Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills breathed a sigh of relief.
Allen was equal parts electric with three touchdown passes while he was an enigma with three turnovers in the Bills’ 34-31 wild card playoff win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The Bills have been pushed to the brink, and they have a lot to improve on before their next playoff game, an opponent TBD.
“We’re going to grow from there,” Allen said after completing 23 of 39 passes for 352 yards. “All that matters is surviving and moving forward. It doesn’t matter how we win, that’s if we win. And I’m proud of our guys.
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The Bills will celebrate this victory, but they were faced with reality against the Dolphins: if Allen keeps turning the ball over, he will be the reason Buffalo’s goal of reaching and winning the Super Bowl fails.
Allen is considered one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, but his 16 interceptions and 22 giveaways this season, including that playoff game, tell another tale of reckless play.
And that’s not an encouraging sign for Allen and the Bills, three games away from their Super Bowl final goal.
“At the end of the day, you turn the ball over, you die pretty quickly,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said.
Perhaps more importantly, Allen must stay within Buffalo’s offensive confines.
Allen has a penchant for playing loose with football, and he often finds himself trying to play hero, taking shots deep down the pitch that don’t convert. .
Sometimes these games work. And sometimes they hurt more than they help.
Buffalo’s playoff hopes nearly crumbled against Miami. The Bills entered the game as double-digit favorites to beat the Dolphins, who were without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, recovering from his second documented concussion.
After the Bills took a 17-0 lead with third-string rookie Skylar Thompson, Allen threw two second-quarter interceptions that put Miami back in the game.
Allen’s worst turnover was a fumble that resulted in a Dolphins touchdown and their first lead of the game early in the third quarter.
“Turnarounds, they hurt us. It really let them back in the game,” Allen said of his three errors that led to 18 points for the Dolphins. “These are just things you can’t do, and you can’t expect to win like this. These are things we have to clean up.
This is where Allen’s prowess came into play.
Allen broke free for a 12-yard run inside his own red zone on a third-and-8, and he threw two touchdown passes in the space of three minutes to help the Bills regain a lead double digits with less than two minutes to go. in the third trimester.
“The thing is, you have to keep your foot on the gas,” Beasley said. “You can never be complacent. You have to be consistent, and we were a bit inconsistent, and we can’t do that in the future.
Allen and the Bills had two final practices to score again and put their game away, but couldn’t do much offensively.
They returned the ball to Miami on both possessions and relied on their defense and Miami’s inexperience, including a crucial game penalty delay on fourth and first on Miami’s last drive, to s escape with a victory.
The Bills may not be so lucky again in the playoffs.
While the Dolphins were inexperienced, other teams with Super Bowl experience like the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals won’t be so forgiving.
“I give our guys credit,” McDermott said. “They hung on and found a way to win. That’s one of the things they’ve been really good at this year. But we certainly have a lot to take from this game and learn from it.