Bills end NFL playoff drought while Rams down Seahawks
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Los Angeles (AFP) –
Josh Allen threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another as the Buffalo Bills bagged their first NFL playoff victory in 25 years with a nail-biting 27-24 wild card defeat of the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday.
Allen finished with 324 yards from 26-of-35 attempts to send the Bills into next week's AFC divisional round while the Colts were left ruing a decision not to kick an easy first-half field goal that ultimately proved the difference.
It was the second-seeded Bills' first win in the post-season since December 1995, ending a run of five straight playoff losses.
The Colts, meanwhile, rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to come within a field goal of tying the game with two minutes remaining, only to come up agonizingly short.
The Colts had one last chance to mount a game-winning drive, but the game ended when a desperate Hail Mary attempt from quarterback Philip Rivers was batted away by Bills safety Micah Hyde.
"It doesn't matter how it looks, it's the playoffs, it's win or go home," a relieved Allen said afterwards.
"It has been a long time since Bills Mafia was able to celebrate like this. But it's one game. I am just happy for a chance to be able to play next week."
Veteran Colts quarterback Rivers, who turned 39 last month, was uncertain over whether he would extend his career into an 18th season.
"If it's God's will that I'm in Indy with the Colts next year, then I'll be here," said Rivers, who made 27-of-46 for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
"If not, I'll be on the sideline with a ballcap on my head, coaching football," Rivers added.
The Bills' victory was one of three games on Saturday in an expanded wild card round.
- Rams defense downs Seahawks -
In the day's second game, the Los Angeles Rams powered to a 30-20 road victory over the Seattle Seahawks in a bruising battle between the two NFC West rivals.
Defenses dominated throughout, with the Rams stifling the threat of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and receiver D.K. Metcalf.
The Seahawks defense was similarly aggressive, and knocked Rams quarterback John Wolford -- chosen to start ahead of Jared Goff -- out of the game with a brutal hit by Jamal Adams early in the first quarter.
The Rams defense engineered the game's opening touchdown, Darious Williams picking off Wilson's pass for Metcalf for a 42-yard pick six and a 13-3 lead.
The Seahawks responded immediately when Wilson hit Metcalf for a 51-yard touchdown but the Rams restored their 10-point cushion with a touchdown from running back Cam Akers that made it 20-10 at half-time.
The Seahawks were always chasing the game from that point as Wilson was bottled up by the rampant Rams defense.
The knockout blow came in the fourth quarter, Samson Ebukam forcing a fumble from a D.J. Reed punt return to give the Rams possession at the Seattle 36-yard line.
On the following drive, Goff picked out a wide open Robert Woods for a 15-yard score with the extra-point making it 30-13.
The Seahawks made it a 10-point game when Wilson picked out Metcalf with 2min 28sec remaining.
But it was too little too late, and the Rams defense effectively sealed victory by sacking Wilson for the fifth time on the Seahawks final possession.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Washington Football Team in Saturday's other playoff game.
© 2021 AFP