The Bills did take home the 27-24 win, but the Colts certainly made them work for it.
Following the Bills’ first playoff win in 25 years, here’s how Bills Wire graded Buffalo out in this week’s report card:
Bills quarterback Josh Allen (Gannett photo)
Mostly good from Josh Allen under center for the Bills. Buffalo’s quarterback was 26-for-35 passing with two touchdowns. He also got it done with his legs, rushing for a touchdown and adding another 54 yards of offense. Most impressive was the way Allen found targets down the field while on the move. His touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs was a perfect pass, too. But an old fear did seem to pop up a time or two as Allen tried to do a little too much a time or two. He lost rushing yards because of this and Allen also did nearly have a costly turnover.
Running back: C+
Bills running back Zack Moss. Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
This might be the last we see of Zack Moss this season due to an ankle injury he suffered. Moss didn’t get a lot going on the ground but the help in front of him via Buffalo’s offensive line wasn’t good. Moss did standout with his catches, though. Moss caught all four of his targets for a hard-earned 26 yards. Singletary had a 13-yard run on the ground, but his other two were short carries. Singletary will get the load going forward without Moss.
Tight end: B+
Bills tight end Dawson Knox (Gannett photo)
Blocking wise, nothing bad stood out for Buffalo’s tight end room. The best play of the game for the position was Dawson Knox’s touchdown catch. While only grabbing two catches for five yards, Knox, like Allen, improvised on that score. A good head’s up play by him.
Wide receiver: A-
Bills’ Stefon Diggs. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Kind of like Allen, the Bills wide receivers only had one knock and that was John Brown. He had a bad game as catches were going off his hands. Brown did not catch any of his four targets. Still, Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis more than made up for it. After just one catch in the first half, Diggs ended the game with six grabs for 128 yards and a touchdown. Davis was actually the more impressive one. Davis made several highlight-reel grabs, including some early ones which helped the Bills’ sputtering offense find some life. On a 19-yard screen pass to Diggs, Davis even stole the show with an excellent block to make that play happen. Cole Beasley rounds out the unit with seven catches for 57 yards. His best grab came on 3rd-and-9. Beasley worked for the first down after catching it short of the sticks.
Offensive line: C-
Bills quarterback Josh Allen. Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Not a banner day for this group as the Colts defensive line won their fair share of battles. That tone was set early as well. Dion Dawkins totally missed a block causing a hit on Allen on the second drive of the game. Daryl Williams didn’t whiff, but two drives later, he was also bowled over and Allen was hit again as he got the ball away. Combined with the two sacks he took, the Bills QB is probably sore after that one. In terms of run blocking, DeForest Bucker certainly got the better of Mitch Morse. He did so once on back-to-back plays, tackling Moss quickly, leading to a three-and-out drive. The left side of the line also was blown up for a loss of five yards on a third down run by Allen, pushing Buffalo’s offense back while in long field goal range. Heck, even that touchdown from Allen to Knox? The Colts’ D-line had that bad boy completely blown up.
Defensive line: C-
Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes, Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
The Bills defensive line did not have a very consistent game. Indy’s running backs broke off a couple of big runs thanks to the huge holes created by their offensive line. Right off the bat, Vernon Butler in the middle was thrown aside on a 12-yard carry by Jonathan Taylor. Harrison Phillips and Quinton Jefferson also allowed a big hole to open up on a 10-yard carry. In the second half, Nyheim Hines had his number called a few times. One of his carries went for 29 yards and AJ Epenesa and Justin Zimmer didn’t look very good on that one. But on the very good side, when their backs were against the wall on the fourth-down goal line stop, the defensive line stepped up. In terms of pass rush, no sacks on Phillip Rivers. He does get the ball out quick, but on a couple of deep passes like Michael Pittman’s 32-yard catch which setup a touchdown, he had all day.
Bills middle linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Against running backs, Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano both had some decent plays. Milano sniffed out an early third-down screen play to end a drive on a pass to Taylor. On a tackle for loss by Jerry Hughes, Edmunds forced Taylor to run right into him by flying through a gap. When it came to tight ends? Not a game to remember for either player. Edmunds broke up one pass to Jack Doyle and Milano tipped an early pass at the line… but for the majority of the game, Indy’s tight ends worked both players. Usually Milano is reliable in this area.
Bills safety Micah Hyde congratulates teammate Jordan Poyer (Gannett photo)
Buffalo’s safety duo of Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde had a heck of a game. Their ability to come and support the front-seven at the line of scrimmage is a thing of beauty. The pair also had a crucial pass breakup on a first half third down against TY Hilton that could’ve changed the game. Pittman did have 90 yards receiving, but a few of his catches were just perfect balls by Rivers. One even with Tre’Davious White in coverage just made you shake your head with how perfect the ball was placed. Against the run, slot cornerback Taron Johnson is playing lights out right now. He helped during the goal line stand. Poyer also certainly should’ve had a forced fumble. What a bad call that was. And of course… Hail Mary = No problem.
Special teams: A
Bills’ Tyler Bass. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Tyler Bass stole the show. Bass hit one kick after the Bills lost yards on third down the play prior, salvaging the drive. Then his 54-yarder won the game. What more could one want? Punter Corey Bojorquez was solid. He averaged 47 yards per punt.