Tua and the Dolphins reign king of the AFC East...for now

Stefan Luciani
FiredUp Network Sports Writer

@stefanluciani_

Sunday, September 25, 2022


A 400 yard scorcher for Josh Allen wasn't enough as the Dolphins handed the Bills their first loss of the season.

MIAMI – If you take just one thing away from this Week 3 instant classic, it’s that the AFC East is going to be looking like the 90’s out there with the Dolphins/Bills rivalry back and better than ever.

 

This one had a little bit of everything and went down to the final whistle as Miami held off a late charge from a thought-to-be unstoppable Buffalo Bills offence to take the 21-19 victory and with it, sole possession of the AFC East lead.

 

As if the sweltering heat of near 100 degrees fahrenheit wasn’t enough, this was a Bills secondary down three starters including all pro safety Micah Hyde, who announced earlier in the week he would be sidelined for the entirety of the season to tend to a neck injury. But it wasn’t the deep ball that hurt the Buffalo Bills today, rather their offensive line which allowed Josh Allen to be brought down four times by a defensive line that had yet to register a sack in Weeks 1 and 2.

 

The Bills opened the afternoon looking as many expected they would, marching downfield in 12 plays to cap off the drive with a Devin Singleterry touchdown reception. The defence looked promising to start forcing Miami’s nine-play drive to end in a punt. But you could almost feel the shift in tide like a breeze flowing through a stadium with next to no airflow on the sorcher of an afternoon. 

 

Miami brought the pressure yet again, dropping Allen nine yards behind the line before the 26-year-old fumbled the ball inside Buffalo’s 10 yard line. The Bills defence was able to hold off for three goal-line stuffs before Chase Edmonds found a hole up the middle to punch in the touchdown. 

 

The two heavyweights would exchange touchdowns apiece over the next few drives before a scary moment occurred shortly before the half. Bills linebacker Matt Milano was in pursuit of Tua Tagovailoa before making contact with the southpaw shoving him into the ground following a play. The third year quarterback fell back awkwardly before bouncing the back of his head off the turf. Tagovailoa was slow to his feet looking clearly dazed, before attempting to walk back to the huddle. It became evident he was in some trouble as he was unable to keep his feet underneath him before teammates rushed to his aid. He was removed from the game and entered into the league’s concussion protocol.

 

The Bills opened up the second half with a field goal, before setting up for another attempt on their very next drive with Tyler Bass hooking it wide left. 

 

Tua returned in the third quarter and was able to rejoin the team helping them to an early fourth quarter touchdown to give the ‘Phins a 21-17 lead. The Bills found themselves in a crunch time situation inside the final two minutes needing a defensive stop. They got something even better forcing Miami to punt from well within their own endzone forcing a block and pulling the Bills within 2 points by way of the safety. Allen and the Bills walked downfield for 46 yards before a late play was unable to stop the clock and they unfortunately ran out of time.

 

Bills fans were wincing as the heat took a toll on their players who seemed to be dropping like flies throughout the contest. Many were often subbing themselves out every other snap to return to the sideline and get fluids or treatment for cramps. Others made trips to the locker room throughout the game to receive intravenous fluids to help with the heat and dehydration. Josh Allen had himself an MVP worthy performance despite the loss completing 42 passes on 63 attempts for an eye-popping 400 yards and two touchdowns. Following the game though, he was sent for X-rays raising another concern before he himself shut down the panic.

 

“I’m fine. I am fine,” was all the Wyoming product said to the media about it after the game. 

 

On the other side of the field, the suspicious circumstances in which a very visibly shaken up Tua returned to the game has prompted a bit of controversy itself. Shortly after the quarterback returned to the field in the second half, the NFLPA announced an investigation into the NFL’s current concussion protocol evaluation in order to probe the specific circumstances surrounding Tua’s return to play early on Sunday afternoon, and to address any potential flaws with the current evaluation.

 

The Bills drop to 2-1 as the Dolphins remain one of just two teams who are standing without a loss, the other being the NFC East’s Philadelphia Eagles. The New York Giants currently sit 2-0 as they’ll go against the Dallas Cowboys on the Monday night special to wrap up an exciting Week 3.