Buffalo Bills and wildcard weekend — it’s impossible to have a normal game, it seems. Anyway, Buffalo fought hard against the Indianapolis Colts and more, and finally won a playoff game after 25 years, by a score of 27-24. The afternoon was full of ups and downs, but the Bills finished on top. Here are my top three takeaways from today’s win:
The stage isn’t too big for Josh Allen
Twenty-five years and no playoffs wins? No problem. No matter how much pressure you put on Allen’s shoulders, he always seems ready to answer the call. Today wasn’t different.
Every time #17 came on to the field, he did it with MVP chants coming from the stands. He showed the world why. Allen is literally the Bills’ offense. Yeah, he has a pair of All-Pro WRs on his side, but watching him play, it’s easy to understand why those guys love playing with him. Allen simply makes everyone around him better.
In a rough afternoon for Buffalo, the former Wyoming Cowboy consistently dealt with different challenges and always found ways to overcome them. He was the team’s passing and rushing attack all afternoon, buying time outside the pocket with some Houdini-esque escapes and throwing the ball off balance or rushing for yardage on designed QB runs.
The Colts’ defense played a great game, but Allen was simply too good to be stopped. He finished the day completing 26 of 35 passes for 324 yards, two TDs, and no INTs. He added 54 yards and another TD on eleven carries. It looks like an NFL MVP performance to me, and he was more than a handful to the Indianapolis defense.
It’s good to see Allen playing at his best on the biggest stage. The Bills will go as far as their QB takes them.
Team Shows Resilience During Difficult Stretch
As I said before, it was a rough afternoon overall for the Bills. The Colts came well prepared and did all the right things necessary to take the lead in the first half (well, almost. Looking at you, Kemoko Turay.).
They were successful staying on the field with the running game being a threat and opening holes to be exploited by QB Phillip Rivers in the passing game. The veteran played a good game and took advantage of those opportunities.
When the Bills’ defense succeeded stopping the Colts’ offense, punter Rigoberto Sanchez did a great job pinning the Bills inside the ten-yard line twice. With the dominance in field position and possession time, Indianapolis looked poised to finished the half ahead, but couldn’t.
most lopsided you may ever see— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) January 9, 2021
starting field position today:
Colts at their own....
42, 41, 36, 35, 25
Bills at their own...
3, 4, 6, 11, 15
AND YET THE BILLS ARE WINNING
With a stop inside the five-yard line, Buffalo’s defense gave another opportunity to Allen, who marched the team downfield and scored a TD to gave the Bills a 14-10 lead in a half that could’ve ended in much differently. That shows how strong this team is; even when the things aren’t going their way, they’re still competitive.
Defensive Woes Rear their Ugly Heads
Since the bye week it looked like Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier figured out what was going wrong on the defensive side of the ball and fixed it. The unit was back at their high level of years past, able to contain the opposing rushing attacks, force third down situations, and leave the field on those opportunities with very good pass defense.
Well, Frank Reich and the Colts’ offense found ways to bring back some bad memories for the Bills’ defense. Buffalo came prepared to slow down rookie sensation Johnathan Taylor and the Colts’ rushing attack, containing him well in the first half. However, it came at the cost of being exposed against the pass, and Rivers made them pay.
Jonathan Taylor on the Colts’ first TD drive:— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 9, 2021
23 total yards
Two first downs
In the second half, with the Bills’ defense gassed, Indianapolis RBs, especially Nyheim Hines, started to find holes created by their strong interior OL, and the big plays followed. The Colts moved the ball at will, running or passing, and quickly put up two TD drives, making the game very close in the 4th.
Fortunately, Rivers and his weapons didn’t have another drive like that in them. The Bills’ defense stepped up and closed a tough game with Micah Hyde batting down a Hail Mary attempt. Jordan Poyer actually made a sensational game-winning play before that, but unfortunately, it got negated by an inexcusable call and review by the officials.
Regardless, even not playing at their best and showing some dangerous flaws that need to be corrected ASAP, Buffalo found a way to win. It literally was Buffalo vs. Everybody, and the Bills came out on top. On to the Divisional Round!