What if someone told you they had the audacity to miss a Buffalo Bills game? What if you could show them one play, and one play only, to recap the whole thing? What play would you choose? Welcome to Plays that defined 2020…
Wild Card Round: Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
Despite being old enough to recall the Super Bills years, there was a long stretch of time during which I doubted we’d ever see sentences like the next one again. The second seed Buffalo Bills were hosting the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs. Expectations were high. Anxiety levels were higher. In the end the Bills pulled it off in dramatic fashion. Home. Playoff. Victory.
Philip Rivers to Nyheim Hines (Q2, 9:33)
The Indianapolis Colts managed to do something that no opponent had done to the Buffalo Bills in a long time. Surprise them. Primary back Jonathan Taylor was kept under four yards per carry on 21 tries. Philip Rivers was kept to a pedestrian 6.7 yards per carry. But the Colts kept finding ways to stay alive, most often with Nyheim Hines as a change of pace. This was Hines’s only catch of the game on three targets. He only had six carries but was neck-and-neck in rushing yardage with Taylor. If Indy had progressed, Hines and the element of surprise would have been the catalyst.
Bills failed third-down conversion (Q2, 6:55)
Buffalo uncharacteristically struggled in the Wild Card Round. The Bills converted only two third downs on nine tries, well short of their near 50 percent rate during the season. An unbalanced offense was a major culprit. On paper the run game looked fine, but the backs had only ten carries for 42 yards. Josh Allen carried the ball 11 times for 54 yards. A team that had started making blowouts look routine was considerably cooled.
Allen to Diggs touchdown (Q4, 14:10)
Buffalo did enough to stay ahead of the Colts for most of the day, despite their struggles. Unlike the Colts, the Bills weren’t relying on any surprises. Stefon Diggs put up 128 yards on six catches and this touchdown that put the Bills up by two scores. The Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs that got them here, also got them through here.
Josh Allen sacked (Q4, 3:50)
Indianapolis found pressure at opportune moments. Six quarterback hits and two sacks on their side of the ledger neatly outpaced the Bills and their zero sacks and one QB hit. This sack was critical to the game. With a dwindling clock, Buffalo was already in field goal range and driving. While the Bills recovered the ball, they never recovered their field position and ended up punting to the Colts with over two minutes on the clock.
Colts Hail Mary attempt (Q4, 0:04)
It was actually 2:30 left on the clock. While the Colts only needed three points to tie, the Buffalo defense tightened up and forced a Hail Mary attempt. Micah Hyde made sure it couldn’t connect. Buffalo Bills. Playoff win. HOME playoff win.
It’s time to vote for the play that defined the game. Remember, it’s the play that best tells the overall story of this contest, not necessarily a favorite play or best highlight.
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