ORCHARD PARK (CBSMiami/AP) — The Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins both needed a win to keep pace in the AFC playoff race.
One team played like it. One team didn’t.
Buffalo (4-4), coming out of its bye week, snapped a two-game skid and won for the first time in four home games with an impressive 33-17 win over Miami.
The Dolphins (3-5) continued to regress. Coming off a 36-7 loss to New England, Miami has lost two straight since winning its first two games when interim coach Dan Campbell took over after Joe Philbin was fired.
The Dolphins also are 0-4 against AFC East rivals.
Receiver Sammy Watkins shook off a nagging ankle injury — and his critics.
Watkins had a career-best performance, making eight catches for 168 yards and a 44-yard touchdown that broke open the game late in the third quarter. Rookie running back Karlos Williams scored twice and LeSean McCoy also scored on a 48-yard run.
Lamar Miller scored twice on 1-yard runs and finished with 44 yards.
The Ryan Tannehill-led passing attack was sloppy. The troubles began on Miami’s first play from scrimmage when Tannehill — lined up in the shotgun at his goal line — had Mike Pouncey’s snap go through his hands and through the end zone for a safety.
Tannehill finished 27 of 36 for 309 yards with two lost fumbles.
For Buffalo, Tyrod Taylor was 11 of 12 for 181 yards in his first game back after missing two with a sprained left knee.
McCoy had 112 yards rushing before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an injury to his right shoulder.
Williams, who had 110 yards rushing, returned after missing three games with a concussion. He became just the NFL’s fifth player to score a touchdown in each of his first five games. The record is by New England’s Robert Edwards, who scored in his first six games in 1998.
Watkins’ on-field eruption came 12 days after he erupted on social media following being criticized for being injury prone after missing three of the previous four games with a sprained left ankle and a strained left hamstring. The second-year receiver posted a note on his Instagram account calling his critics “losers” and suggested they wished they were in his position while “working y’all little jobs.”
Watkins deleted the post and issued two apologies: one on Instagram a day later and another while sitting at his locker on Monday.
Buffalo’s 2014 first-round draft pick had nothing to apologize for Sunday.
Watkins made a juggling 63-yard catch deep up the left sideline in the second quarter. That set up Williams’ 11-yard run that put the Bills ahead 19-7. Then, after the Dolphins had closed to 19-14, Watkins didn’t break stride in catching Taylor’s pass in the right corner of the end zone.
The play came on third-and-14, and three plays after the Bills’ defense forced a turnover. Linebacker Jerry Hughes stripped the ball loose from Tannehill and recovered the fumble.
The Bills’ defense came up big at the end of the first half. The Dolphins, down 19-7, ran a play from Buffalo’s 1 with 2 seconds left rather than kick a field goal. Cornerback Stephon Gilmore knocked down Tannehill’s pass intended for Dion Sims a few steps into the end zone.
Be sure to check out our FinsOn4 Live Dolphins Blog where we will be posting season-long coverage, updates, photos, video, commentary and more throughout the entire 2015 season.
Watch Miami take on the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. on CBS4, your official Dolphins station!
(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)