For Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, the game’s final play was like too many others, and spent chasing Josh Allen.
Zigzag scrambling by the Buffalo Bills’ rookie quarterback sent Wake running to his right and then his left and then his right again, with the playground pursuit ending only when Allen stopped and made a desperation fourth-down heave to the end zone.
“You’re winning at getting to the quarterback,” Wake said. “It’s just that he wouldn’t cooperate.”
While Allen was hard to catch, the Dolphins overtook the Bills 21-17 on Sunday. An open Charles Clay dived for Allen’s final pass at the goal line, but dropped it.
Allen’s counterpart, Ryan Tannehill, watched the wild play from the Miami bench.
“I was holding my breath for what felt like an eternity,” Tannehill said.
Tannehill threw three touchdown passes in victory but was upstaged by the Bills’ first-round draft pick , who ran for 135 yards on nine carries to set a franchise rushing record for a quarterback for the second week in a row.
“He’s a big guy who can run,” Miami coach Adam Gase said. “His ability to move around causes problems.”
The Dolphins sacked the 6-5, 237-pound Allen twice, but more often he eluded the rush to buy time or take off downfield.
He also threw for 231 yards, including scores covering 15 and 25 yards to Zay Jones. He twice led the Bills into Miami territory in the closing minutes, only to have both threats stall.
“He’s a bad boy,” teammate LeSean McCoy said. “For him to be so young, running the ball, throwing the ball, he wants that moment of greatness. Fourth quarter being down, needing a touchdown, it’s scary to see him grow from weeks and months ago.”
Coach Sean McDermott defended Allen’s decisions to run so often, especially given the result. His dashes included gains of 28, 26 and 25 yards.
“He played a heck of a game — emotional game,” McDermott said. “Played hard. Guy’s a competitor, man. I’ll take him on my team any day. That was a great performance.”
Allen was exhausted at the end, which may be why Miami won. His final pass was wobbly and underthrown, although Clay said he should have caught it.
“It was obviously a real chaotic situation,” Allen said. “You spin around a couple times, it doesn’t help. The ball came out of my hand real bad. I was pretty doggone tired.”
So were the Dolphins. The game was their first against Allen, and they can look forward to facing him — and chasing him — twice a season for years to come, including this season’s rematch Dec. 30.
“It was exciting, to say the least,” Wake said.
Dolphins Can’t Catch Allen but Overtake Bills, 21-17