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ROCKPILE REVIEW - Survive and Advance


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The Bills won their first playoff game in 25 years Saturday, beating the Colts 27-24.  It wasn’t always pretty, but it was effective. Win and move on.

 

The game was all about Josh Allen.  He outgunned Philip Rivers in the passing game, and he led the Bills in rushing.  In all, Allen accounted for 354 of the Bills 397 yards of offensive production. 

 

Allen was his usual spectacular self.  Trailing 3-0 early in the game, he led the Bills on an eight-play, 85 yard drive.  Along the way, he made multiple big throws, including a 37-yard flick-of-the-wrist bullet to Stefon Diggs.  Maybe Aaron Rodgers makes that throw – no one else.  And then, on second and goal from the three, on a cleverly designed run pass option draw play, Allen picked and probed along the line, looking for a seam to run through to the end zone.  Finding nothing, Allen backed off.  Off balance and on his way to the gound, Allen somehow delivered a wobbling, floating football to a wide open Dawson Knox for the touchdown.  One key to the play was the offensive line not pushing downfield, as they would have on a straight running play, and avoiding a flag for having players illegally down field.  The other key was having a 6’5”, 240 pound athletic competitor with the ball in his hands. 

 

Allen was at it again late in the half.  After Frank Reich mysteriously passed up a chip shot field goal to extend the lead to 13-7 and instead watched his team get stuffed by the Bills defense, Allen took the Bills on a 96-yard drive, highlighted by two really special sideline passes to Gabriel Davis, one for 37 yards to the right and the other for 19 yards to the left.  Davis tapped his toes so close to the line that both were reviewed, but there was not enough evidence in either case to overturn the completion calls.  Inside the red zone, Brian Daboll relied on Allen to run the ball in for the touchdown.

 

In the second half, Allen had a beautiful 35-yard TD strike to Diggs.  The Diggs TD was one of twelve consecutive completions from Allen. 

 

Simply put, it was Allen left, Allen right, Allen up the middle all afternoon.  He ran, he threw, he led the team.  Yes, he threw a near-interception, he took a tough sack, and he fumbled; no matter.  Allen was THE star.  26 for 35, 324 yards and two TDs passing, 54 yards and a TD rushing.  That’s what the Bills need from their quarterback in the playoffs, and that’s what they got. 

 

The Bills needed all of Allen’s heroics, because Reich had a good game plan and Philip Rivers executed it nearly flawlessly.  The Colts’ running game gashed the Bills all afternoon, including late in the game when the Colts repeatedly and relentlessly marched downfield for scores.  In the fourth quarter, the Bills defense looked gassed, and the Colts kept coming.  The Colts’ last gasp started with two and a half minutes left in the game; they needed a field goal to force overtime, a TD to win. 

 

The Colts managed to move the ball on that final drive, converting two fourth down plays along the way.  On the second, Poyer made a spectacular, heady play, forcing a fumble that Tre’Davious White recovered.  The officials ruled the receiver down by contact, but it was clear that the receiver went down without contact. Poyer intentionally didn’t touch the receiver until he got up to head downfield, at which point Poyer made the tackle and stripped the ball.  The refs missed it live and inexplicably, on replay.  No matter – the Bills kept the Colts out of field goal range, and Micah Hyde stopped the Hail Mary pass on the final play, his third defended pass on a day when he made plenty of plays.

 

For the first time in a couple of months, the Bills defense seemed disorganized from time to time.  There was more than the usual pre-snap checking among defenders, repositioning themselves, trying to get ready.  Some misunderstanding between Milano and White and maybe others allowed a Colts tight end to run unchecked into the end zone, where Rivers found him for an easy score.  In the immortal words of Dick Jauron, the Bills have some things to clean up. 

 

Tyler Bass provided the margin of victory in the middle of the 4th quarter, when he drilled a clutch 54-yard field goal into the wind.  Drafting Bass to replace Stephen Hauschka is looking like a great move. 

 

There’s no doubt – teams have to learn to win in the playoffs.  In 2018 the Biills were just glad to be there.  In 2020, with a young and inexperienced QB, they stumbled at the end of the game and lost.  The Bills have built on those experiences; they weren’t in total control of the Colts game, but they won and they learned again. 

 

The Division championship game is the next step.

 

 

GO BILLS!!!

 

The Rockpile Review is written to share the passion we have for the Buffalo Bills. That passion was born in the Rockpile; its parents were everyday people of western New York who translated their dedication to a full day’s hard work and simple pleasures into love for a pro football team.

 

 

Edited by Shaw66
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As I said elsewhere the Bills are Off the Schneid and for once a playoff game went their way.

 

1999 Flutie Fumbles at the 3 yard line with :15 seconds left

2000 The Rob Johnson debacle I call if 9other call it "Music City Miracle" or "Homerun Throwback"

2017 3 friggin points & lose 10-3

2019 Blow 16-0 lead, multiple missed calls and oh Houston converting 3rd & 19 with a 7 yard pass over the middle....

 

Was not a fun game to watch as the Bills were just a little off and that is what I worried about after 5 dominant performances in a row (SF, Pitt, Den, NE & Mia).

 

Probably a good thing now that they won.....😜

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Thanks Shaw. 

I think that is a great point about the OL not drifting downfield  on the Knox touchdown. 

 

Tough win, but the time is now.  Need to be ready to be better against the next opponent 

 

 

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Great write up. Completely agree with you. 

 

This was a game for Josh Allen to show up.  Other than the final sack, he was composed and boy he threw rainbows,   That Colts D line was ferocious; their Linebackers were ready.   There was not much room for error.  Allen lit them up. 

 

This is the type of game for which the Bills drafted Allen and he delivered. 

 

Playoffs are a different ball game than regular season. The intensity is different; the quality of opposition (11-5) is huge.  We have choked at 5 attempts in 25 years, today we won because we had that guy who delivered. 

 

Our Prince is growing up towards that crown.  Go Bills. 

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Thanks for the write up.

 

Important win for the growth of this team.
 

They were mentally tough. They overcame adversity.

 

What’s McDermott always saying? “Find a way”. They did.

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The Colts run game was NOT gashing us all afternoon. Taylor was averaging under 3 YPC through 3 quarters. It wasn't until they put in Himes in the 4th quarter that we started getting gashed. Himes had 2 big runs and Taylor had 1 in the 4th quarter. 

 

Rivers was killing us with the short controlled passing game and picking up 3rd downs to move thr chains.

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Someone posted on another thread that is pretty amazing...

 

The Colts lowest score their last nine games was 24 points; against the Bills and the Steelers.  

 

We outscored a pretty efficient offense,  

 

BTW, the Steelers won 28-24.....it is going to be one helluva divisional round.  Go Bills.

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1 hour ago, Logic said:

Thanks for the write up.

 

Important win for the growth of this team.
 

They were mentally tough. They overcame adversity.

 

What’s McDermott always saying? “Find a way”. They did.

Stopping Philip Rivers and the Colts O from scoring on their final drive in the moment seemed a monumental task. It was not a comfortable way to finish a football game with Allen watching from the sidelines. I'm sure some of us hoped for a more convincing win. Playoffs however are a different beast. Style points mean nothing. 

 

I agree, It was a very important win for the growth of the team and Josh Allen. Quarter of a century in the makings. ( Josh and home playoff win)

 

A very big win for Bills fans.

 

Thanks OP for another great review 

Edited by Figster
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Good piece Shaw. If we want the AFC championship game the team must clean up alot from today.  Better protection and run blocking from the OL. DL has to generate pressure. We didn't put one fingernail on Rivers. We can't afford that awful field position of the 1st half. God we miss Star or any real 1tech.

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49 minutes ago, LABILLBACKER said:

Good piece Shaw. If we want the AFC championship game the team must clean up alot from today.  Better protection and run blocking from the OL. DL has to generate pressure. We didn't put one fingernail on Rivers. We can't afford that awful field position of the 1st half. God we miss Star or any real 1tech.

Colts Oline did a fantastc job protecting Rivers. One of the best Olines in the league IMO. Colts are a well balanced, well coached foatball team and it gave Buffalo a good idea of what to expect from a competitive standpoint going forward in the playoffs IMO.  Ravens, Titans and Browns can all run and throw the football as good or better IMO.   

 

 

Edited by Figster
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In retrospect the Hail Murray was the turning point of the season. In past years that would mean it was the moment where a promising season fell apart. But under McDermott's leadership it lit a fire under us and we haven't lost a game since. How fitting that our first playoff win in 25 years ended on a hail mary stop. I think that heartbreaking loss was exactly what this team needed.

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Great write up.  

 

I felt as if we were trying to be too cute with our offensive play calling and looked a lot like we did in our first game against New England.  When Daboll let Allen go it resulted in two huge touchdown drives.  We're a pass first team, so lets pass the ball then take what the defense gives us in the run game, it just felt too forced.  

 

Not sure how long Moss will be out but this will open up a smidgeon of playing time for either Yeldon or Williams I assume.  Will be interesting to see what will be done with that situation. 

 

I also love how everything came full circle today with Hyde batting down that Hail Mary pass.  What an awesome feeling it was to win this game.  

 

Onto the next!  GO BILLS!!!

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Shaw, I appreciate you placing things in perspective.  It wasn’t dominant, and by some here in other threads, you’d think we lost the game.  Allen had a very good game.  The team was off.  Now that we have the second seed (I knew this would be important), 6700 fans can root our team to hopefully our next victory.  
 

It’s most likely the Whiners (Pitt).  With Stefansky out in Cleveland and some other notables out, I don’t see the Browns pulling the upset.  They may keep it close and hope they do.  Nothing would be better tonight than the Steelers barely winning in a boring, ugly game.

 

I don’t see NO not winning, so the fun game of the day is watching TN and Baltimore beat the heck out if each other.  That game should be a slug fest.

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