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Dublin: 2°C Thursday 21 January 2021

Bills hold on to claim first playoff win since '95

The Colts closed the gap to three points in the fourth quarter, but were unable to upset the home crowd.

The Bills' Josh Allen celebrates with teammate Stefon Diggs.
The Bills' Josh Allen celebrates with teammate Stefon Diggs.
Image: Jeffrey T. Barnes

JOSH ALLEN THREW for two touchdowns and rushed for another as the Buffalo Bills bagged their first NFL playoff victory since 1995 with a nail-biting 27-24 wild card defeat of the Indianapolis Colts this evening.

Allen finished with 324 yards from 26-of-35 attempts to send the Bills into next week’s AFC divisional round while the Colts were left ruing a decision not to kick an easy first-half field goal that ultimately proved the difference.It was the second-seeded Bills’ first win in the post-season since a 37-22 win over the Miami Dolphins in December 1995, and ended a run of five straight playoff losses.

The Colts, meanwhile, came up just short, rallying from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to come within a field goal of tying the game with two minutes remaining.

The Colts had one last chance to mount a game-winning drive, but the game ended when a desperate Hail Mary attempt from quarterback Philip Rivers was batted away by Bills safety Micah Hyde.

“It doesn’t matter how it looks, it’s the playoffs, it’s win or go home,” a relieved Allen said afterwards.

“It has been a long time since Bills Mafia was able to celebrate like this. But it’s one game. We’ve got a long way to go.”

The Colts had taken the lead midway through the first quarter with a 30-yard Rodrigo Blankenship field goal in freezing conditions at the Bills’ Orchard Park, New York, home. But Allen launched a long drive before picking out Dawson Knox for his first touchdown to make it 7-3 to Buffalo.

Rivers then led the Colts on a a nine-play 65-yard drive to send Jonathan Taylor rumbling into the end zone for a 10-7 lead.

nfl-afc-wild-card-round-indianapolis-colts-at-buffalo-bills Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

The Colts looked poised to stretch their lead after forcing a Buffalo punt, but instead opted to pass up an easy field goal from the Bills four-yard line that would have made it 13-7.

The Bills defense forced the stop, and then Allen launched a 96-yard drive that ended with the quarterback rushing over from five yards to help make it 14-10 at the break.

A 46-yard Tyler Bass field goal put the Bills 17-10 ahead in the third quarter before Allen then picked out Diggs from 35 yards for a touchdown for a 24-10 lead.

Rivers cut the deficit with a touchdown to Zach Pascal but the Colts were left 11 points adrift when rookie kicker Bass nailed a 54-yard field goal as the Bills took a 27-16 lead.

Rivers set up a nervy finale with a touchdown pass to Jack Doyle, and a two-point conversion made it 27-24, but the Bills defence held firm.

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