Rexit? Jay Ajayi runs through Bills' defense


The Miami Dolphins took a big step toward making the playoffs in a 34-31 victory over the Bills. Here's what we learned:

1. The Bills, now 7-8, are officially eliminated from playoff contention because of Rex Ryan's defense. Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy and the Bills' offense essentially played a perfect second half, scoring 24 points on only four possessions. But the Bills' defense could not get a stop when it mattered, including when the Dolphins got the ball back with 1:20 left and no timeouts, needing a field goal to force overtime. It's the second straight season Buffalo's defense, not the offense, let the team down.

2. The Dolphins won in large part because they could match Buffalo's outrageous running game. Jay Ajayi's masculine performance included 206 yards on 32 carries, with so much of the production coming after contact. That's the third time he went over 200 yards this season, with two of them coming in tight wins over Buffalo. Ajayi's effort in overtime, when his left shoulder was clearly hurting, was the stuff playoff berths are made of. He had 75 of Miami's 77 yards on their game-winning overtime drive.

3. The Dolphins can clinch a playoff berth Sunday if the Broncos lose on Christmas. That would be welcome news for a Miami defense that was on the field for 90 plays and 40 minutes, giving up 589 yards to Buffalo. Any playoff appearance will be short-lived if the Dolphins defense gets pushed around like that again.

4. It's a shame that Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins' awesome efforts went for naught. Watkins (154 yards and a touchdown) was explosive getting behind the Dolphins' defense and one of his routes nearly broke cornerback Xavien Howard's ankles. Taylor was at his deep threat best, throwing for 329 yards and three touchdowns, with 60 rushing yards thrown in for good measure. This game film made the case to keep this Bills offensive core together, perhaps with coordinator Anthony Lynn running the show.

5. Matt Moore is good enough. He overcame an ugly first half, including a brutal red zone pick to give away points, to steer the ship well after halftime. Buffalo's shoddy tackling, a Rob Ryan-defense trademark, helped Moore's numbers.