoff picture.
For now, they’ll just be pleased on a Sunday night that they got this one at home.
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