By Patrick Gainor, Staff Writer
In the marquee matchup of the week, the Miami Dolphins defeated the Buffalo Bills 21-19 after shutting down Josh Allen and the electric Bills offense despite a late game blunder that nearly cost them the game.
Both teams entered Week 3 as two of the top teams in the NFL. Buffalo thoroughly dominated the first two games of the season with 31-10 and 41-7 wins over the Rams and Titans, who both made the playoffs the previous year. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots in Week 1 before coming back from a 35-14 fourth quarter deficit to stun the Ravens in Baltimore. Though the Bills are favored to win the Super Bowl this year, Miami is also thought to be their biggest competition for the AFC East crown.
This game was a brutal slugfest from start to finish. Despite having possession for over 40 minutes of the game, the Dolphins defense, led by Linebacker Melvin Ingram, helped exhaust the Bills offense in the first half and held them completely out of the end zone in the second half. Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, despite leaving the game late in the first half to be evaluated for a concussion, returned to the game and drove the Dolphins down the field late to take a 21-17 lead.
The Bills responded with another long drive of their own, but were stifled at the two yard line on third and fourth down. However, the Dolphins were unable to move the ball beyond the one-yard line and the subsequent punt from Thomas Morstead deflected right off the backside of blocker Trent Sherfield and out of the endzone, leading to a safety and giving the Bills possession with 1:32 left in the game.
At midfield with 33 seconds left, Buffalo was threatening to drive into field goal range and kick for the win, but receiver Isaiah McKensie was unable to get out of bounds and stop the clock. Time expired before the Bills could spike the ball, and the Dolphins won a thriller.
For the third straight game, the Bills offense was brilliant, producing just under 500 yards of offense in the loss. Josh Allen finished the game 42/63 for 400 yards and two touchdowns, with running back Devin Singletary leading all receivers with seven catches for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Another factor that was thought to help give Miami the win was the extreme heat. The game time temperature was at about 90 degrees, with the heat index rising above 100 degrees for most of the game. With the Bills offense running 90 of the 139 total plays of the game, McKenzie, tight end Dawson Knox and tackle Spencer Brown all suffered heat illnesses during the game. Allen also mentioned in his post-game interview that “breathing was really hard sometimes.”
Tagovailoa finished the game 13/18 with 186 yards and a touchdown. Despite returning to the game out of halftime from his back injury, the league is currently opening an investigation into the handling of his injury, believing that the Miami quarterback was concussed for the second half of the game due to how he stumbled before his exit. If Tagovailoa is found to be injured, the Dolphins organization will be penalized by the NFL Players Association.
Miami improves to 3-0 and is now in first place for the AFC East. They will take on the Bengals next week at Paycor on Thursday Night Football. The Bills fall to 2-1 and will return to action on Sunday against the Ravens in Baltimore.
Bengals 27, Jets 12: After two brutal losses to start the season, the Bengals blew out the Jets in New York to get their much-needed first win of the season. Joe Burrow had a great return to form, going 23/36 for 275 yards and three touchdowns. Despite allowing just two less yards to the Jets offense, the Bengals defense forced two interceptions and two fumble recoveries to keep the Jets grounded all game.
Colts 20, Chiefs 17: After getting shut out in Jacksonville last week, everyone expected the Colts to be walked over by Mahomes and the Chiefs. However, a muffed punt, a missed field goal and a late game interception by Kansas City helped Indianapolis overcome a late deficit and pull off a stunning upset. Matt Ryan went 27/37 for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Vikings 28, Lions 24: In another NFC North thriller, the Lions twice took a lead of more than 10 points as they looked well on their way to what would have been a huge win for their season. However, the Vikings played heartbreaker once again with Kirk Cousins throwing a late touchdown pass to KJ Osborn to take the lead and a late interception by Josh Metellus to seal the game.