Survive and advance. At this point in the season, that's what it's all about for the Buffalo Bills.
It was mission accomplished in that regard Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts – barely. Buffalo's 13-7 overtime victory over Indianapolis kept the team's postseason hopes alive. You can spend hours analyzing tiebreaking procedures trying to pin down just how likely a playoff berth is, but I wouldn't advise it.
Even if the standings show the Bills holding the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC, that's if the season ended today. Obviously, it doesn't.
Here's a simple way of looking at it: The Bills don't control their own destiny. Even if they were to win out, they would need help to reach the playoffs because the Chargers, Titans and Ravens could do the same thing and get in over Buffalo. For now, the best advice would be to enjoy Sunday's win for what it was – an unforgettable game and day at New Era Field.
Here is a look at whose stock is rising and whose is falling for the Bills after Week 14:
• RB LeSean McCoy: This is an easy one. McCoy set a personal best with the Bills, rushing for 156 yards on 32 carries. He closed out the win with a 21-yard touchdown run in overtime. “I can still cut and run like if there was no snow,” he said. “For the most part, I was running, I was cutting, I was stopping, you know, where other guys were slipping.”
• LB Matt Milano: The rookie replaced Ramon Humber in the lineup and finished with a team-high 11 tackles. Of those, five of them were classified as “stops” by analytics website Pro Football Focus. That is defined as an offensive failure on the play.
• WR Kelvin Benjamin: On a day when making any sort of play in the passing game was going to be a supreme challenge, Benjamin made two of them on consecutive snaps in the second quarter. He followed up a 21-yard catch with an 8-yard touchdown on a fade route that put the Bills up. The bad news is Benjamin appeared to suffer another injury to his right knee in the second half. The Bills will need him in Week 15. His height and ability to make contested catches is something that can’t be replaced.
• Coach Sean McDermott: Usually this spot is reserved for players, but McDermott makes the list for his baffling decision to punt on fourth and 1 from the Colts' 41-yard line with less than 5 minutes left in overtime. That was the wrong call, no matter if the Bills were able to get the ball back and score. With a tie basically eliminating the team from playoff contention, McDermott lessened his team's chances of winning the game. Even worse, he took a timeout before still punting, which could have made it even more difficult on his offense. McDermott's explanation of "field position" didn't fly at that point in the game with what was at stake.
• G Vlad Ducasse: The Bills took just two penalties, but one of them was a big one on Ducasse. He committed a false start in the fourth quarter that turned a fourth and 1 from the Bills' 49-yard line into a fourth and 6. McDermott then elected to punt instead of go for it, and the Colts got the ball back and marched 19 plays for their only touchdown.
• TE Charles Clay: He finished with two catches on five targets for 11 yards. Clay had a drop on the Bills' first drive of the game that led to a turnover on downs. PFF also gave him a negative grade for run blocking.