Dolphins bolster playoff hopes with overtime win

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For much of the fourth quarter, it looked like the Dolphins were on their way to a loss that they’d lament for the entire offseason as the Bills were rallying from 14 points down against a defense that seemed incapable of stopping them.

After Tyrod Taylor hit Charles Clay for a seven-yard score with 1:20 left in the game, the Bills led 31-28 but a good Jakeem Grant kickoff return set up a 55-yard field goal by Andrew Franks to tie the game. The Bills would drive again in overtime, but Dan Carpenter missed a 45-yard field goal (his second miss of the day) and, after trading punts, Jay Ajayi made sure the flight back to Miami would be a happy one.

Ajayi ran for 57 yards to flip the field and Franks hit a 27-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in overtime to give the Dolphins a 34-31 win. If the Broncos lose to the Chiefs on Sunday, the Dolphins will have clinched a spot in the playoffs.

It’s fitting that Ajayi did so much to put them in position. He ran for 206 yards and a touchdown on Saturday and the Dolphins’ rise to playoff status began when he ran for 204 yards against the Steelers in Week Six. The Dolphins are 9-1 since the start of that game and Ajayi has been a driving force over the course of this run. Kenyan Drake also had a 45-yard touchdown run as Rex Ryan’s Bills defense again failed against the run.

Ajayi had 214 yards in the first meeting between the teams and they’ve allowed three 200-yard rushers overall this season. The failure on that side of the ball hurt the Bills on a day when their offense showed a lot of life. The Bills finished with 589 yards of offense as Tyrod Taylor had the first 300-yard passing game of his career while joining LeSean McCoy and Mike Gillislee to run for 272 yards.

All of that spoke well of the job done by offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, but Bills fans will likely zero in on a call in overtime that didn’t go as well. On second-and-12 from the Dolphins’ 27-yard line, the Bills opted to give running back Reggie Bush his first touch of the game on a reverse that got blown up for an eight-yard loss. That made for a longer field goal for Carpenter and helped set the stage for Buffalo’s elimination from the playoffs.

We’ll see if that winds up costing Ryan his job and he didn’t do himself any favors by choosing to punt with 4:09 left in overtime when a tie or loss eliminated the Bills from the playoff race. The team showed a lot of fight after going down 14 points twice during the game, but the result was still a loss for a team that had higher expectations when the year began.

41 responses to “Dolphins bolster playoff hopes with overtime win

  1. Well the Bills have been rebuilding for 15+ years, so what’s one more?

    Hopefully, Rex will learn how to properly ice a kicker by next week’ game…

  2. If I was Terry Pegula, I would not only fire Rex Ryan right now, I would have had his office cleaned out before he got back to the locker room. The reverse was bad enough… but how in the world do you punt on 4th and 2 in Miami territory with 4:09 to go in overtime… when a tie eliminates you from the playoffs as well as a loss? Ryan should not only be fired just for that decision, he should never be considered again for a head coaching position. What a gutless, clueless coaching decision. His team may or may not have deserved to lose, but Rex sure did.

  3. What a game! Bills played a heck of a game, just couldn’t stop Ajayi. I don’t think there is any doubt about it, considering all the injuries to their best players and Gase keeps winning he needs to be coach of the year. Pay that man as much money as he wants, Miami finally has a good coach!

  4. Rex Ryan imploded in spectacular fashion and his decision to punt should remove all doubt that he needs to be fired yesterday. Silver lining is that maybe Tyrod showed that he is the Bills best option next year, but Rex Ryan needs to be spending Christmas unemployed.

  5. If this plays out right in the with Raiders, Broncos and a few other permutations of wins and losses amongst AFC teams we may get to see a playoff game a week early next week with the Pats-Fin. Fins will be playing for the tournament and Pats need that home field.

  6. pardonmyjake says:
    Dec 24, 2016 4:48 PM
    Anyone with a brain in between there two ears knows the Dolphins won’t make an ounce of noise if they end up making the playoffs
    =======
    Seriously, it doesn’t really matter. They have had a great year with a winning season while sweeping two of the three AFC East teams. If they make the playoffs, it’s just icing on the cake.

  7. I really hate to take a dig at the Bills fans because that was a great game to watch as a fan by 2 decent teams. However, it was literally last week that I commented about Dan Carpenter being a good Kicker; right up to the point he misses a game winner and he did that too many times for the Fins, so they let him walk. Oh well…

    As to the comment about the Dolphins not making any noise in the Playoffs, maybe true, but every pundit said they would finish 5-11. They won 10 with at least 6 Starters in every single game out including their QB. I would say they over achieved with a 1st year Coach.

  8. I have watched a lot of games this season and have no dog in the fight,’but. Ever , ever saw amfix in by Refs as I have seen in this game. It was completely evident the Refs wagered big money on this game. The entire crew should be fired

  9. Nobody said Rex was just gonna roll over – ESPECIALLY for a Miami at home! – Buffalo played their guts out & my hats off to them. Now for ANY serious thought of a playoff run – Vance Joseph had better fix his Defense –
    or it’s gonna be 1 & Done in a laugher !

  10. ReligionIsForIdiots says:
    Dec 24, 2016 4:52 PM
    Miami should be watching the playoffs, not playing in them. Rex gifted them he spot, the organization should send him a bottle of wine.
    ======
    Right, him and 9 other coaches they beat. It’s so enjoyable to sweep bills and the jets.

  11. mongo3401 says:
    Dec 24, 2016 5:02 PM
    I have watched a lot of games this season and have no dog in the fight,’but. Ever , ever saw amfix in by Refs as I have seen in this game. It was completely evident the Refs wagered big money on this game. The entire crew should be fired
    ====
    Actually, they didn’t call anything on anybody for the most part. That’s the way it should be. See ya next year and enjoy your losses to Miami.

  12. Like another poster said. It doesn’t matter if the Fins do anything in the playoffs if they make. They have many starters out. Big time starters including Pouncy, R. Jones, all their starting linebackers, starting corner not to mention their starting QB and they still are winning. Anything else now is just another piece of your favorite pie. Coaching people. Dolphins hadn’t had that since Shula.

  13. From a die hard but objective Bills fan – congrats to the dolphins, you guys earned this victory and made the plays to be in position for a game winning fg. Now as far as Rex Ryan goes, he’s horrible in situational football which is key if you want to be a good team. He needs to go along with Rob Ryan and GM Doug Whaley. All 3 are pathetic.

  14. The curse is over! Move over Marino.. Matt Moore is the next in the ring of honor! There is a Santa Claus.. Christmas came early! The end of the curse is over.. Move over Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas, Kareem Abdul Jabbbar, Daunte Culpepper, Jay Fiedler, Chad Pennington and all the other awful qbs! Move over Jay Lo and Mark Anthony, Nick Saban and Jimmy Johnson! The Dolphins are going to the playoffs! And thank You Rex Ryan! HAHAHA

  15. I really don’t have anything bad to say. It was a great, great game. Congrats to Fish fans!! I hated the two obvious pass interference calls. As much as the Bills fans have suffered, Fish fans have too. Best game of the year in the NFL if you ask me, had everything in it. Would of been Bills luck, the FG kicker for the Fish missed the FG with 51 seconds left and the game ended in a damn tie and knocked the Bills out anyways LOL. Crazy, crazy game. I liked most of you Fish fans on here, only a couple I don’t, but you know how it is. At least we all got a great Christmas Eve game. Best of luck in the playoffs, would make me happy if somehow you knocked NE out. Merry Christmas to everyone. Go Bills!!

  16. I know Rex is Rex, but who are they gonna replace him with? Kyle Shanahan? He’ll probably end up in SD.

  17. Ummm all the peeps making comments about the Dolphins getting beat by the Patriots 3x this year would mean they would have to win during the wild card round before getting an opportunity to even be put in that situation. You do realize that correct? Most likely AFC wild card game on Saturday Jan 7th is Dolphins on the road vs Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

  18. I remember when everyone said the Seahawks shouldn’t be in the playoffs with a losing record, then beat the heavily favored saints in the first Rd. Ooh, oh, remember when everyone said the same thing about the tebow led broncos? They were getting laughed at in the playoffs….. Until they beat the heavily favored Steelers…. Anything can happen on any given Sunday. Just need to get there.

  19. Rex was trying to have it both ways on the time out. He didn’t protest right away because he thought it missed then claimed he called it in time. Weak move and he knows it. I’d probably give him another yr tho.

  20. If dolphins clinch a wild card spot with a Broncos loss and Patriots clinch 1st seed with an Oakland loss, who is going to show up to next weeks game?

  21. Dolphins are a mash unit and still keep winning. Another nail bitter where they come out on top. Like to see the Ryan brothers get another year. Their players seem to play hard for them and that’s says a lot.

  22. All I know is I’ve got something more than a few lousy presents to look forward to this Christmas……….maybe the Dolphins in the playoffs!

  23. If the Pats need the game, they smoke the Dolphins next week. Usually they don’t. I don’t think either team is gonna need it next week.

  24. billswillnevermove says:
    Dec 24, 2016 5:36 PM

    I really don’t have anything bad to say. It was a great, great game. Congrats to Fish fans!! I hated the two obvious pass interference calls. As much as the Bills fans have suffered, Fish fans have too. Best game of the year in the NFL if you ask me, had everything in it. Would of been Bills luck, the FG kicker for the Fish missed the FG with 51 seconds left and the game ended in a damn tie and knocked the Bills out anyways LOL. Crazy, crazy game. I liked most of you Fish fans on here, only a couple I don’t, but you know how it is. At least we all got a great Christmas Eve game. Best of luck in the playoffs, would make me happy if somehow you knocked NE out. Merry Christmas to everyone. Go Bills!!

    —————————————————

    ANOTHER season out of the playoffs? After Train Wrecks won the off season for you? It’s only been 17 years, let’s give Train Wrecks some more time to work his magic, right? Only in Barfalo is such mediocrity tolerated.

  25. Peterson and Lynch when healthy were the last RBs I can remember that ran as hard as Ajayi. This kid will not go down, rarely has negative plays and even when you think he’s going down in the backfield, he somehow comes out of it. This kid is legit, I wonder what Mike Mayok thinks of him now.

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