The Buffalo Bills entered Week 17 with a remote chance of making the playoffs, with ESPN pegging their odds of snapping a 17-season playoff drought at 12.8 percent heading into Buffalo’s clash with the Miami Dolphins.
After holding on for a 22-16 win over Miami, which is the exact score the Tennessee Titans won by in defeating the Bills in the Music City Miracle during the 1999 season, the Bills’ work wasn’t done yet.
Buffalo could either make the playoffs with a Baltimore Ravens loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, or have both the Los Angeles Chargers and the Titans drop their games vs. the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars, respectively.
The Baltimore Ravens entered with a 97-percent chance of making the playoffs and just needed to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, who were playing only for pride, or get losses from the Titans or Bills.
While the Bills’ chances of winning in South Beach were really never in doubt after they raced out to a 22-3 lead over the Fish, there wasn’t any good news coming from the Chargers’ and Titans’ games, as the Chargers pulled away in the second half for a 30-10 win, and the Titans defense dominated the Jaguars en route to a 15-10 win.
That left Buffalo needing help from Cincinnati, and when the Bengals took a 24-10 lead in the second half, odds looked good for the Bills and their fans.
Then the Ravens mounted a comeback, scoring 17 unanswered points in taking a 27-24 lead on a Joe Flacco touchdown pass to Mike Wallace with 8:48 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Ravens seemed headed for another playoff appearance, which would have kept the Bills at home and out of the playoffs for an 18th straight season.. until Andy Dalton converted a fourth-and-12 pass to Tyler Boyd that went for a 49-yard touchdown pass, sending all of Western New York and #BillsMafia into a raucous celebration.
Check out this graph detailing the Bills’ playoff chances over the course of the afternoon, which were not looking good at all until Dalton’s miraculous TD toss to Boyd.
Suitable for framing, Bills fans: pic.twitter.com/v6SrV4Bsgg— Brian Burke (@bburkeESPN) January 1, 2018
It seems after years of suffering and bad luck, the football gods smiled down upon Western New York, helping the Bills snap their playoff drought in one of the least likely ways imaginable.
2018 is off to a great start for the Bills and their fans. Buffalo travels to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars at 1:05 p.m. Sunday in a Wild Card game.