Bills-Dolphins is officially the AFC East’s most heated rivalry.
A long-simmering cold war went hot on New Year’s Eve, when Jarvis Landry instigated a massive brawl that resulted in Landry and teammate Kenyan Drake getting ejected.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Drake’s offense? He chucked a Bills player’s helmet.
As for Landry, he will be at least fined and could face discipline that carries into 2018 for disrespecting an official.
The fourth-quarter fracas began with pushing and shoving after Landry caught a shovel pass for a 1-yard touchdown. Landry, unhappy with something the Bills did, got in the face of Buffalo safety Jordan Poyer, headbutted Poyer and then appeared to throw a punch.
From there, things devolved completely, capped by Drake’s helmet toss of a Bills defender.
Landry was disqualified for both his behavior toward the official and unnecessary roughness. Kenny Stills also drew a 15-yard penalty.
Landry’s ejection marred what should have been a good day, as earlier in the drive he broke his own team record for catches in a season (110, set in 2015). Landry, who will become an unrestricted free agent in March if the Dolphins do not lock him up before then, finished his fourth NFL season with 112 catches for 987 yards and nine touchdowns.
Not a lot went right for the Dolphins in 2017.
But from an individual perspective, the last day of the year could not have gone much better for Cameron Wake.
By starting and appearing in a bunch of first-half snaps, Wake ensured he would appear in at least 55 percent of the Dolphins’ defensive snaps this year.
Why is that number important? It triggered a $1 million performance bonus in his contract.
But that’s not all. He also reached a benchmark that many use to determine whether a pass-rusher has had a good year.
Wake’s first-half sack of Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor gave him 10 for the season, and 10 or more in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his career. Just before halftime, he shared a sack with Andre Branch.
Wake became the 12th player in NFL history to have at least 10 sacks at age 35 or older, and the fourth in the past 15 years. The others: John Abraham, Julius Peppers and Terrell Suggs.
This is the fifth time in Wake’s nine-year career he recorded double-digit sacks. Wake is second on the team’s all-time list with 92.
In a fitting end to a brutal 2017, the Dolphins’ inactives list was made up predominantly of injured players.
Four Dolphins who started games this year did not play in the finale because of injury: left tackle Laremy Tunsil, quarterback Matt Moore, running back Damien Williams and cornerback Alterraun Verner.
Combine that with more than a dozen players on injured reserve, and Miami truly limped to the finish.
Zach Sterup, who was on the Browns’ practice squad just a couple of months ago, started in place of Tunsil, who is dealing with an ankle issue.
Moore, meanwhile, missed the final five games of the season. Both he and Williams got injured in the first Dolphins-Patriots game.
Other Dolphins inactives: safety Trae Elston, tackle Eric Smith and wide receiver Rashawn Scott.
Rookie guard Isaac Asiata was active for the first time as a pro.
▪ The Bills entered Sunday with high playoff hopes. They ended the game without their best player. LeSean McCoy injured his ankle during a second-half run. He left the field on a medical cart and did not return.
▪ The Dolphins recovered their fourth onside kick Sunday, the most by any team since the NFL started keeping track in 1997.