Bills’ romp denies Dolphins a spot in the playoffs

By Reuters
NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

EditorsNote: Updates hedline, 3rd graf with Dolphins out of playoffs

Miami native Isaiah McKenzie scored three second-quarter touchdowns to lead the Buffalo Bills to a 56-26 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon at Orchard Park, N.Y.

Buffalo (13-3) clinched the No. 2 seed in the AFC, giving the Bills home field for their first two games, if they advance.

Miami (10-6) was denied a playoff spot with the loss, and when the Indianapolis Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars later on Sunday.

McKenzie caught touchdown passes of 7 and 14 yards from Josh Allen. McKenzie also returned a punt 84 yards for his third score and finished the game with 181 all-purpose yards.

Allen set the Bills single-season, passing-yardage record in the second quarter, beating Drew Bledsoe’s 2002 mark of 4,359 yards. Allen played just one half, completing 18 of 25 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns to complete the regular season with 4,544 yards.

Allen was sacked once and intercepted once before Matt Barkley replaced him.

Miami rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 35 of 58 passes for 361 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard recorded his 10th interception, which leads the NFL.

Buffalo returned to its lineup receiver John Brown, who missed five games (injury/COVID-19) and he caught four passes for 72 yards and one touchdown. But receiver Cole Beasely (knee) was out and the Bills rested three defensive starters: cornerback Tre’Davious White and defensive ends Mario Addison and Jerry Hughes.

The Dolphins got back receiver DeVante Parker (hamstring), and he had seven catches for 116 yards. But linebacker Elandon Roberts (knee), receiver Jakeem Grant (ankle) and key backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (COVID) were out.

Miami, on its first possession, gained a 3-0 advantage on Jason Sanders’ 49-yard field goal. Miami had a short field after Byron Jones’ interception.

However, Buffalo dominated the second quarter as Allen threw the two TD passes to McKenzie and then a 32-yarder to Brown, giving the Bills a 28-6 halftime lead.

Miami cut its deficit to 28-13 by taking the second-half kickoff and driving 75 yards for a score. Miami appeared stopped on a fourth-down incompletion in the end zone. But after interference was called on Josh Norman, Myles Gaskin ran for a 1-yard touchdown.

Norman got his revenge on Miami’s next drive, intercepting a Tagovailoa pass and running 16 yards for his third career pick-six. Prior to the pick and in the allowable first five yards, Norman bumped Parker, who fell, and no penalty was called.

The Bills cruised from there.

–Field Level Media

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