On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins may have won their most relevant game since that playoff overtime win against the Indianapolis Colts back in 2000. This team is finally finding ways to win football games like good teams in the NFL.

The Dolphins defeated the current Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills, 21 – 19, in a thriller at Hard Rock Stadium, extending the team’s home winning streak to eight. Making it the second longest stretch since the team won 10 from 1984 to 1986. Despite Buffalo dominating the final stat sheet by almost tripling Miami in executed plays (90 to 39), doubling time of possession (40:40 to 19:20), and first downs gained (31 to 15), they still came up short at the expense of a very efficient Tua and a “heated” Miami Dolphins football team. The quarterback battle was also unbalanced as Allen completed 42 of 63 for 400 yards and 2 TDs, against Tua’s 13 of 18 for 186 yards and a touchdown. The Bills also ended up top running the football, as they totaled 115 yards as a team against a mere 41 of Miami’s.

So why did the Bills lose the game if they categorically dominated the box score? In my opinion, these were the most relevant reasons.

1. Miami was much more efficient with the football on offense

You can sustain drives for almost 10 minutes and hold the ball on offense for 40 plus, but what’s it worth if you don’t put points on the board? On scoring drives, Buffalo needed 44 plays, 233 yards, and 21:57 min. On offense to score 17 points. On the other hand, Miami needed 19 plays, 164 yards, and 10:54 min to score 21. Enough said.

2. Bills are not performing well in clutch moments of games

It’s becoming a trend that the Bills can’t pull it off in the final stages of a close game. Just remember the playoff game they lost against the Chiefs with 13 seconds left last year. The Bills are currently 0-7 in one-score games since the start of last season. This game was no exception. They could not spike the ball and try a field goal in the first half’s final seconds. They also missed a field goal of 38 yards out at the start of the fourth quarter. Turned the ball over on downs from the Dolphins’ 2-yard line with 1:49 remaining. And finally, they could not get out of bounds and stop the clock from trying a last-second field goal from Miami’s 36-yard line in the game’s last play.

3. Stellar Defense by the Dolphins throughout the game

Aside from the incomprehensible play at the end of the first half and the missed field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter, all Buffalo miscues can also be attributed to Miami’s excellent defensive play. The unit stepped up big when needed. The sack and fumble recovery at Buffalo’s 5-yard line led Miami to a game-tying touchdown in the first quarter. The goal-line stop under the final two minutes against one of the best young quarterbacks in the league was superb. But the play of the game was when Unit unit harassed Allen at the pocket, forced him to throw to the middle of the field, and avoided WR Isaiah Mckenzie from getting out of bounds in the game’s last play. In summary, to limit the power offense of the Bills to just 17 points after being on the field for more than 40 minutes with that heat is simply remarkable. 
Despite the unfavorable stats and Buffalo in control for most of the game, a very resilient Miami Dolphins team ended up with what matters in the end, a huge divisional win. The Dolphins have not reached Buffalo’s elite football level yet. Still, performances like this make us believe they are on the right track, with the right head coach and the ideal quarterback (finally). They, by the way, had another outstanding performance despite briefly leaving and returning to the game because of injury.

Miami is now the only undefeated team in the AFC and owns a 3-0 record for the first time since 2018, a feat the team has accomplished for the 15th time in its history. They have made the playoffs nine times out of those 14 seasons. They started 3-0 but failed to do so the last three times (2002, 2013, and 2018). History also tells us that the fourth game after a 3-0 start does not come well for the Dolphins, as they have won just 6 out of 14 games. This week it does not get any easier, as Miami faces the reigning AFC Champions Cincinnati Bengals on the road in a Thursday Night Football Matchup.

Miami is already making a lot of noise around the league; let’s hope they make even more on Thursday. A win at Paycor Stadium will put the Dolphins 4-0 and in a very comfortable situation to face the easier (on paper) part of their 2022 schedule. It will be a real challenge for coach McDaniels to get this team ready to play a quality opponent on the road in a short week with critical injuries piling up.