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The Way I See It... From the Desk of Ed Kilgore

Bills Weather the Dolphins Storm

We’re all used to Lake Effect snow and dire weather warnings around Buffalo in December, and we all know sometimes it’s worse than we expected, and sometimes better. 


It’s just weird.


Such was the case in the Bills pulse pounding 32-29 win over the Miami Dolphins Saturday night at Highmark Stadium, where all week we were told to expect significant snowfall before, during and after the game. 


Not even close.


It was cold, not that windy, and the field was dry as 71,000 fans had to dig in their own snow packed seats.  They were loud and proud and didn’t care, although a few idiots couldn’t resist tossing snowballs at the field in general and at the Dolphins in particular.


So were the Dolphins affected by the weather?


Not at all as it turns out.  Rookie head coach Mike McDaniel looks like your computer genius, and to his credit he had the Dolphins more than ready to go in a huge game for both teams.


The Dolphins, who’d looked surprisingly bad in two straight losses on the west coast, bounced back and nearly slipped out of Orchard Park with a W.  They played a near perfect game with no turnovers, and a sharp performance from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who among other things threw a couple of long TD passes perfectly to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.


The Dolphins also shocked the Bills and the big crowd by running straight at the Bills, who looked like they need a refresher course in tackling. Raheem Mostert averaged 8 yards a carry as the Dolphins ran the ball unlike any game until now.


The Bills did adjust in the 2nd half, but it was a physical brawl and the Dolphins were winning the battles, even though they trailed 21-13 at the half.


When the Bills play, it’s always about Josh Allen.  Everybody tries different things to throw him off his game, but when Allen gets locked in, he’s simply unstoppable.


He did lose a fumble on a strip sack, and almost blew a sure scoring chance just before the half.  From the Dolphins 4 yard line with 8 seconds in the half, Allen almost waited too long to hit James Cook in the end zone for a TD.


It was a half second from a zero, and afterwards coach Sean McDermott said if Allen had cost points there, he’d have gone out to the parking lot to slash Allen’s tires.


Kidding of course.   I think.


The stats just don’t tell how good Allen was, as the Bills had to shuffle around some O-Line injuries, including another concussion to center Mitch Morse.  Allen finished with 304 yards and 4 TD’s passing and added another 77 to be the Bills leading rusher.  Again.


But here’s why Allen is a great – not good – great quarterback.


With the game tied 29-29 in the 4th quarter, the Bills started a drive from their own 7 yard line with just under 6 minutes left in the game.  The temptation is to be extremely careful, because a mistake down here is a killer.


Give OC Ken Dorsey some credit here.  He trusts Allen, and gave him a solid plan to mix the pass and run, but with some downfield passes part of the plan.


Allen, much like the game at Baltimore, hit some key third downs and used his legs as well to slowly march down the field. Eventually Devin Singletary in a da ja vu moment, went down just before scoring a TD to ensure the Bengals wouldn’t get the ball back.


Don’t laugh.  You want to bet against a Hill or Waddle breaking one from anywhere on the field?


So with his O-line brushing away some snow for Tyler Bass, the snap and hold and kick were perfect as the snow fell and the crowd roared and the Bills won it 32-29.


Snow angels  all around.


It wasn’t all perfect.  A huge special teams gaffe came in the third quarter when the Bills forced a 3 and out near midfield. Inexplicably, backup cornerback Cam Lewis piled into the punter, and the roughing the kicker PF gave the Fins the ball and momentum.  Lewis is a great story, a UB kid undrafted who made an NFL roster, but this one could have cost the game.


Tight End Dawson Knox jumped back into the picture.  Six catches for 96 yards and a TD.  But Knox also had a couple bad drops.


Cornerback Tre White continues to get back to form with several strong plays, although he was beaten by Hill for a 20 yard TD.  He’s not alone there.


So the playoff picture keeps changing.  The Pats are out at 7-7 with a mind blowing loss at Vegas and the Jets are also 7-7 with a home loss to the Lions.  Miami is 8-6 and very much alive and dangerous for anybody.


Next up on Saturday Christmas Eve, the Bills play the Bears in Chicago at 1pm.  The Bears are 3-11 after a tough 25-20 home loss to the Eagles, and the Bills are early 9.5 point favorites.


The Bills can’t look ahead, so we’ll do it for you.  After the Bears game, the Bills get a couple extra days’ rest before playing at Cincinnati in a Monday Night game that could well determine who gets the AFC top seed.


Allen vs Joe Burrow.


That works.


But for now, it’s all about Da Bears!





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