The Bills finally put it all together as they dominated a lesser opponent early and did enough to keep them down the rest of the way in a 38-17 rout of the winless Dolphins at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The win puts the Bills back over .500 and keeps them in the thick of the playoff race with a huge battle in Cleveland next week.
It was a total team effort as the offense exploded with a few rare feats. Trent Edwards. threw three first half touchdown passes which is the most by a rookie QB in the NFL since Jim Plunkett did it in 1971. The two headed monster at running back developed quicker than expected as Fred Jackson ran for 115 yards and Marshawn Lynch added 107. They became the first Bills duo to get 100 yards since 1996 when Darick Holmes and Thurman Thomas turned the trick. Robert Royal scored two touchdowns in the first quarter!
The offensive explosion was something we've been waiting for all year as they turned four Miami first half turnovers into three touchdowns as they got touchdowns instead of field goals in this game. They took advantage of Miami's first turnover when John Wendling recovered a muffed punt. Three plays later Edwards hit Royal with a 13 yard touchdown on a screen pass.
The Bills would make it 14-0 on Royal's second touchdown, a 28 yarder down the seam. He bobbled the well thrown pass and nearly dropped it but held on for the score. It became 21-0 in the opening period when George Wilson took a John Beck fumble in midair and returned it for a score.
Miami saw enough of their rookie QB at that point and replaced him with Cleo Lemon who engineered a quick scoring drive to show that Miami wouldn't quit easily. Sam Gado's 12 yard touchdown run made it 21-7. The Bills responded with a drive to Rian Lindell's record 51 yard field goal. It would extend his consecutive streak to a club record 18 successful field goals. He would miss later on ending his streak.
The Bills extended their lead to 31-7 in the second quarter after a Donte Whitner interception. Edwards hit Lee Evans for a nine yard touchdown reception that was originally called out of bounds but replay overturned it. The game went to halftime that way and you would figure Miami was running for the bus at that point but to their credit they came out hard in the third quarter.
Miami would cut the lead to two touchdowns with a second Gado touchdown and a 41 yard field goal by Jay Feely. The Bills would put it away early in fourth quarter when Edwards showed that he has an arm too. He hit Evans in stride on a 70 yard bomb for the game clinching touchdown.
The young team learned another lesson today, they learned how to finish a game out that they had in hand. Now they face the biggest test they have had since the season finale in 2004. They have yet to beat a real good team, especially on the road. They get their chance in the battle of Lake Erie with a possible playoff spot down the line hanging over head. Who would have thought they would be in this position?
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Dolphins: