As the NFL's newest rushing star, Jay Ajayi is carrying the Miami Dolphins toward respectability.
Ajayi tied a league record by surpassing 200 yards rushing for the second game in a row, helping Miami rally past the Buffalo Bills 28-25 Sunday.
Ajayi rushed for 214 yards in 29 carries after totaling 204 yards a week earlier in a win over Pittsburgh. He scored on a 4-yard run , and busted a 53-yarder when the Dolphins were pinned at their 3 and trailing in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins (3-4) used an extra lineman much of the time to clear big holes for Ajayi, who tied the record for consecutive 200-yard games held by O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.
"It's surreal to me," Ajayi said. "The backs I'm in company with - that's huge. Those are Hall of Fame guys, guys I look up to."
Two weeks ago the Dolphins appeared strong contenders for the No. 1 draft pick in 2017, and the discovery of a ground game has revived their season under first-year coach Adam Gase.
"I know this - every time No. 23 kept getting the ball, he was popping a run," Gase said. "I was leaning on him."
Miami overcame an 11-point deficit with 16 minutes left to end a four-game winning streak by the Bills (4-3) and beat them for only the second time in their past seven meetings.
"We got outplayed, we got outcoached, we got out-everythinged," Buffalo coach Rex Ryan said. "They were the more physical team today, there's no doubt about that. They controlled the game."
With Ajayi briefly sidelined by cramps, Damien Williams carried half the Bills' weary defense into the end zone on a 12-yard touchdown run that put the Dolphins ahead with 3:56 to go. On their next possession, Ryan Tannehill hit Kenny Stills for a 66-yard score that made it 28-17.
The Dolphins recovered an onside kick with 13 seconds left to seal the victory.
Tyrod Taylor threw long to Marquise Goodwin for a 67-yard touchdown that put the Bills up 17-6 midway through the third quarter. The Dolphins responded with a 75-yard drive for their first touchdown, and scored 22 points in the final 15:18.
EMERGING STAR: Ajayi, a second-year pro from Boise State, is the only NFL rusher with a 200-yard game this year. He ran for 187 yards as a rookie and totaled 117 in Miami's first five games this year before his breakout.
"The kid made some good runs, ran through some tackles," Ryan said. "He did a great job bouncing and cutting it back."
GIMPY McCOY: While Miami's ground game clicked, Bills running back LeSean McCoy left in the third quarter after he aggravated a left hamstring injury.
McCoy, ranked second in the NFL in rushing, had been questionable after hurting himself in practice Wednesday. He said he felt great in warmups and started the game, but the injury began to bother him in the second half.
"I tried to take off and felt a little pain, and it just didn't feel right," McCoy said. "I came out, that's the smart thing. I didn't want to reinjure anything."
McCoy totaled 11 yards in eight carries.
ILLEGAL HIT: Bills safety Aaron Williams missed the second half with a head and neck injury when blocked illegally by receiver Jarvis Landry, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Landry led with his shoulder, launched into Williams and hit him high. Williams remained on his back for a couple of minutes before he slowly rose and was led to the locker room.
When asked if the hit was dirty, Landry said, "Call it what you want. It's football."
Williams was still under observation after the game, Ryan said. The veteran safety missed most of last season when he underwent neck surgery following an injury that threatened his career.
EDGE IN STATS: The Dolphins outgained Buffalo 454 yards to 267 and had a 14-minute edge in time of possession, but were hurt by 13 penalties for 116 yards.
NOTES: Goodwin was hurt on an incompletion late in the game and went into the concussion protocol. Dolphins S Isa Abdul-Quddus suffered an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. ... The Bills' Lorenzo Alexanderhad a sack for the seventh game in a row. ... Bills LB Shaq Lawson, their first-round draft pick, made his NFL debut after recovering from shoulder surgery and had one tackle in limited action.