ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills were far from perfect. And this time it didn't matter.
For once, coach Chan Gailey found it a lot easier going over the blemishes in team meetings on Friday, because the Bills were finally coming off a victory.
"Yeah, you still have concerns, but it's a lot easier to talk about them after you won a game," Gailey said, a day after Buffalo hung on for a 19-14 win over the Miami Dolphins. "Guys take criticism a little better when you've won the ballgame. And what it does to me is it proves to our guys that they don't have to be perfect to win."
In snapping a three-game skid and winning for only the second time in seven games, the Bills (4-6) received a dominating performance from their oft-maligned defense to overcome an offense that had difficulty finishing.
While the offense settled for field goals on four drives inside the Dolphins 20, safeties Jairus Byrd and Bryan Scott combined to seal the win by coming up with interceptions in the last 2 minutes to end Miami's final two possessions.
Offensive sputters aside, it was the defense's ability to close out a game that was reason to provide hope that the Bills are finally moving in the right direction.
"We've found ways to lose games that we shouldn't lose," Scott said. "The lack of consistency that we've been dealing with all year and not finishing strong or just playing a half of football, to finally put it together, that's a great feeling."
It was a long time in coming for a high-priced, Mario Williams-led unit that had taken the brunt of the blame for the team's woes. Before Thursday, Buffalo ranked 31st in the NFL in yards allowed, was dead last in giving up an average 31.67 points a game and had not produced a turnover in its previous three outings.
Against the Dolphins, the Bills forced three turnovers, including a fumble recovered by Byrd. Williams had one of the team's three sacks. Buffalo gave up 184 yards and 16 first downs — both season lows — and allowed Miami to cross midfield just twice on 11 possessions.
"This is one of the better mornings of the year right here," defensive tackle Marcell Dareus said. "You get a win. You feel good."