Jump to content

The Snow Bowl

   (1 review)

Image Credit: © Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports


On December 10, 2017, the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park at, what was then, New Era Field, affectionately became known as "The Snow Bowl."


The NFL played the contest in near-blinding blizzard conditions. Before the game even started, snow-covered the entire field and accumulated a depth of 6 inches before the end of the first quarter. The snow persisted throughout much of the game. As lightning flashed overhead during the third quarter, fans and players alike were treated to the rare phenomenon known as 'thunder snow'. This seldom seen meteorological event did not cause the game to stop, however.


The hardy Bills Mafia didn't seem too affected, as a crowd of 60,222 fans mostly filled the 71,870 capacity stadium. As for the players, many alluded to the fact that this game reminded them of games they played in the snow as kids.


The view from the Press Box in the first quarter:



The Bills opened the game with a ten-play drive that consumed 5:17 of the clock and saw them gain 29 yards. An incomplete pass to Kelvin Benjamin on 4th down gave the ball over to Indianapolis on downs at the Indy 38. The Colts then proceeded to rip off a 12 play drive consisting of 8 runs by Frank Gore and two rambles by Marlon Mack to get them down to the Bills 14-yard line. After the Bills' Preston Brown tackled Gore's 9th rushing attempt of the drive for a yard loss, Adam Vinatieri pushed a 33-yard attempt wide right to keep the game scoreless.


The two teams then traded possessions, culminating in three punts by the Colts, two punts, and another turnover on downs by the Bills before any points were put on the board. Much to the enjoyment of the snow-covered Mafia, the Bills proceeded to engineer a seven-play scoring drive in a 2-minute drill fashion. With :27 left in the second quarter, Nathan Peterman (subbing for an injured Tyrod Taylor) threw an eight-yard pass to Benjamin, who high pointed the ball over the Colts' Chris Melton along the right side of the endzone to take a 7 point lead into the locker room at the end of the first half. For Benjamin, whom the Bills acquired in a Halloween day trade with the Carolina Panthers, this was his first touchdown grab in a Bills uniform. Had KB played more as he did on this wintery wonderland day for the Bills than the rest of his stay with Buffalo, he might have been more of a treat than the trick he turned out to be.


After warming up in the bowels of New Era Field, the teams played a primarily uninspiring third quarter. With the snow still falling and 11:03 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, the Colts took possession at their own 23yd line. They put together a 19 play, 77-yard touchdown drive that took 9:53 off the clock. With 1:21 left on the game clock, from three yards out, Jacoby Brissett rolling out to his right on a read-option, lofts a ball over a retreating Micah Hyde to an uncovered Jack Doyle for the 6 point TD.


Chuck Pagano lined up his team to go for the two-point conversion, to take the lead, and potentially win the game. There appeared to be no consideration of merely tying the game at this point. After seeing how the Colts lined up, Sean McDermott called a time-out to reset his defense. The snap of the ball has the Colts run a play option. Brissett takes the ball, fakes a handoff to Mack, and floats the ball out to a wide-open Doyle in the left flat for a 2 point conversion and the lead.


Well after the successful 2-point attempt, a flag was thrown. There was a reason why Doyle was so wide open. Kamar Aiken threw a pick a couple of yards downfield to spring him. While the call was somewhat questionable, the interference penalty took the 2 points off the board and backed the Colts up to the 25. They only had one option at this point, which was to kick the extra point to tie the game.


With the amount of snow on the field, the kick heading into the open-end of the stadium, and the wind swirling, this was no sure thing. The Colts had to take their final time out to be sure they cleared enough of the piled snow away from the place where the ball was to be set for the attempt. Somehow, with the aid of the wind, the 43-yard attempt curled back into the uprights, and the extra point was good to tie the game at seven apiece.


With Joe Webb assuming QB duties because of Peterman being in concussion protocols, the Bills would try to get into field goal position to win the game in regulation. With 1:08 on the clock and one time out left, the Bills faced an uphill climb. Webb's first attempt to Benjamin along the right sideline, though caught, was ruled out of bounds. Webb's subsequent effort to Charles Clay, coming across the middle, was picked off by Matthias Farley and returned 9 yards to the Bills 28-yard line.


After a 3 yard Frank Gore run and a spike by Brissett to stop the clock, could Vinatieri do it again and win the game for the Colts? With Buffalo declining to use their last time out to try and ice Vinatieri, the Colts snapped the ball for a 43-yard attempt. The same wind that helped curl the previous extra-point attempt back into the uprights blew this FG attempt wide left.


Overtime ensues.


The Bills won the toss, and after both teams exchanged possessions, the Bills got the ball back with 2:25 remaining on the clock. They then ran off a 65-yard scoring march highlighted by LeSean McCoy's 21-yard scamper into the endzone to win the game for Buffalo.




With the blustery conditions being what they were, one might suspect that the total yards gained by the two teams would have been a more paltry number than the 546 total that day. Both turnovers committed were by the Bills. Fortunately, neither one cost them the game.


One player who didn't seem to have much trouble with the elements was LeSean McCoy. He gained 156 yards on the day, which put him over 1,000 yards on the season.


Though the game sure looked like everyone was having fun, you can bet they were glad when it was over.





In the resulting aftermath of this game, The NFL adopted a new 'clause' with regard to kicking during snow games of this nature. No longer are team personnel allowed to help 'clear snow' from the kicking area. This is to be limited to players on the field, only. It is to be a penalty to the offending team but the officials are encouraged to prohibit anyone from coming onto the field and helping with the task.


You can watch the entire Snow Bowl game here:



BillsFans.com - Foxx


Related Articles:

History of the Buffalo Bills

The Playoff History of the Buffalo Bills

Who Are the Bills Mafia?

User Feedback




That was some game. I have never seen anything like it in all my years of watching Buffalo Bills football. Shady was a monster that game!

Share this review

Link to review

  • Our picks

    • Von Miller's First 24 Hours as a Buffalo Bill
      Von Miller's First 24 Hours as a Buffalo Bill
        • Cheers
        • FANtastic
        • Wow
        • Like
      • 4 replies
    • [Bills Gear] Von Miller Jersey - June Shipping
      View Advert Von Miller Jersey
      Click Here To Purchase the Jersey! @ Fanatics.com

      Advertiser BillsFans Date 03/17/2022 Price $119.95 Category Bills Gear  
      • 15 replies
    • Von Miller is a Bill
      6 year deal announced. 
        • Love
        • FANtastic
        • Haha
        • Wow
        • Like
      • 180 replies
    • Four Falls of Buffalo - Hall of Famers Autographed Poster
      Four Falls of Buffalo - Bills Poster - Hall of Fame Autographs. 
      (If you need a clearer picture just let me know and I can send them through a different medium).   Four Falls of Buffalo is a 2015 documentary film produced for ESPN's 30 for 30 series and was directed by Ken Rodgers of NFL Films. The film profiles the Buffalo Bills teams of the early 1990s, when the franchise became the first team to play in -- and lose -- four consecutive Super Bowls.   This is truly ONE OF A KIND. You will not find something like this elsewhere.
      This belongs to only truest and most dedicated Buffalo Bills fans.

      Price: I have an offer in Dallas that I am willing to honor if I don't get a higher bidder-- this guy is a sports fan, but not a Bills fan. I wanted to go to the Bills Mafia community before giving to a generalist NFL Fan.   A beautiful poster that was gifted to me by my former colleague Dennis Polian, Bill's son, while working at Texas A&M Football program on staff.   Autographs include SIX Hall of Famers:  - Bill Polian '15 (General Manager) - Marv Levy '01 (Head Coach) - Bruce Smith '09 (Defensive End) - Thurman Thomas '07 (Runningback) - Jim Kelly '02 (Quarterback) - Andre Reed '14 (Wide Receiver)   Other signatures include: Scott Norwood (K), Frank Reich (current Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts), and one more I am having a hard time identifying.
      • 0 replies
    • I've Got Nuthin'
      © Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
      I’ve written this column for about 15 years.  It varies from week to week, sometimes about the stadium experience, sometimes about an important play, sometimes about what players or coaches did or didn’t do.  I write about trends, prospects, shortcomings and needs.  Sometimes it might be funny, sometimes quirky, and certainly sometimes boring or pedestrian.  When I start writing, I don’t always have a plan – the essay just seems to go where it needs to go.
      Last night in Kansas City, in the second round of the playoffs, the Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills in overtime, 42-36.  This morning, I sit before my keyboard, numb.
      I’ve got nuthin’.
      If you watched the game, you understand.  If you didn’t, I cannot go all Grantland Rice on you to explain.  I’m not Shirley Povich.  Where is Frank Deford when we really need him?  
      I’ve been a fan of the Buffalo Bills since 1960.  There were several years when work and family and geography left me less involved with the team, not going to games or being able to see them on television.  Still, fan-wise, I’ve had a pretty good run.   I can say figuratively, if not literally, I’ve seen it all.
      The only way to describe what happened last night is that it was Wide Right, 31 years later.  (If you don’t know what Wide Right was, look it up.  It has its own Wikipedia article.)  I was in Tampa that night, I sat in the stadium stunned as the winning field goal sailed past the right upright.  (I was in Buffalo on the Monday night when the Cowboys beat the Bills with a long field goal on the final play – that game gets honorable mention, but wide right and Chiefs-Bills stand together on top of the “OMG -what-just-happened?” list.)  The day after Super Bowl XXV, I walked aimlessly through Epcot Center, and it seemed every third person was wearing a Giants sweatshirt.  This morning, everything is Chiefs red. 
      • 18 replies
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue., Guidelines