Bills end 17-year playoff drought with win and help
The Buffalo Bills snapped the longest current non-playoff drought in North American pro sports with a 22-16 victory Sunday at Miami and Cincinnati's victory at Baltimore. The Bills hadn't made the postseason since 1999.
Buffalo (9-7) will travel to Jacksonville next weekend in a wild-card game.
The Bills' anxiety was compounded by the loss of 1,000-yard rusher LeSean McCoy with a right ankle injury. He was carted off the field in the third quarter.
The frustration of a disappointing season got the best of the Dolphins (6-10) with 6:21 left, when receiver Jarvis Landry, running back Kenyan Drake and offensive lineman Jake Brendel were ejected following a fight. Landry was cited for disrespecting an official, and Drake for throwing his helmet 20 yards in anger. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties were called against both teams.
The undisciplined Dolphins, who came into the game with the second-most penalties in the NFL, had 14 for 145 yards.
Buffalo punctuated the victory with a 1-yard touchdown run by defensive tackle Kyle Williams, who is in his 12th and perhaps final season with the Bills. Williams and his teammates celebrated the first score of his career with choreographed back flops in the end zone.
Golf great Jack Nicklaus wore Bills gear and a smile watching from the stands as his grandson, tight end Nick O'Leary, caught Tyrod Taylor's 26-yard touchdown pass.
The Dolphins scored a touchdown with 1:56 left and recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Jordan Poyer's interception sealed the win for Buffalo.
Taylor went 19 for 27 for 204 yards and one score. In six games against Miami, he has 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions.
For the Dolphins, the season finale had the feel of an exhibition game, with thousands of empty seats and David Fales giving a lengthy, unimpressive audition as a potential backup quarterback in 2018. Miami was eliminated a week ago and will sit out the playoffs for the eighth time in the past nine years.
Miami lost to Buffalo for the seventh time in their past 10 meetings.
A 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown by the Bills' Preston Brown was negated by a replay review. Instead, the Dolphins kept possession, and Landry scored on a 1-yard reception on the next play, when the fight broke out.
Miami starter Jay Cutler took three snaps before he was replaced by Fales, a sixth-round draft pick by the Bears in 2014. Fales, who came into the game with only two career completions, went 29 for 42 for 265 yards with one score and one interception.
Cutler, 34, ended a brief retirement to join the Dolphins this year and has said he has not decided whether he wants to play in 2018. Ryan Tannehill is expected to start next year in a comeback from knee surgery that wiped out his 2017 season.
Bills: McCoy was hurt when he carried up the middle. After being tackled, he pounded the turf with his fist as trainers attended to him. He had 10 yards on 11 carries to finish with 1,138 yards rushing, and added 448 receiving on a team-high 59 catches. ... RT Jordan Mills (ankle) was helped off the field late in the second quarter.
Dolphins: LB Kiko Alonso suffered a neck injury.
UP NEXT: Buffalo will play a postseason game for the first time since losing at Tennessee in the Music City Miracle game in January 2000. The Bills travel to Jacksonville.