It took the Buffalo Bills 6,575 days to make it back to the playoffs, and they took on the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville. They faced each other in what would be the second AFC Wild Card matchup of the weekend. If Buffalo won they would be taking on New England, and if Jacksonville won they would be taking on Pittsburgh.
In what turned out to be a low scoring affair, dominated by both teams defenses, Buffalo could never keep up offensively with their defense and Jacksonville took advantage.
A defensive battle leads to a tie at the half
The first quarter consisted of three drives by Buffalo and two by Jacksonville all of which resulted in punts by both teams. They both looked to be holding each other in check as the first quarter ended with a 0-0 tie.
The second quarter started out poorly for the Bills as Tyrod Taylor threw an interception on their opening drive of the second quarter. It was a tipped pass intended for Logan Thomas but was caught by Aaron Colvin. Jacksonville wasn't able to do anything with it though as the Bills stopped them and forced them to punt.
After the Jags punt, Buffalo drove 71 yards in 18 plays to score three points. They were awarded three first downs on penalties and had the ball at that one-yard line where they elected to try to throw which resulted in an offensive pass interference call on Kelvin Benjamin which backed up Buffalo to the Jacksonville 11. After the penalty, Taylor threw two straight incompletions making Stephen Hauschka come out to kick the field goal. The Jags would answer back to close out the half as Buffalo's defense held strong again to force the field goal.
Jacksonville, Bortles come to life while Buffalo falls flat
It seemed to be more of the same from the first half as both teams punted on their opening drives to start the half, but Jacksonville's second drive is where everything started to click.
After Buffalo's punt, the Jags took the ball 86 yards in 15 plays to put them up by seven which turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. The running game, that had been shut down to this point, finally found its mojo as QB Blake Bortles and running backs Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory combined for 54 rushing yards out of the 86 total yards on the drive.
After being stopped on third and goal at Buffalo's one-yard line by an amazing tackle by linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, it seemed like the Bills stopped the Jags leading to a fourth and goal. But, that would not be the case. Jacksonville went for it, and Bortles found tight end Ben Koyack for the touchdown to put them up 10-3 after the made extra point.
More Buffalo magic? Nope.
With that touchdown, it seemed as if all hope was lost for the Bills. The Bills next drive was a punt, and the defense for Buffalo tried to keep them in it, but the offense just could not do anything. After another back and forth affair with punts, Buffalo punted with 3:09 left on the clock but was able to get it back to put the ball in Taylor's hands to win the game.
With 1:51 left in the fourth quarter Buffalo took over with some hope that maybe just maybe they might be able to pull out some fourth-quarter magic, but that would not be the case. Jacksonville seemed to have Buffalo's number today, and after Taylor got injured on a scramble, Nathan Peterman had to come into the game. This is the same Peterman that threw five interceptions against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 11.
Buffalo got two first downs and seemed to be on the move, but an intentional grounding penalty would give Buffalo a 2nd and 20. Fittingly, the game ended with cornerback Jalen Ramsey intercepting (with controversy) Peterman to seal the fate of the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills enter the offseason with questions at quarterback and on offense after they had one of the worst years offensive teams in the past five years. Jacksonville moves on inthe playoffs for the first time since 2007 to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh. Even though Buffalo made the playoffs, they still have not managed to win a playoff game since 1995.
Stats of the game:
Tyrod Taylor- 17/37, 134 yards, 1 INT
Nate Peterman- 1/3, 14 yards, 1 INT
Blake Bortles- 12/23, 87 yards, 1 TD
LeSean McCoy- 19 carries, 75 yards
Tyrod Taylor- 7 carries, 27 yards
Mike Tolbert- 4 carries, 15 yards
Deonte Thompson- 1 carry, 9 yards
Nathan Peterman- 1 carry, 4 yards
Blake Bortles- 10 carries, 88 yards
Leonard Fournette- 21 carries, 57 yards
Marqise Lee- 1 carry, 5 yards
Corey Grant- 1 carry, 3 yards
Chris Ivory- 1 carry 2 yards
Time of Possession