ORCHARD PARK, NY (WKBW) — For the first time since 1995, the Buffalo Bills have won a playoff game. The Bills, the no. 2 seed in the AFC, beat the no. 7 Indianapolis Colts 27-24 Saturday afternoon in the first Wild Card game of the weekend.
With the win the Bills improve to 14-3 and advance to the AFC Divisional round.
After each team had their first drive of the day result in a punt, the Colts were able to take advantage more than midway through the 1st quarter. Rodrigo Blankenship hit a 30-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead.
The Bills once again had a long field but wasted no time responding. On 3rd & goal, Josh Allen was trying to run it in and instead, chipped it to tight end Dawson Knox who caught it for the touchdown. The Bills led 7-3 at the end of the 1st quarter.
The Colts were able to jump back in front midway through the 2nd quarter. On a drive that started on their own 45-yard line, running back Jonathan Taylor capped it off and ran up the middle from one-yard out to give the Colts a 10-3 lead. After a three-and-out for the Bills offense, the Colts were deep inside their own territory and opted to try for the touchdown rather the field goal on 4th and goal. The Bills defense stepped up and made the stop.
The Bills offense turned that stop into a 2:00 long drive that ended with more points. Josh Allen ran it in from five yards out to cap off a ten-play, 96-yard drive to take a 14-10 lead at the end of the 1st half.
Starting at their own 28-yard line to start the second half, their best starting field position of the game at that time, the Bills got into Colts territory and settled for a 46-yard field goal from Tyler Bass to take a 17-10 lead. The Colts stormed down field and settled for a field goal attempt to try and cut into the Bills lead, but Blankenship hit the post on a 33-yard attempt. The Bills maintained a 17-10 lead at the end of the 3rd quarter.
The Bills, driving to start the 4th quarter, capitalized once again and extended their lead. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs connected for the 9th time this season, this time on a 35-yard pass, to take a 24-10 lead less than a minute into the quarter.
The Colts, though, needing a quick response did just that. Taking just a little more than 2:00 off the clock the Colts took seven plays, 75 yards, to make it a 24-16 game with an unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt. The Bills, looking to extend their lead, were able to do so. Tyler Bass hit a 54-yard field goal attempt to put the team up 27-16 midway through the 4th quarter. His field goal is the longest playoff FG by a rookie in NFL history.
Once again, the Colts had a response. The offense stormed down field quickly and efficiently, capping off a five-play, 76-yard drive that lasted just 1:55 with a 27-yard TD pass from Philip Rivers to Jack Doyle to make it a 27-24 game after the successful two-point conversion.
After a Bills drive stalled, the Colts attempted a hail mary pass to win it but the Bills were able to break it up.
By the numbers
Allen finished the day 26-of-35 for 324 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the run game, finishing with 54 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. He became the first player in team history to throw for two touchdowns and rush for a touchdown in a single playoff game.
Stefon Diggs led the Bills receiving game with six catches for 128 yards and a touchdown [his 8th 100+yard receiving game this season]. He also became the first Bills receiver with over 100 yards in the playoffs since Eric Moulds in 1999. Gabriel Davis added four catches for 85 yards while Cole Beasley, returning from an injury, had seven catches for 57 yards.
Entering the game ranked 7th in the NFL in 3rd down conversions, the Bills offense struggled in that category, converting on just two of nine attempts.
The Bills will host the AFC Divisional round. Their opponent is still to be determined.