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Quarter-by-quarter analysis

Up-tempo Bills keep foot on gas in win over Dolphins

First quarter

Theme: Place-kicking back on track. The Buffalo Bills got field goals of 51 and 34 yards from Stephen Hauschka, who had missed three of his previous four tries.

Bills D starts fast: Miami managed just 7 yards on nine plays in the quarter.

Key injuries: The Dolphins were without starting linebacker Raekwon McMillan (knee) and their best defensive end, Taco Charlton (elbow).

Matchup watch: The Dolphins had cornerback Nik Needham follow John Brown wherever the Bills’ top wideout lined up in the first quarter. Needham, an undrafted rookie out of Texas El Paso, started the season on the practice squad and was promoted to the roster for Week 6. Needham had good coverage on a fade-route incompletion for Brown on the Bills’ second drive.

LT drop-off: Julien Davenport, activated off injured reserve Saturday, might be the poorest starting left tackle in the NFL. He was with the Dolphins' first unit. Davenport was acquired in the trade that sent Laremy Tunsil to Houston.

Zebra watch: The Dolphins entered the game as the least penalized team in the NFL, averaging just 5.4 penalties a game. However, the Miami special teams were flagged on their first two kickoff returns, which hurt field position.


Second quarter

Theme: Miami special teams keep the game from being a rout.

Early blowout: A touchdown catch by John Brown and Stephen Hauschka’s third field goal gave the Bills a 16-0 lead. At that point, the Bills held a 212-11 edge in yards.

Not so fast: After Miami drove for its first TD, Jason Sanders recovered his own onside kick up the middle of the field. Corey Thompson and Jaquan Johnson were the two Bills middle men on the return team who weren’t quite ready for the trick play.

Matchup watch: Tre’Davious White was following Miami’s DeVante Parker much of the time. Miami backed off having Nik Needham travel with John Brown as the second quarter wore on.

Seven-year glitch: The 101-yard kickoff return for a TD by Jakeem Grant was the first against the Bills since Marcus Thigpen returned one 96 yards for Miami in 2012.

Takeaway drought: The Bills’ defense had gone 13 straight quarters without forcing a turnover until Jordan Poyer recovered a fumble by Allen Hurns after a 20-yard completion with 3:33 left in the half. Hurns simply dropped the ball after making the catch.


Third quarter

Theme: Josh Allen keeps his foot on the gas.

Blitz beater: Playing man coverage and blitzing in the red zone is always a risk against a good running quarterback. Miami rushed five men but couldn’t make a sack, and Allen scrambled to the pylon for an 8-yard touchdown run to put the Bills ahead, 30-14.

Up tempo: The Bills continued to run out of a no-huddle pace, which prevented the Dolphins from a lot of situational substitutions.

Hustle play: Ed Oliver hustled to tackle DeVante Parker from behind on a 9-yard pass over the middle after Allen’s TD. It would have been a much bigger gain if Oliver hadn’t caught the receiver. Miami then was forced to punt.

Zebra report: Miami got lucky on its first drive of the half when tight end Mike Gesicki was given a generous and bad spot for a 10-yard catch and a first down. But the Bills get a bad-call break two plays later when Evan Boehm was improperly called for a hold on Trent Murphy. It wiped out a 20-yard Ryan Fitzpatrick scramble, and Miami then punted.


Fourth quarter

Theme: The Bills were in control the entire way.

Return weapon: It wasn’t all bad news for the Bills’ special teams. Andre Roberts fielded a kickoff 6 yards deep in the end zone and returned it 44 yards to the Buffalo 38, starting the Bills’ off on their last TD drive.

Star stuffs: The Bills stopped Ryan Fitzpatrick on a quarterback keeper on a fourth-and-1 play from the Buffalo 4 with 3:43 left. Star Lotulelei clogged the middle to allow Tremaine Edmunds and Jordan Poyer to make the tackle.

Unsung: Corey Bojorquez punted five times for a quality net of 43.6 yards. He pinned Miami at its own 8 late in the game.

Second guess: The Dolphins gained 7 yards on a Wildcat run in the red zone on the first play of the quarter and then lined up in the Wildcat again. It was a good time for a defensive time out, because the Bills were in the nickel defense and were unsettled. Miami ran the Wildcat again for a 7-yard TD.

Series: The Bills have won five of the last six with the Dolphins and now trail in the series with Miami, 50-61-1.

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