Bills secure factual, incorrect and gruesome with Josh Allen en route to AFC East title

It became the Miami Dolphins‘ division to lose. And that’s what they did. The Buffalo Bills came away with a 21-14 Week 18 exhaust in Miami, with Buffalo overcoming three turnovers from Josh Allen.

And for the fifth straight season, the Bills are the AFC East champs.

Even after beginning 5-5. Even after attending to 6-6. Even with the Dolphins popping out of the gate firing with a historically prolific offense initially of the season. 

Buffalo proved or now not it is a lengthy season. The Bills appear to have peaked on the honest time. Within the wild-card round of the playoffs, Buffalo, now the No. 2 seed in the AFC, will secure on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, whereas the Dolphins will decide to trudge to Kansas Metropolis to face the Chiefs.

For Allen, this game became the identical legend because the rest of the year (and perchance his whole career). There have continuously been two versions of the quarterback. Loopy Factual Josh Allen and Loopy Spoiled Josh Allen. However one quarter of the Loopy Factual became sufficient to wipe away the Loopy Spoiled in this pivotal Week 18 matchup.

However ahead of we talk more about Allen’s performance. Let’s focus on defense.

Who seen a defensive fight coming?

Not I.

The Dolphins have boasted one in all the NFL’s most explosive and prolific offenses. The Bills also sat atop the league in most offensive lessons, critically taking a explore on the 2nd half of of the season after they changed offensive coordinators, promoting Joe Brady.

It felt cherish a excessive-scoring game in the making. However scoring felt cherish an absolute fight given the overall turnovers (5 total).

Each and every defenses have handled a huge quantity of accidents, every in the game and all the map in which by the season. Each and every defenses have had their low components in the season. However I earn they’re going to every take a look on the movie and be taught about impressive performances, even the Dolphins, whose offense had multiple potentialities to exhaust but allow them to down in the fourth quarter. For Buffalo’s defense, Tua Tagovailoa made a handful of turnover-noteworthy throws and became fortunate to stroll away with merely two interceptions. His gradual-game accuracy wasn’t what it wished to be — nor became his decision-making. Tua ought to aloof never have thrown his ultimate pass of the game, an interception from Taylor Rapp who — warning: dad shaggy dog legend incoming — known because it a “rapp” on the game.

It became oddly symbolic for Tua to crumble in the fourth quarter and Allen to come alive. It became the legend of their seasons. For three-quarters of the year, the Dolphins had been the NFL’s most impressive crew to beat. After which it purchased messy, with Miami declining. Buffalo did merely the reverse: stumbling and bumbling to open the year fully to peak and procure their act collectively, even in the face of the toughest stretch in their schedule.

So let’s take a study Allen’s evening, which became as sensationally factual because it became shockingly incorrect.

Within the first quarter, Allen passed over a pass to a huge-open Stefon Diggs, who entirely shook cornerback Jalen Ramsey. A pass in-run would’ve been a lengthy touchdown. 

Allen later passed over a touchdown alternative on the end of the first half of, with a throw to Ty Johnson looking the function line as time expired. McDermott had burned the overall Bills’ timeouts — a mistake for my share. However Allen wished to play with that in solutions. He threw to Johnson at a living where he wished to either procure into the end zone or the Bills wouldn’t ranking components. When Johnson became short, Buffalo didn’t have time to spike the ball. So they ended the first half of on the two-yard line without scoring components. 

“That ball can now not be thrown in the discipline of play. It’s purchased to be after all zone,” McDermott told NBC all the map in which by the halftime fracture.

However then there had been the takeaways, where the Dolphins exploited Allen’s propensity for unhealthy play. Rob Christian Wilkins‘ forced fumble and recovery. It became a excellent one-man display camouflage, a reminder that even defensive tackles can have a quarterback-cherish affect on a game. Wilkins beat his blocker, attacked Allen’s fingers, knocked the ball free and held onto it for the recovery.

Allen’s first interception became a miscue between him and receiver Gabe Davis in the endzone, with Allen throwing for one route and Davis working one other. In flip, cornerback Eli Apple without problem fielded the ball after all zone. Something identical came about on Allen’s 2nd touchdown, with the quarterback tossing up a prayer on fourth down — but safety DeShon Elliott fielded what became if truth be told a punt from Allen.

It’s now not cherish Allen didn’t have the explosive performs that carry out him so unhealthy in the first half of. He and Diggs had been on the identical page for the rest of the evening (apart from the costly overthrow). Diggs finished with seven catches for 87 yards and his 36-yard reception became a jaw-dropper with Allen throwing a fadeaway pass and Diggs in a map bodying his defender away for a finger-tip keep. However then Allen’s pass-catchers let him down, merely cherish he allow them to down, at cases. Allen hit James Cook in the fingers for what ought to aloof’ve been a sensational touchdown. Cook’s fall came on the force on the end of the first force that yielded zero components.

In that fourth quarter, nonetheless, Allen keep collectively the trudge-ahead force when he became 5 of 5 for 64 yards and a passing touchdown. It became a cut of perfection, admittedly mired in a huge quantity of his earlier drives. 

Then we seen the strangest facet to Allen of all: Game Manager. Not Loopy Josh Allen. 

He became checking the ball down. He rushed the ball and dove in bounds to retain the clock working. He snuck the ball up the middle for first downs. He did whatever he could perchance perchance perchance moreover to exhaust the game and protect the Bills’ lead, alongside side speeding for a most essential down on third-and-13 — a snatch play that became a gigantic effort in killing the clock and bringing the game to an end.

When Allen couldn’t convert the ball on fourth-and-1 to ice the game in the ultimate two minutes, the defense stepped up for their QB in a display camouflage of complimentary football. And whereas the Bills proceed to exhaust gruesome, they proceed to exhaust — which is why they look as unhealthy as somebody in the discipline in the AFC. It’s now not a vivid product in Buffalo. It’s rough. It’s wild. However perchance or now not it is sufficient for them to lastly fracture their Natty Bowl cold snap.

Sooner than becoming a member of FOX Sports actions because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years keeping the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports actions Media Community and Boston Globe Media. Apply him on Twitter at @henrycmckenna.

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