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A Few Thoughts About the Colt Playoff Game, in no particular order


Virgil
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There's a lot of boxes a team needs to check to be considered legitimate after 25 years of futility.  The Bills checked every single box this season and had but one more to go.  A box that held back many great QB's; the elusive first playoff win.  This was the type of game that made me wonder why I enjoy watching the Bills play.  I'll be completely honest, I couldn't sleep last night and felt sick after the final whistle.  The amount of stress and anxiety built up inside of me led to consecutive naps after this game and I'm only now just coming back down to earth.  With that being said...

 

1 - Respect - The highest form of respect one team can give an opposing team is to create a game plan that's completely tailored to slowing them down.  Yes, teams do some form of this every week, but this game was different.  The Bills will adjust their defense to the opposing offense based off of strengths, but still play their style of football.  In this game, the Colts play an infuriating style of offense with only one goal in mind; to keep the Bills off the field.  Never in my football watching history have I seen a team run the playclock down to 1 (arguably 0) on so many plays.  Honestly, it really infuriated me at times and felt cowardly.  I understand strategy, but this was a bit over the top.  The Colts dragged out every single series to the best of their ability with both the clock and using all 3 downs.  The other sign of respect was Frank going for it on 4th down within the 5 and attempting the 2 point conversion.  All of these thing made one thing perfectly clear, the Colts believed the Bills could explode on offense at any moment, and there was nothing would be able to do to stop it.

 

2 - All Coming Together - You'll watch movies where the main character goes on a series of missions that each teach him a specific lesson.  Then, once reaching the climax of the film, all of those lessons taught him enough to beat the final boss.  This game felt like the final boss, where we were able to use all of our previous experiences to get the win.  The Bills didn't collapse after the Allen fumble or the incorrect non-fumble call at the end.  They survived a Hail Mary pass with authority.  They didn't let multiple 3 and outs slow them down on offense.  No matter what diversity was thrown at this team, the Bills stayed true to who they were.  They never got discouraged or lost hope.  They did what every elite team does, they stayed the course and pulled out the win.

 

3 - Trenches - One of the biggest game-deciding match-ups going into this game was both our offensive and defensive lines battling.  In both areas, the Colts won big and the main reason why the Colts were able to execute their game plan.  We got zero pressure on Rivers all game and they were able to pull off some solid runs.  Their biggest runs came out of the shotgun off the left tackle as we got gashed for 20+ yards on multiple plays.  On the flip side, the Colts were able to make Josh move in the pocket a few times as well as deliver some big hits.  Most importantly, and to where I think Daboll is taking some unnecessary heat, was in our rushing attack.  On multiple short yardage downs, the Bills couldn't get a first down rushing against 4-5 in the box.  Most offensive coordinators and players expect to gain a few yards in that scenario, but the Colts shut the Bills down repeatedly and created multiple three and outs.  My only gripe with the play call was rushing to the left side of our line, where the Colts are arguable the strongest on their defensive line. 

 

4 - Maybe you like to give a kiss so sweet

Only for one night you belong to me

Maybe you go away and drive a car

But the taste of wine is worse than none at all

 

5 - Bass - If it weren't the last few minutes of the game, did anyone else want to see Bass get a chance at the field goal from the 40?  Seriously, how far has this kid come to where he's just splitting the uprights from over 50 in a playoff game.  All 9 of Bass' points today were huge and had room to spare.  He's an absolute weapon and the performance between kickers today was the difference makers

 

6 - Receivers - This had to be one of Diggs' quietest 100 yard games all season, but that deep touchdown was beautiful.  Beasley came up big a few times, but looked to have re-aggravated his leg injury.  Based off the way he was limping off the field, I wouldn't be surprised if he missed next weeks game.  I'm a little disappointed that McKenzie wasn't on the field more, even if just to flash the option of the jet sweep, and Smoke was non-existent out there.  The real receiving hero though, Davis!  Gabe had multiple deep sideline catches where his footwork was masterful.  For a rookie, this kid has been the play maker we didn't know we needed. Davis has made the most of his opportunities on this field and Josh keeps getting rewarded for putting his trust in him. 

 

7 - Linebackers - Edmunds may have had his best game of the season today.  He was quick to the hole, made some solid tackles, and broke to coverage quicker than I've seen him in a while.  On the 4th and short run in the 4th quarter, he may have been able to shut that down better, but if so, that was his only blemish for the day.  I'm glad to see him picking up his game at the right time.  Milano had an up and down game, and his blown coverage led to a touchdown.  To my untrained eye, it seems like he lost contain on a few of the big runs, but I could be wrong.  As for Klein, I have no idea where he was today.  In a game where we gave up a lot of 3rd and short plays, I was hoping for more.

 

8 - Taron - Levi Wallace should send TJ a thank you card for taking the mantle of whipping boy today.  Johnson was picked on early and often in this game and gave up a touchdown after getting picked off by his own guy over the middle.  It seemed like Johnson was on the wrong end of the very limited passes Rivers through to receivers and didn't get better as the game went on.  Hopefully it was just a bad day for him, as we may be facing a deeper receiving team coming up soon.

 

9 - Allen - It would have been easy to get frustrated by the early drops by Diggs and Brown, or the runningbacks complete inability to make anything happen against a light box.  And honestly, I got a little worried early when you could see it on Allen's face on the sideline.  Josh though, reminded all of us of just how that ice flows through his veins.  Allen was never over hyped and didn't let the offenses lack of rhythm hold him back.  He took advantage of the 3 deep coverage and empty boxes to lead the team in rushing.  He dropped an absolute dime to Diggs for the deep touchdown.   His sideline throws on scrambles are almost automatic for him at this point.  He broke the 300 mark again and ended with an impressive overall stat line.  The question I have; was the Knox touchdown scripted or improvised? 

 

10 - Stats - If you couldn't watch the game and I told you after that the Bills had consistently terrible starting field position, got dominated in time of possession, destroyed in 3rd down conversion percentage, and overall total yardage; what would you think was the outcome of the game?  If there's one thing we've learned this year, is that stats are nice but they don't lead to wins.  The Bills seemed to start every drive inside their own 10 yards line, couldn't get off the field on 3rd down, and punted more than they have since the first half against the Steelers.  However, when it mattered, the offense, defense, and special teams all showed up.  When they weren't going three and out, the offense showed just how potent they could be.  The defense clamped down when it needed to, and honestly showed great energy on the final drive when it would have been completely justifiable if they were winded.  The point is, this team was resilient all game and were ahead on the scoreboard at the end of every single quarter.  The Bills found a new way to win, and that should terrify every other team in the league.

 

 

Overall, the Bills pulled off their first playoff win in 25 years and had fans in the stands to enjoy it with them.  For those worried about the blueprint to stop the Bills being put on display today, don't.  The Colts presented a very unique challenge to the Bills that most teams won't be able to replicate.  If anything, I'm impressed with how the Bills responded to adversity and still walked away with the win.  Great job to Allen and Davis to keep the offense alive.  Great job by the defense in buckling down when it mattered most.  And thank you to McD for getting us here. 

 

Go Bills!!!!

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TakeYouToTasker 2.0

I’m nearly certain the Knox TD was semi-improvised.

 

It was far too long developing, and Allen actually engaged with the line before slinging to Knox while getting crushed.

 

There’s no way that was designed.  I think it was just a heady play by Knox, leaking out after not having anyone to block.

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Great write-up, @Virgil.

I too had pregame jitters. I guess I am still not convinced this is real, and the Bills are a good team.

Were you listening to my husband complain about no jet-sweeps and no McKenzie?

Starting field position was so bad, I was screaming at the TV for Roberts to not even think about bringing it out (he didn't listen to me).

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Yes. Does Robert’s have carte blanche on taking a KO out of the end zone?

He was playing his own brand of hero ball today. :classic_angry:

Edited by Nanker
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As always, a fair writeup.  My major take away is they did not play their best game and still won.  This is the major difference from last year.

 

Allen showed why he will keep the Bills in any game.

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10 hours ago, TakeYouToTasker 2.0 said:

I’m nearly certain the Knox TD was semi-improvised.

 

It was far too long developing, and Allen actually engaged with the line before slinging to Knox while getting crushed.

 

There’s no way that was designed.  I think it was just a heady play by Knox, leaking out after not having anyone to block.

I think the play is an option play where Josh could either run or pass there. From watching the replay a few times, you could see that Josh was pretty determined to run it in there. It was only at the last minute when he realized he was not running it in did he look up to see Dawson and practically pushed/willed it to him .

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10 hours ago, Just Joshin said:

As always, a fair writeup.  My major take away is they did not play their best game and still won.  This is the major difference from last year.

 

Allen showed why he will keep the Bills in any game.

dare i say the Bills made the plays the *Patriots have been making for 20 years. we dont get the calls yet, but that will come.

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2 hours ago, Foxx said:

I think the play is an option play where Josh could either run or pass there. From watching the replay a few times, you could see that Josh was pretty determined to run it in there. It was only at the last minute when he realized he was not running it in did he look up to see Dawson and practically pushed/willed it to him .

Agree completely.  A few of those runs where Josh got lit up were definitely RPOs.  I think JA didn't have enough patience a couple of times and took off a bit prematurely.  I won't be able to watch the game again until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest, so hopefully someone else here or on the internet will have some analysis before then.

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On 1/9/2021 at 9:42 PM, Virgil said:

 

 

1 - Respect - The highest form of respect one team can give an opposing team is to create a game plan that's completely tailored to slowing them down.  Yes, teams do some form of this every week, but this game was different.  The Bills will adjust their defense to the opposing offense based off of strengths, but still play their style of football.  In this game, the Colts play an infuriating style of offense with only one goal in mind; to keep the Bills off the field.  Never in my football watching history have I seen a team run the playclock down to 1 (arguably 0) on so many plays.  Honestly, it really infuriated me at times and felt cowardly.  I understand strategy, but this was a bit over the top.  The Colts dragged out every single series to the best of their ability with both the clock and using all 3 downs.  The other sign of respect was Frank going for it on 4th down within the 5 and attempting the 2 point conversion.  All of these thing made one thing perfectly clear, the Colts believed the Bills could explode on offense at any moment, and there was nothing would be able to do to stop it.

 

 

 

Upon further All-22 review, this is what won the game for Buffalo.  Reich was clearly afraid of what the Bills offense could do that he made many unforced errors that swayed the game in Buffalo's favor.   I'm sure that after his film review he realized that had he stuck with a traditional game plan, they may have won.

 

That the Bills won the game is the testament to the rise of their skill players, because Indy abused both sides of the line.  This game reinforced the rationale of why McDermott benched Morse, while Boettger had his worst game in two months.  To make matters worse, when Bills ran, they favored the left side of the line, despite the tandem getting abused by Colts' DTs.    

 

The DL didn't fare much better, since nobody laid a finger on Rivers and the very good OL had no problems pushing the Bills out of the way to open up gaping holes.

 

The big uglies cannot play this way against Baltimore, or it will be a very long evening.  The other key is to stay disciplined in their assignments and let Lamar beat them from the pocket.   The OL needs to regain its form from the last 4 weeks of the season, because Ravens have a much stronger pass rush than Indy.

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24 minutes ago, GG1 said:

To make matters worse, when Bills ran, they favored the left side of the line, despite the tandem getting abused by Colts' DTs.   

I said this during the game.  If we'd have favored running right, they couldn't have stopped us.  I don't know what Daboll was thinking there.

 

If the DLine stays in their lanes and gets consistent push, Lamar throwing the ball isn't a problem and I think he's going to give us the opportunity to get a couple of picks.  The biggest question to me is whether or not we can actually cover the tight ends and backs because they're really the key to whether they can throw the ball. 

 

Their defense blitzes a ton - more than anyone in the NFL.  That means we can make a buncha big plays if we block it up.  That's the one place I think we miss Moss because he's so good on screens.

 

 

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Alaska Darin said:

I said this during the game.  If we'd have favored running right, they couldn't have stopped us.  I don't know what Daboll was thinking there.

 

If the DLine stays in their lanes and gets consistent push, Lamar throwing the ball isn't a problem and I think he's going to give us the opportunity to get a couple of picks.  The biggest question to me is whether or not we can actually cover the tight ends and backs because they're really the key to whether they can throw the ball. 

 

Their defense blitzes a ton - more than anyone in the NFL.  That means we can make a buncha big plays if we block it up.  That's the one place I think we miss Moss because he's so good on screens.

 

 

 

 

 

I kept wondering why so much left.........

 

Roll Josh to the right, roll others to the right. I feel we will need a couple big plays from unseen people to win this game. I feel a Lee Smith/MacKenzie/kick return/pick-6 could be the difference. 

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Most of his success is still middle centric but he really doesn't throw the ball very much.  He only had 2 games where he threw more than 30 times.  The more he throws, the more likely it is the BILLS win the game.

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