ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Twenty-five years in the making, that’s what that was Saturday afternoon for the Buffalo Bills and their long-tortured fans.
Not since 1996 had the Bills played a home playoff game, not since 1995 had they won one, but finally, the Bills ended that streak with a thrilling 27-24 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in what became as stressful an afternoon as anyone could have imagined at Bills Stadium.
The Colts won 11 games for many reasons, and they were all on display as they pushed the Bills to the very brink and had a possession at the end of the game to either tie or win.
But the Buffalo defense, which played horribly on the previous two Colts possessions that ended in touchdowns, had the final say and prevented what would have been a gut-wrenching defeat, sending home happy, if not breathless, the first in-person crowd able to witness a game in person this season.
It came down to a Hail Mary into the end zone from the Buffalo 48, and unlike that nightmare in Arizona, this time the Bills knocked the ball down just short of the goal line and escaped with the victory.
The Bills now await their divisional round opponent, a game that will be played in Buffalo next Saturday or Sunday.
Josh Allen threw for 324 yards and two TDs plus ran for another and led the team in rushing yards with 54, but it was not a great day for the offense and the Bills should feel fortunate to have survived.
Rivers threw for 309, and the Colts gouged Buffalo on the ground, only to come up short because they made a bevy of mistakes and poor decisions throughout the day.