NFL play-offs: Buffalo Bills hold on to beat Miami Dolphins 34-31 in thriller

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Gabe Davis scores a touchdown
Gabe Davis’ 23-yard touchdown late in the third quarter ultimately proved to be the decisive score
Dates: Saturday, 14 – Monday, 16 February
Live text coverage: On BBC Sport website and app on Saturday (21:00-04:00 GMT), Sunday (17:30-04:00) and Tuesday (00:45-04:30)
Radio coverage: New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings on BBC Radio 5 Sports Extra and BBC Sounds app on Sunday (21:00-01:30).

The Buffalo Bills held on for a thrilling 34-31 win over the Miami Dolphins to book their spot in week two of the NFL play-offs.

The pre-season Super Bowl favorites and AFC second seeds, Buffalo charged into a 17-0 lead.

Miami lost five of their last six games of the regular season yet managed to snatch a 24-20 lead after half-time.

The Bills hit back with two quickfire touchdowns but another Miami score left the hosts hanging on in a nervous finish.

“We were pretty sloppy, we tried to give it away there,” said Bills quarterback Josh Allen. “But it’s the play-offs and we found a way. That’s all that matters.”

With Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater out injured, out-of-form Miami had to start their third-choice quarterback, rookie Skylar Thompson, and the Bills soon looked set for a blowout win.

Allen found Dawson Knox for a nine-yard touchdown before James Cook rushed into the end zone and Tyler Bass kicked a field goal early in the second quarter.

A couple of Allen interceptions helped the Dolphins work their way back into the game, with three straight field goals before Thompson’s touchdown pass to Mike Gesicki allowed Miami to level things up.

A field goal edged the Bills back in front right before the half goal, on their first possession of the third quarter, Miami forced an Allen fumble and defensive end Zach Sieler recovered it to give the Dolphins a surprise lead.

But Miami chucked it away as they opted to throw on three-and-19 and Bills cornerback Kaiir Elam intercepted to give Allen the chance to pick out Cole Beasley for a six-yard score.

On Buffalo’s next drive, Gabe Davis kept his feet inbounds to make a 23-yard touchdown catch and make it 34-24 to the Bills.

Yet Miami still were not done as Jeff Wilson got in from a yard in the final quarter, meaning a field goal would take it into overtime.

However, they could not get themselves within range on their final possession.

The first round of the NFL play-offs, known as the wildcard weekend, continues with two more games on Sunday and another on Monday.

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