Circle the Wagons: Bills Win a Playoff Game

It wasn’t easy. We knew it was going to be far from easy. However, as I stated in the preview, there was one goal: survive and advance. For the first time in 25 years, the Buffalo Bills are advancing in the postseason. We will get into what went down in this crazy game. However, let’s take care of a couple of notes before diving in. Regardless of which side you were pulling for, it was incredible to see Bills Mafia in the stands. They finally get a team that wins a division title and COVID has prevented them from seeing a game live this season. For the fans in attendance to be there for the first Bills’ playoff win in a quarter of a decade, it was a welcomed sight to see.

On the other side, if this happens to be the last game of Philip Rivers’ career, he went down doing everything he could to keep his team in the game. When it looked like the Bills were going to pull away to start the second half, Rivers kept making plays to keep them alive. He even gave them a chance down the stretch. This game certainly made it seem like he could perform at a high level for one more season, and I’m sure Frank Reich and the rest of the team would love to see him back. His fate remains unknown, but if it is the end, a tip of the cap to Rivers for an outstanding career. With that, let’s dive into the game that provided an excellent start to Super Wild Card Weekend.

Playoff Josh

Bills QB Josh Allen after the game
After breaking most of the Bills’ single-season quarterback records, it was fitting that Josh Allen was the man who got the job done.

Aside from a costly strip-sack that took them out of field goal range when it mattered most, Josh Allen was unbelievable. Everybody had their question marks and doubts about him coming in. It was expected that he would try and be Superman to make up for his letdown last year against the Texans. Instead, he did what did all year long. He made his high percentage throws that attributed to his completion percentage skyrocket. He also carried the load for the rushing attack that struggled for much of the game. Especially when had Zach Moss leave the game early.

It wasn’t easy, but Allen made it look easy. Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley were both injury question marks, but played through and did so phenomenally. Gabriel Davis, in his first playoff game, had some unbelievable catches at the end of the first half to set up a touchdown. This gave the Bills a much-needed lead at halftime. Even when he had to resort to his legs, Allen was successful even though the Colts began to stop it in the second half. While these performances from Allen are now expected, the big x-factor now becomes Devin Singletary. With Moss likely out for the rest of the playoff, Singletary needs to lead the backfield to keep a balanced attack for this offense. Regardless, it was awesome to see Allen come out and prove that his regular-season performance was what to expect to see out of him in the postseason.

Defensive Struggles

Bills
Despite coming up shirt, Darius Leonard showed why he is amongst the league’s elite linebackers.

While we knew coming in that we were going to see two very good offenses, weren’t we also supposed to see two very good defenses? Coming in, I had my questions about the Colts’ defense, and for the most part, I was correct about my assessment. The Bills couldn’t run the ball except for designed Josh Allen runs. This played a huge factor because of how poor of starting field position they had for most of the first half. However, when Allen needed to throw, he was getting whatever he wanted. The Colts’ defense made a huge play in the fourth quarter on the Allen strip-sack craziness that took them out of potential field goal range. Regardless, it wasn’t enough to stop the Bills’ offense.

On the flip side, I was very confident about the Bills defense coming in. I thought their game plan was simple: stop the run and make Rivers beat you with his arm. Well, the Bills managed to do neither. Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines combined 153 yards on the ground. Rivers contributed 309 through the air. The fact that the Bills escaped this game with what we saw from their defense is more of a credit to their offense and special teams. The Colts had every chance to win this game and just missed the ability to do so. While Jordan Poyer made a huge play at the end, which we will get to next, if this is the defense we see in the next round, the Bills playoff run will be over regardless of who they play.

The Third Team’s Brutal Performance

Bills got screwed on the no-fumble call on this play
Luckily it didn’t impact the end result, but this non-reversal could’ve ended terribly.

Being a referee in the NFL is a very hard job. I don’t envy the judgement call that these guys need to make. However, instant replay is available to get calls correct. If they still manage to get the call wrong, then what are we doing?

The play made by Matt Milano and Jordan Poyer was a very high IQ play. Poyer very clearly waited for Zach Pascal to get up, knowing he would try and gain more yards. When he did, Poyer and Milano were ready to strip the ball out, which they did to perfection. To miss this on the field is one thing. However, to spend time looking and analyzing the play to come back out and not reverse the call is disgraceful. The NFL and their referees are very lucky to have gotten away with this will the Bills still winning. If the Colts would have won this game, it would have been an absolute nightmare. That didn’t happen. The Bills got their win, and they are onto the Divisional Round because nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.

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