For the first time in 27 years, the Bills will compete in the AFC championship game. Tyler Huntley almost missed a touchdown throw on a moonshot. Lamar Jackson is out after being tackled as a result of a botched snap. Lamar Jackson of the Buffalo Bills tossed a pick-six to put the Bills up 17-3. The Bills returned to the field to set up Stefon Diggs' score. The Eagles lost in double overtime to the Rams.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen was named the NFL's top player at his position after throwing for 3,725 yards with 38 touchdowns against only nine interceptions. He also ran for seven more scores while being sacked just 37 times. Wide receiver John Brown caught 102 passes for 1,407 yards and 10 touchdowns. Running back Frank Gore contributed 730 rushing yards and five scores while playing in only 14 games due to injuries. First-year head coach Sean McDermott has turned around a once-proud franchise that went 4-12 last season into playoff contenders. The Bills are 8-4 and have won three straight games heading into their matchup with the Patriots on Sunday night in Foxboro.
Bills players that have been named to the 2018 All-Pro team include LB Preston Smith (defensive end), WR Cole Beasley (wide receiver), CB Tre'Davious White (cornerback), C Mitch Morse (center), and QB Josh Allen (quarterback).
The Bills last appeared in the championship game in 1990 when they lost to the Houston Oilers 24-10.
On Sunday, the Bills have little to play for. They won the A.F.C. East a few weeks ago and will host a wild-card round playoff game—in a stadium that will be authorized to house 6,700 people, following an edict from Gov. Andrew Cuomo—whether they win or lose. The Bills' remaining games are shown in the table below. They are not expected to make much effort to win them.
The last time the Bills made the playoffs was 2000. That year they lost to the Oakland Raiders in one of the most famous games in NFL history: Bill Parcells's band of brothers defeated Jack Lambert's Steelers 24-21 in what many consider to be the best Super Bowl ever played. Since then, everything has gone wrong for Buffalo. The Raiders beat them again this past January; the Bills' only victory during that period came when Rob Gronkowski returned a fumble 100 yards for a touchdown en route to defeating Pittsburgh.
In 2011, the Bills finished with 10 wins and 20 losses. Their division title was snatched away from them by New York when the Jets beat them in Week 17. That same season, Buffalo finished third in its conference, earning a spot in the playoffs as a wild card team. It was their first postseason appearance since 1999 and their first winning record since 1993.
However, they were quickly eliminated by the Indianapolis Colts, who went on to lose the Super Bowl to New England.
The Bills have been awful since then.
For the first time this season, the Bills defeated the Indianapolis Colts 27-24 in a wild-card game on Saturday. It was also the Bills' first playoff win in Orchard Park since Dec. 30, 1995, when they defeated Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins 37-22. The last time these two teams met in the postseason was in 1994, when the Bills eliminated the Colts 17-14 in one of the most memorable games in NFL history. A furious rally by the Colts from a 14-0 deficit took them into overtime, where Mike Vanderjagt kicked a 43-yard field goal as time expired to give Indy a 15-14 victory.
The Bills took control of the game late in the third quarter after Peyton Manning missed his second straight throw into the end zone and replaced him with rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley. The Bills defense forced three turnovers and held Indy to just 187 yards of offense. "We knew it was going to be tough," said Manning after losing for the fourth time this season when leading or tied with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter or later. "They're a good team, a veteran team that has been to the playoffs every year for the last five years so we had our work cut out for us."
The Bills will face one of three teams in their next playoff game, which will take place on Saturday, April 16th or Sunday, April 17th. In the divisional round of the AFC playoffs, the Bills will face either the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Tennessee Titans, or the Baltimore Ravens; below are the scenarios for each meeting.
Saturday, April 16th vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m.) - "Number 1 vs. Number 8" match-up with first-place implications for both teams. The winner will advance to face second-place Buffalo in the AFC East race while the loser will go home.
Sunday, April 17th at 3:15 p.m. ET against the Tennessee Titans (NFL Network) - No matter who wins this game, it will not change which team is ahead in the AFC East standings. The only thing that will be affected is which team gets the first-round bye during the regular season.
Monday, April 18th at 4:40 p.m. ET against the Baltimore Ravens (ESPN) - This could potentially be the most important game of the entire postseason because if the Bills win this game then they will have control over their own destiny and can rest some of their starters in order to be healthy for the Super Bowl; conversely, if the Ravens beat the Bills then they would still have a chance at catching New England for first place in the AFC North.
The Bills will play in the AFC championship game for the first time since the 1993 season. They also faced the Chiefs in that game, when Buffalo hosted Kansas City. It was a spectacular quarterback showdown between superstars Joe Montana and Jim Kelly, but Montana was taken out of the game in the third quarter with a concussion. The Chiefs lost that game 21-16.
The last time these two teams met was in January 1999. The Bills were 9-3 and ranked No. 2 behind Denver after beating San Diego 30-27 at home on Christmas Day 1998. But they fell to 10-4 and dropped to second place after losing 41-38 at Kansas City. Drew Bledsoe had another strong game against his former team, throwing three touchdowns without an interception. He finished with a career high 511 yards passing.
This will be the first playoff meeting between the Bills and Chiefs. They have never played each other during the regular season or in any pre-season or regular season games either.
On September 18, 1966, Miami made their debut appearance in the American Football League (AFL) versus Buffalo. The host Bills won 58-24 after scoring 48 points in the first half. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 29-0 in their second meeting, and the first to be played in Miami. Jack Kemp scored two touchdowns for Buffalo.
The AFL began as a rival league to the NFL, but became a major player within the football world. The two leagues have had many competitive games over the years, with the NFL usually winning most of them. However, several players who were drafted by the Bills went on to win the Super Bowl - Andre Reed, Kevin Williams, Bruce Smith, and Thurman Thomas are just some of the many winners from Buffalo.
In 1995, the two leagues agreed to merge, and since then one team has not been able to compete with the other. The newest team in Buffalo is currently playing well above expectations, and has a chance of making it to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Their highest ranked opponent this year was Miami, which they lost 2-1. The next game will take place in South Florida on December 31st.
Miami debuted at No. 1 in the AP poll, and remained there for three weeks. They fell out of the top spot but still managed to finish in the top ten each week.