On a snowy, windy, chilly day in Buffalo, the Bills escaped a closer-than-they’d-prefer game against the Indianapolis Colts with a win, 13-7. LeSean McCoy saved the day, putting the team on his back with a 21-yard touchdown run in overtime.
Heavy snow and high winds kept both teams limited. Early on the visibility suffered, and both teams opted to go for fourth down conversions and invest heavily in running the ball to deal with the conditions. A Colts drive came close to Buffalo’s end zone, but Adam Vinateri couldn’t settle his feet on a field goal attempt and it went wide right.
The Bills offense found a spark of life at the end of the second quarter. McCoy completed consecutive runs of 23 and 25 yards, then Nathan Peterman hooked up with Kelvin Benjamin on two passes to complete the drive with a touchdown. As the weather started to settle down in the second half, the Bills looked like they were set to walk out with a win. Then Peterman suffered a concussion when he ran out in the open field, and the game looked a lot less certain. Joe Webb, who spent most of his time with the Bills as a special teams ace, would finish the game as the quarterback under center.
Frank Gore hit the hundred yard mark for the first time of his season, as the Colts leaned on the ageless running back for the most carries of his career. The Colts brought out more of their passing playbook in the second half, and although Jacoby Brissett only threw for 63 yards on 18 passing attempts, he found paydirt when it counted, scoring a touchdown with fewer than two minutes left.
A penalty on a two point conversion pushed the Colts back, but they succeeded on their point after touchdown when Vinateri delivered a kick that only he could make.
With Webb in the game, the Bills were already a long shot to score any points in the rest of the game. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when he threw an interception on the ensuing possession. Bills fans collectively held their breath as Vinateri (who’d just converted a 43 yard kick less than a minute earlier) missed his 43 yard field goal attempt wide left.
Heading into overtime the Bills won the coin toss, needing a touchdown to guarantee victory. Everyone knew they’d be going to the ground on every opportunity. Mixing in some quarterback runs, the Bills were able to get past midfield. Facing a fourth and one, McDermott committed the same sin as Rex Ryan before him, Doug Marrone before him, and so on and so forth. With the fans at New Era Field showering his team with a chorus of boos, McDermott elected to punt, torpedoing his chance for a win, when anything less than a win would take his team out of the playoff race.
But, hey. Life doesn’t always follow the narrative, and the Colts are a bad team dealing with a slew of injuries. The Bills forced a Colts punt on their first possession. In a Christmas season miracle, Joe Webb found Deonte Thompson deep for a huge gain. LeSean McCoy brought them closer, and he exploded for a touchdown to save his team.
McCoy finished with 156 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries, and is now on the brink of 10,000 career rushing yards.
The Buffalo Bills are 7-6, still haven’t had a losing record this season, and haven’t been eliminated from the playoffs. The biggest question down the stretch is: Who will be available to play quarterback?