Through the first two quarters of their Wild Card game, the Buffalo Bills have a 14-10 lead over the Indianapolis Colts. It looked like a different game altogether, when the Colts appeared poised to take a 17-7 lead late in the first half, but Colts receiver Michael Pittman Jr. dropped a possible touchdown catch on fourth down, and the Bills responded to score a touchdown on the ensuing drive.
The Colts have totally dominated the margins of this game. They doubled up the Bills on time of possession and plays in the first half. They’ve also served up a crushing field-position advantage—Buffalo’s average drive start is inside their own ten-yard line, while the Colts have an average start at the 36-yard line.
Luckily, the Bills’ defense has managed to hold up their end of the deal. They limited the Colts to ten points in the first half, including a gut-check in the final minutes where the Colts turned the ball over on downs at the goal line. One major problem for the defense is the rookie, Pittman. Pittman has frequently been schemed up as a counter-punch for Buffalo’s blitzes, and he has four catches for 91 yards and one carry for 11 yards.
It’s good that the defense held up their bargain, because the Bills’ offense sputtered a lot more than usual so far—not helped by the lousy field position. They went three-and-out on three of their first four possessions. The second drive of the game was an eight-play, 85-yard drive with a sort of wacky finish. Allen took the ball for a called QB run, and found nowhere to go. With defenders closing in, he made an awkward shotput throw to a wide-open Dawson Knox in the end zone.
The offense had one more chance for points at the end of the half. Gabriel Davis caught two toe-drag sideline balls to spark the offense, and a would-be interception in the end zone was overturned by review. Josh Allen carried the ball down to the five-yard line on the next play, then ran it in himself to take back the lead with 14 seconds left in the half. Allen has 181 total yards and two touchdowns (no turnovers) through the first half.
Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes was seen on the sidelines in the final minute of the half being tended to by trainers. We’ll see if he returns in the second half.
The Bills will receive the opening kickoff of the second half. They need to look a lot more like their two-minute drill selves for the rest of the game, if they want to banish their demons and keep their Super Bowl dreams alive. Here’s our open thread for the second half of the game.