Colts become first team in NFL playoff history to pull off this depressing feat after wild-card loss to Bills

by 24USATVJan. 10, 2021, 3 a.m. 26
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The Indianapolis Colts made some NFL postseason history on Saturday, but it's definitely not the kind that any team ever wants to be making.

During Indy's 27-24 loss to the Bills in the wild-card round, the Colts became the first team in NFL playoff history to lose after turning the ball over zero times AND totaling 450 or more yards of offense. Before Saturday, that exact situation had happened a total of 11 times ever and those teams had combined to go 11-0. The crazy part is that none of the other games were even particularly close as those 11 teams won by an average of 21.3 points.

So how do you become the first team in NFL history to lose in a situation like this? It all comes down to the fact that the Colts just couldn't score points. For the better part of four quarters in this game, the Colts offense moved the ball up and down the field on the Bills, but for a variety of reasons, they couldn't close the deal by ending the drive with points.

The Colts had a total of SEVEN offensive possessions in this game where they made it into Bills territory but came away with zero points, and really, that's what ended up being the difference. Two of those drives ended when coach Frank Reich decided to punt on fourth-and-long, including the Colts' opening possession when Reich called for a punt on fourth-and-11 from Buffalo's 40 (They also had a punt on fourth-and-10 from Buffalo's 47).

On another possession, Reich decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from Buffalo's 4-yard line. That play ended up failing when Philip Rivers threw an incomplete pass. However, the Colts' biggest mistake on that drive came when they tried to run a pitch play on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line that went for a three-yard loss. This sequence happened in the second quarter and it could have changed the game if the Colts had kicked a field goal instead.

As for the other two drives that ended in Buffalo territory without a score, one was at the end of the game that ended with a Rivers Hail Mary attempt. The other one came in the third quarter and ended with a missed 33-yard field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship.

That's five drives where the Colts totaled 200 yards, but came away with zero points, and that's how you end up making the ugly kind of NFL history. Before this year, the team with the highest yardage total and zero turnovers in a playoff loss was the 1968 Raiders, who put up 443 yards against a Jets team that would go on to win Super Bowl III, which sounds like a good omen for the Bills.

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