The Bills defeated the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 to kick off the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend on Saturday, marking Buffalo’s first postseason victory since the 1995 season.
Think about it: Three years after that, the Colts drafted Peyton Manning No. 1 overall and came to expect Super Bowl contention every year. Now, the Bills have a legitimate superstar at quarterback in Josh Allen, who outdueled gusty veteran Philip Rivers to push Buffalo to the AFC divisional round.
Much of the pressure was on Buffalo to get the job done, given its lengthy playoff drought and status as a heavy favorite against the Colts, who were the seventh and final playoff seed in the conference.
The Colts could’ve taken a field goal late in the first half, but opted to go for it on a key fourth down deep in Buffalo territory, only to come up short.
Allen went 26-of-35 passing for 325 yards and two touchdowns, including a beauty in the fourth quarter to Stefon Diggs that put the Bills up 24-10:
But Rivers, who threw for 309 yards through the air and two scores himself, wasn’t done. He responded with two scoring strikes in the last quarter, capitalizing on a busted coverage to hit Jack Doyle for 27 yards in the end zone, which cut Buffalo’s lead to 27-24 following a successful two-point conversion:
Indianapolis was on the precipice of field-goal range to tie the game late, when it appeared Colts receiver Zach Pascal fumbled the ball away with 28 seconds left. Upon review, officials determined he was down by contact, much to the chagrin of Bills fans in attendance.
It really seemed Pascal put it on the ground prior to being down, but Indianapolis couldn’t get close enough in the end to kick it. Rivers’ heave as time expired got knocked down by Micah Hyde.
Between the last drive that fell just short, a doinked 33-yard field goal by rookie Rodrigo Blankenship and a stronghold on field position particularly during the first half, there were plenty of chances for the Colts to pull the upset.
Alas, Allen was simply too much, as he ran for a team-high 54 yards on 11 carries and a score to lead the triumphant charge.
The NFL world had much to say about the Bills winning their first postseason game in 25 years:
Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs (35-yard TD)— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) January 9, 2021
26.1% Completion Probability
➤ Air Distance: 46.3 yards
➤ Allen under pressure
➤ Receiver Separation: 1.4 yards
*Allen is 7/9, 162 yards, 2 TD on vertical routes today#INDvsBUF | Powered by @awscloud pic.twitter.com/GjPmmYL6wI
I’ll say it again. Josh Allen. Legend.— Jim Rome (@jimrome) January 9, 2021
Buffalo was very lucky to recover Josh Allen's late fumble. But Indy was very lucky Paschal was ruled down before he got up and fumbled.— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 9, 2021
The Colts played as dumb a game as you can play. They deserved to lose. Even getting up there in that situation with no timeouts and the clock was idiotic— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) January 9, 2021
Congrats to the Bills. But what a total and complete mess that final two minutes was.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 9, 2021
How did New York not see that needed to be reviewed? If Bills didn’t have a timeout, the game would have proceeded with the Colts keeping the ball.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 9, 2021
That was a very peculiar sequence of plays the #Colts ran at the finish. Buffalo wins because they had the better QB and coach today.— Mike Greenberg (@Espngreeny) January 9, 2021
And the Bills win by the field goal that didn't get kicked.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 9, 2021
Breaking: The Bills have learned how to defend the Hail Mary— Marcel Louis-Jacques (@Marcel_LJ) January 9, 2021
When the Colts end up Charger-ing pic.twitter.com/XjhnuKgK9C— SportsNation (@SportsNation) January 9, 2021
The Bills are the football equivalent of starting to drink at 4 on a Thursday which is to say a little reckless but so much fun— Charlotte Wilder (@TheWilderThings) January 9, 2021