Bills charge back in second half to win AFC East, No. 2 seed over Dolphins

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The Buffalo Bills used a second-half comeback to defeat the Miami Dolphins, 21-14, to win the AFC East. 

The Bills are now the No. 2 seed in the AFC, while the Dolphins move to the No. 6 seed in a brutal turn of events as they’ll need to travel Kansas City to face the No. 3 Chiefs. 

Buffalo will host two playoff games at home if they win next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 


Dawson Knox runs in for touchdown

Dawson Knox #88 of the Buffalo Bills runs for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

The game began with some great defensive plays for both teams, as there were three interceptions in the first four drives before any points got on the board. 

First, it was Tua Tagovailoa looking for Tyreek Hill on a deep ball down the left side when Christian Benford hauled in the pass instead for Buffalo. 

But Josh Allen returned the favor on a crushing drive for the Bills, as Eli Apple won the battle in the end zone on third-and-goal from Miami’s 5-yard line. It was a 6:45 drive that ended with no points.


After another pass was intercepted from Allen, the Dolphins finally got the points seal with a methodic drive of their own. 

De’Von Achane, the speedy rookie running back that has added to the lethal offensive weapons in Mike McDaniel’s offense this season, made a few Bills defenders miss on his 25-yard touchdown run. However, much like the interception streak, touchdowns started pouring in. 

The Bills got on to respond to Achane’s score, and it was in the wackiest way possible. 

Tyreek Hill backflip

Tyreek Hill #10 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after a touchdown during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Rich Storry/Getty Images)

On an RPO play, Allen decided to pull the ball on second-and-goal from Miami’s six-yard line and try to hit the slanting Trent Sherfield. But the ball was tipped at the offensive line and flew into the air.

No one but Sherfield saw the ball in the air, though, and he tracked it while keeping his two feet in bounds and made the catch to the bewilderment of everyone at Hard Rock Stadium. 

The Dolphins didn’t like losing their lead, and Tagovailoa used Hill to get down the field quickly for a touchdown to make things 14-7. Hill was the target on a quick out route near the goal line, and after hauling it in, the speedster did a celebratory backflip in the end zone. 

Things weren’t going well for the Bills to start the second half after a first-drive punt followed by a wild fumble recovery for Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, who simply stole the ball out of Allen’s hand while they were driving. 

Tua Tagovailoa looks to throw

Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins looks to pass during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Rich Storry/Getty Images)

But momentum changed immediately when Deonte Harty took a Dolphins punt after the ensuing drive 96 yards to the house to tie the game up. If the tie wasn’t enough, the Bills got a three-and-out and used it to take their first lead of the night. 

Allen worked his way downfield, finding rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid for 26 yards and Khalil Shakir for 28 yards to set things up first-and-goal from Miami’s three-yard line. 

Two plays later, Dawson Knox reached over the goal line to score from five yards out, taking a 21-14 lead. 

The Dolphins had a chance with 1:53 left to play after stuffing Allen on a fourth-and-1 chance following the two-minute warning. But once again, Tagovailoa threw a bad interception, this time to Taylor Rapp who saw him targeting Chase Claypool all the way. 

Josh Allen runs with ball

Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills rushes during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on January 07, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

The pick sealed the game, and despite a tough regular season, the Bills are a top seed in the AFC and looking to make a playoff run. 

Looking at the stat sheet, Allen finished 30-of-38 for 359 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while rushing for 67 yards on 15 carries. Shakir had 105 yards on six catches, while Stefon Diggs had 87 yards on seven catches. 


For the Dolphins, Tagovailoa was 17 of 27 for 173 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, with Hill leading all receivers on his squad with 82 yards on seven catches. 

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