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C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills' defense stall Miami Dolphins

For one night, the Buffalo Bills' defense was worth all the money and lived up to all the pregame hype.

The Bills kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 19-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Thursday for three reasons: their suffocating defense, a special-teams touchdown and C.J. Spiller.

Kyle Williams, Mario Williams and Marcel Dareus repeatedly made plays in the backfield, harassing Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill and holding Reggie Bush to 20 yards on 10 carries. The game only was close because the Dolphins scored on a punt return and the Bills failed to tally a touchdown in four red-zone trips.

Bills safety Jairus Byrd showed his instincts and great hands on a diving interception to put a nail in the Dolphins' coffin late in the game. Both AFC East teams sit at 4-6 heading into the season's home stretch.

The Bills' offense continued to struggle in short-yardage situations and on third downs, but we finally got to see what C.J. Spiller looks like as a feature back. It's pretty sweet. He finished with 25 touches for 130 yards from scrimmage -- more than the entire Dolphins offense had for the first 56 minutes of the game.

"I answered the critics tonight," Spiller told the NFL Network crew after the game. "I told them I could tote it 20-plus times. It don't matter to me."

Running and defense is a strategy that works well late in the season. For one night, these Bills provided hope they could pull off that strategy. They won a game in prime time for the first time since 2001 and avoided The Fork for another week.

It's a start.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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