MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (APWAVY) — Tyrod Taylor might have gotten a little bit of help from tight end Charles Clay, who outran a pursuing linebacker, juked past two defensive backs and left them all sprawling as he scored the Buffalo Bills’ first touchdown barely three minutes into the game.
Still, Taylor, the Hampton High School and Virginia Tech product, threw for 277 yards and three scores in his first NFL road start, and the Bills embarrassed the Miami Dolphins 41-14 Sunday.
The Bills totaled 429 yards, intercepted Ryan Tannehill three times in the first half, and led 27-0 before Miami scored late in the third quarter.
Taylor said the fast start was critical.
“We definitely know the challenges of the first road game — taking the crowd out of it,” he said. “Mostly it was just going out there and executing.”
Buffalo (2-1) bounced back from a dismal loss at home to New England. The Dolphins (1-2), who began the season with high hopes of ending a seven-year playoff drought, fell into last place in the AFC East with their second consecutive loss.
“It certainly starts with me, the accountability,” said Miami coach Joe Philbin, who began the year with little job security. “I take responsibility. … We’ll look at everything we’re doing. There’s no magic potion. If I had a magic potion, I would have brought it out earlier.”
The loss was the most lopsided defeat in a home opener for the Dolphins, who are beginning their 50th season.
Buffalo improved to 5-2 against Miami over the past four years. The Bills are 18-26 against everyone else during that span.
The victory was especially sweet for former Dolphins Clay and Richie Incognito, who were co-captains for Buffalo.
Clay, whose TD reception went for 25 yards, signed as a free agent with Buffalo after four years in the Dolphins. Incognito played in Miami for the first time since his career was derailed for a year and a half when he was implicated in the Dolphins’ bullying scandal.
“The last game I played on this field and everything that went down after it — definitely it left a bad taste in my mouth,” Incognito said. “To come down and see the guys and compete against them and get a win, it’s a great feeling.”
Another ex-Dolphin, backup Bills receiver Chris Hogan, added a final insult when he caught a 38-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
The crowd included billionaire Warren Buffett, who hung out before the game on the Dolphins sideline wearing a No. 93 Ndamukong Suh jersey — and shoulder pads. After taking stock of the Dolphins, he would likely give them a sell rating.
Fans were booing after less than 12 minutes, and by the fourth quarter the stadium was mostly deserted.
“There’s only one to go — up,” tight end Jordan Cameron said. “You can’t get any lower than this. We’re going to find out a lot about each other, a lot about this team this week.”
Tannehill set a franchise record by extending his streak of consecutive passes without an interception to 160, but then threw two to linebacker Preston Brown, who returned the second one 43 yards for a touchdown.
Miami had trouble blocking the Bills without left tackle Branden Albert, who was inactive because of a right hamstring injury. Tannehill was hit repeatedly, and Lamar Miller was held to 38 yards rushing.
“Guys are frustrated,” Tannehill said. “We know we’re a better team than we’ve showed. There’s no panic, but definitely urgency to get this thing turned around.”
The only negative for the Bills was injuries. They lost receiver Sammy Watkins with a right calf injury and guard John Miller with a groin injury.
Running back LeSean McCoy scored his 55th NFL touchdown — and his first with the Bills — on a 10-yard reception. Clay had five catches for 82 yards.
First-year starter Taylor repeatedly picked on cornerback Brice McCain and went 21 for 29 with no turnovers and no sacks. Buffalo has scored 100 points in his three starts.