The Buffalo Bills won their first playoff game since 1995 against a tough Indianapolis Colts team that made them earn every yard. The Colts’ defense completely shut down Buffalo’s run game, and Phillip Rivers at times seemed to find answers against any defensive play call from defensive coordinator/assistant head coach Leslie Frazier. The Bills would not have emerged victorious if it weren’t for Josh Allen, and a couple particular rookies. More about how each rookie performed against the Colts below.
DE A.J. Epenesa
Philip Rivers’s quick decisions and ability to sense pressure prevented much impact from the rookie pass rusher. For an example of that, look no further than on the Colts’ final touchdown. Through sheer effort, Epenesa beat the tackle, along with a chipping running back, for a clear shot at the quarterback but Rivers released the ball within milliseconds of being tattooed. When Rivers actually did hold onto the ball, he was unceremoniously smothered by veteran tackle Jared Veldheer.
RB Zack Moss
As has been the case for the rookie most of the year, he chipped in a decent amount despite some poor blocking, thanks to his strong balance and receiving ability in the passing game. With the Colts sitting back with two deep safeties most of the time, Allen targeted Moss in the passing game four times for 26 yards, to go with seven designed runs for 21 yards. Moss’s day—as well as his season—came to an end late in the fourth quarter as he was tackled by linebacker Darius Leonard and landed awkwardly on his ankle.
WR Gabriel Davis
The rookie wideout once again displayed his ability to make himself available to his quarterback on off-script scrambles. With Allen flushed to his right, Davis followed him, catching the ball and perfectly dragging his feet along the sideline. Three of his four catches for 85 yards on the day came on such plays. He also had some key blocks on the perimeter, including one that sprung Stefon Diggs for a big gain and later led to a field goal.
QB Jake Fromm
As was the case during the entire regular season, Fromm was a healthy scratch against the Colts.
K Tyler Bass
Outside of Gabriel Davis and his sideline toe-drags, Bass was the other rookie clutch performer against Indianapolis. He made both field goal attempts on the day, which included a 54-yard in the fourth quarter that proved to be the difference in the game. That particular field goal also tied Steve Christie for the longest playoff field goal in Bills history and was the longest field goal by a rookie in the playoffs in NFL history.
WR Isaiah Hodgins
Hodgins remains on Injured Reserve. He recently had surgery on his shoulder.
CB Dane Jackson
After contributing against the Miami Dolphins, Jackson did not see the field against the Colts as he was sent back to the practice squad.
TE/FB Reggie Gilliam
Continuing his regular-season tradition of only seeing the field on offense near the goal line, Gilliam was not targeted. As usual, he did see quite a few special teams snaps.