Dolphins jovial after somehow keeping their playoff hopes alive

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Josh Allen’s final pass -- on a broken play on fourth-and-11 -- hung in the air for approximately three seconds, but it felt like three minutes. Bills tight end Charles Clay was wide-open in the end zone, poised to catch a pass that would have unofficially ended the Dolphins' season.

“My heart sunk a little bit,” Dolphins linebacker Jerome Baker said. “I thought it was over.”

Defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick added: “I thought it would be a big group of people over there, then I saw that one guy wide-open. I put my head down.”

Everyone in Hard Rock Stadium grew silent. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said he held his breath for what "felt like an eternity." Then Clay -- a former Dolphin -- dropped the low pass, assuring the Dolphins' 21-17 victory.

“Somebody was looking out for us,” Baker said.

Miami, admittedly, got somewhat of a lucky break despite being outgained 415 to 175 in total yards and allowing 135 rushing yards to Allen, the Bills' rookie quarterback.

But for at least one day, the Dolphins just care that somehow, someway, they’re still alive in the AFC playoff race.

The Dolphins' postgame locker room was jovial, with players discussing their alma mater’s standing in the College Football Playoff or yelling out praise to ball-hawk cornerback Xavien Howard, who had two more interceptions on Sunday.

Miami ranks in the top five in the NFL in takeaways and interceptions, and that thievery again made a big impact. Tannehill threw three touchdown passes, including the game winner to Kenny Stills in the corner of the end zone with 8:42 to play.

For a team broken down by injuries and an offense that lacks consistency, the Dolphins can have positive thoughts about a 6-6 record heading into the fourth quarter of their season. They are just one game behind the Baltimore Ravens for the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs.

“I’m not frustrated about anything right now. We won,” coach Adam Gase said. “That’s all we cared about this week. We’ll correct the things we need to correct.”

Several Dolphins relished their team’s survival ability and raved about Allen. Safety Reshad Jones compared Allen to Ben Roethlisberger; another player said he looked like Cam Newton.

The Dolphins left Sunday's game feeling as though they escaped with a victory against the Bills' promising franchise quarterback and thought they would be better prepared the next time they faced him.

Miami’s reality is that there is still plenty to fix with New England coming to town next Sunday.

But thanks to Stills’ touchdown grab, Howard’s two interceptions, back-to-back sacks by Bobby McCain and Robert Quinn on the Bills' second-to-last offensive drive and, of course, Clay’s drop, there’s still hope in Miami.