(Orchard Park) Quarterback Josh Allen threw two touchdown passes, scored one with a run and Micah Hyde knocked down a desperate pass from Philip Rivers to give the Buffalo Bills their first playoff win in a quarterfinal de siècle, 27-24 against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday afternoon.
Posted Jan 9, 2021 4:49 PM
Updated at 18:38
The Bills ended a six-game losing streak in the playoffs. The streak began with a 37-22 win over the Miami Dolphins on December 30, 1995.
Moreover, the victory came in their first home playoff game in 24 years and, for the first time this season, in front of spectators, numbering 6,700.
Allen concluded his workday with 26 completed passes in 35 attempts for gains of 324 yards. He threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Dawson Knox, and a 35-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs.
The Bills’ first color bearer to lead the NFL in regular season catches and yards gained through the air, Diggs finished the game with six catches for 128 yards.
The outcome of the game was determined on the very last play when Rivers found himself facing a fourth down and 11 yards to cross from the Bills’ 47-yard line.
The veteran Colts quarterback made a long pass to TY Hilton, who was surrounded by several defensive players on the right side of the end zone. Hyde stepped in among this group of players, jumped into the air and knocked the ball down.
The Bills (14-3) posted their seventh straight victory since a 32-30 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 15.
Rookie puncher Tyler Bass produced the runs that eventually made the difference as he landed a 54-yard field goal that gave the Bills a 27-16 lead with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter.
For their part, the Colts (11-6) ended a season in which they amassed 11 wins for the first time since 2014.
They were also making their second playoff appearance in three years under the guidance of head coach Frank Reich.
In his first playoff outing with the Colts – and perhaps his last when considering ending his career – Rivers had 27 of his 46 passes for gains of 309 yards. His career record in the playoffs is 5-7.
In similar circumstances to last year, when the Bills squandered a 16-0 third-quarter lead in a 22-19 overtime loss to the Houston Texans, the Bills nearly let a 24- lead slip away. 10 in the fourth quarter after Allen’s perfect pass to Diggs, along the sidelines.
The Colts responded with a seven-play, 75-yard offensive streak, which they capped with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Zach Pascal.
Following Bass’s placement, the Colts scored another touchdown, less than two minutes later when Rivers joined, left unattended, for a 27-yard touchdown. Doyle caught another pass from Rivers, this one during the two-point conversion attempt to bring the Colts back to just three points behind the Bills.
“It doesn’t matter how,” Allen said. “It’s the playoffs. It’s a win, or we come home, and we got the job done. We need to shift our focus to our future opponent next week. ”
In the first half, the Colts were limited to one touchdown and a field goal even though they crossed the middle of the field in each of their five offensive series and held the ball for nine minutes longer than the Bills.
The turning point came as the Colts, then leading 10-7, were unable to add to that lead despite four attempts inside the Bills’ four-yard line.
The Bills fought back with a 96-yard ten-play push that ended with Allen’s five-yard run for a touchdown with 14 seconds left in the first half.
“Our defense did a great job,” Allen praised. “Just before half-time, she helped us get points. ”