After 17 years, I thought I had seen it all. I assumed I had seen the Bills squander games in every way imaginable. But on Sunday, they appeared to have found a new, creative and mind-boggling way to blow a football game and likely put an end to the fading playoff hopes.
They were going to rip their fans' hearts out with a tie, of all thing.
On the verge of an inelegant but crucial win in a driving snowstorm at New Era Field, the Bills allowed Jacoby Brissett to drive Indy 77 yards to a touchdown with 1:16 left in regulation. Then, after a potential game-winning 2-point conversion was nullified by a penalty, veteran Adam Vinatieri added to the astonishment by kicking a point-after from 43 yards out.
The game went to overtime, where it was hard to imagine anyone scoring on the snowy field. But LeSean McCoy had other ideas. Late in overtime, on third-and-4, McCoy busted up the middle and ran 21 yards for a touchdown to give the Bills a heart-stopping, 13-7 win over the Colts to cap a wild and snowy day at New Era Field.
On what veteran observers were calling the worst home-field snow game in Bills history, it was a predictable war of attrition, battle of running games, field position and punts. You figured early that it would be a case of best running back wins. It wasn't surprising that LeSean McCoy was the best player on the snowy field and turned it into his personal Winter Wonderland.
Four years earlier, McCoy had rushed through the snow for an Eagles-record 217 yards and two long TD runs in a 34-20 win over the Lions. That game also occurred in Week 14 and helped Philadelphia sneak into the playoffs. On Sunday, McCoy ran 32 times for 158 yards, including 97 in the first half. He set up the game's only touchdown with consecutive dazzling runs late in the first half.
Until late in regulation, it seemed that TD would hold up for a 7-0 win. But when Vinatieri's PAT barely cleared the crossbar, tying the game, 7-7, it looked as if the Bills might find a new, creative way to blow a game. A happy snow game, one the Bills desperately needed to keep their hopes alive, threatened to become the latest maddening loss in an 18-year chronicle of woe — or equally bad, a tie
But Joe Webb, who had replaced Nathan Peterman at quarterback when Peterman left with a head injury, threw a 35-yard pass down the right sideline in overtime. A few plays later, McCoy won it, lifting the Bills to 7-6 and keeping their faint playoff hopes alive.