4 Observations: Bills survive, advance 27-24


Buffalo Bills’ Stefon Diggs (14) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of Indianapolis Colts’ T.J. Carrie (38) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)


  1. Find a way. Before the season started the Bills hung a banner on the outdoor practice facility fence. The message was simple— find a way. It wasn’t already pretty on Saturday, the defense gave up a lot of big pass plays and the offense struggled at times but the Bills found a way to get the job done. The defense failed to force a turnover, they were unable to sack Philip Rivers but they found a way to make a goal line stand before half that turned the tide. The Bills offense wasn’t the well oiled machine we’ve seen during their 6-game win streak but they still found a way to put up 27 points. The Colts delivered their best punch and the Bills still won, they found a way.
  1. What a swing. The complexion of the game changed with 2 minutes left in the 1st half. The Colts had a 4 point lead with the ball on the 1 yard line but the Bills defense turned them away on 3rd and 4th down. The Bills offense took the field with 1:46 left in the 2nd quarter and drove 96 yards for a score. That drive consisted of two toe drag receptions by Gabriel Davis, both were reviewed and called catches. Allen baited the Colts into an offsides on 4th down when they were clearly just trying to draw and flag. That penalty resulted in a 1st down and the drive was capped the drive with a Josh Allen TD run. The Colts were on the cusp of taking a 10 point into the half but instead trailed 14-10. If that sequence plays out differently who knows how the rest of the game goes.
  1. Old man Rivers. The Colts quarterback has still go it. Philip Rivers, the 17-year veteran, delivered some big plays against a Bills defense that had been pretty solid against the pass. Rivers finished with 309 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Colts offense has relied heavily on the Jonathon Taylor and the run game so I wasn’t sure how much they would lean on Rivers but he was great in the loss. Seven different receivers had 30+ yards for the Colts. Every time it looked like the Bills were going to pull away Rivers would answer to make things uncomfortable again.
  1. Back it up. The Bills offense played n the shadow of their own endzone the entire 1st half. On the first 5 possessions, Allen & Co. started with the 3, 15 , 11, 6, 4 yard line. The Bills average starting field  position was the 8 yard line. A big reason the offense was pinned  so deep was the defense’s inability to get off the field on 3rd down. At one point, early in the 2nd half, the Colts were 7-11 on 3rd down. The Bills defense will need to clean that up moving forward.

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