Bills Lose Heartbreaker In Overtime To Texans In AFC Wild Card Game
1st Quarter - Trickery In Texas
The Buffalo Bills set the tone in their AFC Wild Card game against the Texans early -- this team was going to expose a struggling Houston defense that ranked 28th at the end of the regular season.
Buffalo opened the game with the ball and went after the Houston defense right away.
Devin Singletary started things up with a seven yard run. Then the Bills would hand it off again, this time to veteran running back Frank Gore who moved the chains.
Buffalo would continue to impress on the drive just three snaps later. Josh Allen ran the ball 42 yards - his longest of the season - to get the Bills in the red zone in under two minutes.
The Bills turned to the trick play page once again when Allen flipped the ball to John Brown who then aired it out 16 yards back to Allen for the touchdown.
Brown's pass was his second touchdown heave of the season - the receiver also threw a touchdown pass in the Bills win over Dallas.
Both defenses would trade off strong stands to close out the quarter.
Jerry Hughes recorded a sack on a the Texans ensuing drive and J.J. Watt almost intercepted a pass off of Allen deep in Buffalo territory.
Trent Murphy would also record a sack before the quarter came to a close, with the Bills leading 7-0.
2nd Quarter - Hausch Money
The Bills would turn to the run game once again to start the second quarter.
This time, Singletary would pick up 18 yards on a carry. Then, Allen and Brown would link up again - but in their familiar positions with Allen throwing a 28 yard dart to the wide open receiver.
Allen looked to Brown in the endzone facing third down - but he couldn't get both feet in bounds.
Stephen Hauschka came on to kick a 40 yard field goal and extend the Bills lead to 10-0.
The Bills final drive of the half was also heavy on the run, with Singletary and Gore trading carries.
Buffalo would tack on another field goal - again 40 yards from Hauschka - to take a 13-0 lead into the half.
3rd Quarter - Houston Cuts Lead In Half
The second half started with a questionable call.
On the opening kickoff, Texans returner DeAndre Carter caught the kick in the end zone and then dropped the ball, appearing to toss it to the referee.
Buffalo's Jaquan Johnson scooped up the loose ball and carried it into the endzone while the Bills special teams celebrated a touchdown.
After a delay, the officials said that Carter did indeed signal that he would not return the kick and the play was ruled a touchback.
Both teams would trade punts following the controversy but, the Buffalo defense would shine on a later Houston possession.
Watson connected with DeAndre Hopkins who then had the pass forced out of his hands by Pro Bowler Tre'Davious White. The loose ball was recovered by Tremaine Edmunds and the Bills took over on the Houston 38 yard line.
Off the turnover, the Bills would rely on Hauschka for the third time in the contest, this time he was good from 38 yards out to make it 16-0 Buffalo.
Houston would finally break through the Buffalo defense with just over a minute left in the third quarter.
Watson would rush in a 20 yard score and then add to it with a successful two-point conversion to make it a one possession game, 16-8, heading into the final quarter.
4th Quarter - Fateful Final Minutes
Allen would start the fourth quarter with his first mistake of the game.
Facing third and eight, Allen was sacked by Whitney Mercilus and the loose ball was recovered by Jacob Martin for the Texans.
Off the turnover, Houston would drive 27 yards and score on a 41 yard Kai Forbath field goal. The Bills would cling to just a 16-11 lead with under 11 minutes remaining.
In response, the Bills had their first three and out possession of the game and the Texans continued on their second half offensive strike.
This time, Watson drove the offense 74 yards and ate up almost five minutes of clock.
The drive ended with Watson connecting with Carlos Hyde for a five yard touchdown. Houston would prove successful on another two-point conversion - this time Watson passed to Hopkins. The Texans took a 19-16 lead with 4:37 left.
Buffalo quickly charged down the field - Allen hit Singletary for a 38 yard pass and then when facing third and one Allen busted through for a first down.
After the two minute warning hit, facing third and 13, Allen was flagged for intentional grounding following pressure from the Texans defense.
Just seconds later, the disaster for the Bills continued. On fourth and 27, Allen was sacked for a loss of 19 yards giving the Texans the ball back with 1:35 remaining.
The Bills would hold Houston to a quick three and out, and burned three timeouts. Giving the Bills life with 1:16 left.
They made the most of the chance - driving 41 yards in just 55 seconds.
The fate of the Bills season rested on Hauschka and his fourth field goal attempt of the game - this time from 47 yards out.
Overtime - Watson Escapes Bills Pressure
Houston would win the coin toss and go three and out to start the overtime frame.
On the ensuing possession, the Bills had momentum with a 14 yard pass from Allen to Knox and another 14 yard pass to Singletary.
But, once again the drive resulted in a punt for the Bills.
The Buffalo defense, which had impressed all season, lapsed on the biggest play of the game.
Watson escaped sacks by multiple Bills players and hit Taiwan Jones for a 34 yard gain.
Sitting at the Buffalo 10 yard line, the Texans would win the game on a 28 yard field and knock the Bills out of the AFC playoff race with a 22-19 win.
Buffalo finishes the season 10-7.