1 – Josh Allen posts triple-double
Buffalo’s rookie quarterback finished his first NFL season with a bang. Josh Allen threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more in the Bills 42-17 victory.
His two most impressive plays were his five-yard back shoulder throw to Robert Foster for a touchdown, which broke a 14-14 tie in the third quarter, and an unlikely 30-yard touchdown run to blow the game open in the fourth quarter with 10 minutes left in regulation.
Allen made a pre-snap check at the line of scrimmage to change the play to go to Foster as he sensed an all-out blitz coming from Miami.
“It was a late zero (coverage) check and I saw their linebackers messing around and we got the ball off at one,” said Allen. “It was dwindling down on the play clock and Robert made an unbelievable catch. His body torqued a different way and for him to go up and make that play was fun for me to watch.”
On his 30-yard run to the end zone in the fourth quarter, Buffalo’s rookie QB wasn’t sure he’d reach the end zone after he decided to tuck the ball and run.
“Just kind of unfolded,” said Allen of his scamper to the end zone. “Kind of forced outside the pocket. I had a decision to throw it or run it. I decided to keep it. I got some blocks downfield and made a guy miss and got into the end zone. That’s kind of how that play happened.”
With his performance, Allen became the first Bills quarterback to have three touchdown passes and two touchdown runs in a single game for Buffalo.
Allen finished the game with 310 total net yards of offense, as he ran for 95 and threw for 215 net passing yards.
“It’s part of his development. I thought he had a good day overall,” said head coach Sean McDermott. “Some throws that I know Josh is going to want back. He’s got an offseason now to get some rest and evaluate and get back at it.”
2 – Shaq spearheads effective pass rush
The effectiveness of Buffalo’s pass rush had been somewhat mixed in the final month of the regular season with just four sacks in their last three games, with three coming in the first meeting with the Dolphins on Dec. 2nd.
It looked like a repeat performance for Buffalo’s defensive line on Sunday. Buffalo totaled four sacks on the day, in a consistent harassment of Miami QB Ryan Tannehill.
Shaq Lawson led a productive day for the Bills defensive front with a pair of sacks, including a strip sack that was recovered by Harrison Phillips at the Buffalo 23-yard line.
“He’s made a huge leap from when he first got here to now,” said Jerry Hughes of Lawson. “It’s been tremendous because he has a high motor, he has the tenacity, the nastiness that you want in a defensive lineman and now he’s putting it together. He’s understanding when to pass rush, when to work certain moves, he’s going to be unstoppable.”
Buffalo’s offense cashed in on the turnover as LeSean McCoy ran it in from nine yards out for a touchdown to give the Bills a 14-point lead late in the third quarter.
Lawson also had a pair of quarterback hits, two other quarterback pressures, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.
Hughes and Tremaine Edmunds had Buffalo’s other sacks as the defensive front also had a total of six QB hits on Tannehill.
“It was good. We have some good players,” said Kyle Williams. “When given advantageous looks in certain situations we have players who can do some things. When we were able to stop the run and get them in favorable protection looks, where they weren’t maxing with six, seven or eight-man protection, we were able to get some pressure and affect him, which is our goal.”
3 - Red zone superiority
There haven’t been many times where Buffalo has been perfect in the red zone, but on Sunday, the Bills offense went an unblemished 4-for-4 inside Miami’s 20-yard line.
“We had a mindset today where we wanted to get the ball in the end zone,” said Josh Allen. “We wanted to get in there early and force them to play some catch up. We got down there and put our head down. Our offensive line did an amazing job and our receivers made some plays, and when you’ve got 11 guys on the field striving to do one thing in the red zone, good things tend to happen.”
Allen had a hand in three of the first four touchdowns scored by Buffalo.
He took a quarterback sneak in from a yard out for the Bills first touchdown on the opening drive of the game. Later in the first half, Allen found Zay Jones out in the right flat and the receiver covered the remaining yardage to reach the right pylon for an 18-yard score.
Early in the third quarter, Allen made a check at the line and hit Robert Foster with a back-shoulder throw in the front left corner of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown pass.
And LeSean McCoy chipped in with a nine-yard touchdown run.
“It was good to get in there,” said McCoy of reaching the end zone. “It’s been tough. I almost forgot my touchdown dance.”
“The run game at times was productive down there for us. Josh to Robert Foster on the back shoulder, which is a tough route to throw and get on the same page with for two young players, rookies, to connect. I thought the drive after half was big,” said McDermott. “The defense got off the field and the offense got in the end zone. Then Josh’s quarterback sneak early so we were able to spread the ball around. The offensive line did a good job in the run game down there and opened up some of the passing game.”
It marked the first time this season that Buffalo was perfect in a game this season when they had more than one red zone opportunity. They were 1-for-1 in the red zone in their Week 9 loss to Chicago.
Buffalo’s red zone touchdown percentage coming into the game was just over 54 percent (54.5).
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