BOSTON (CBS) — Playoff football can bring with it a series of wild swings of emotion. No game encapsulated that more than Saturday’s meeting in Houston between the Bills and Texans.
The fifth-seeded Bills came out swinging, taking a 16-0 lead midway through the third quarter. The Texans responded with 19 straight points to take a three-point lead. The Bills then marched down the field with no timeouts to tie the game with a 47-yard field goal.
It all set the stage for overtime, where the Texans scored on their second possession to hold on and advance to the divisional round.
Deshaun Watson completed 20 of his 25 passes for 247 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He also ran for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Josh Allen completed 24 of his 46 passes for 264 yards with no passing touchdowns or interceptions. He also ran for 92 yards on nine carries and had a 16-yard touchdown catch.
The Texans had the first possession in overtime but went three-and-out. Allen completed a 14-yard pass to Dawson Knox on a third-and-12 and then hit Devin Singletary for a 14-yard pickup on a third-and-9, getting the ball to the Houston 43-yard line. But an illegal blind-side block by tackle Coby Ford pushed the Bills out of field-goal range; they ended up punting.
Watson completed an 18-yard pass to Duke Johnson to move the chains on a third-and-18, and he connected with Kenny Stills for 10 yards to get the Texans across midfield.
Watson then made an unbelievable play, breaking away from what looked to be a definite sack by two Bills and then finding Taiwan Jones in the open field. Jones made the catch and then ran for 34 yards, getting the Texans to the Buffalo 10-yard line.
— NFL (@NFL) January 5, 2020
Ka’imi Fairbairn took the field and successfully kicked the game-winning 28-yard field goal.
— NFL (@NFL) January 5, 2020
The scoring got started in this one when the Bills took a 7-0 lead thanks to some trickery in the first quarter. Allen tossed to wide receiver John Brown on a reverse before breaking off the left side of the formation. The Texans’ defense didn’t cover the quarterback in the open field, and Brown threw the ball back to the QB for a touchdown.
WHAT A START FOR THE @BUFFALOBILLS.
— NFL (@NFL) January 4, 2020
The Bills generated two more field goal drives to take a 13-0 lead into halftime. A DeAndre Hopkins fumble turned the ball over early in the third quarter, and Buffalo converted that opportunity into another field goal to go up 16-0 with a little over 21 minutes remaining in the game.
The Texans finally got on the board on the ensuing drive, with Deshaun Watson completing a 10-yard pass to Hopkins on a third-and-8 and then running for a 20-yard touchdown on the next play. Watson ran in for the two-point conversion to make it a 16-8 Buffalo lead.
Allen then fumbled on the ensuing Buffalo drive, and Houston added a field goal to cut the lead to five points.
The Texans forced a punt and then mounted an eight-play, 69-yard touchdown drive, with Watson completing a pass to Hopkins on the two-point conversion to take a three-point lead.
With limited time left in the game, the Bills got a 38-yard pickup from Devin Singletary on a screen pass on a potential game-tying or game-winning drive. They drove as far as the 25-yard line before the drive started moving backward. Frank Gore lost three yards on a second-and-10, before Allen was penalized for intentional grounding on the resulting third-and-13. Facing a fourth-and-27 from the 42-yard line, Bills head coach Sean McDermott opted to go for it instead of punt (or attempt a 60-yard field goal), and Allen took a 19-yard loss while getting sacked by Jake Martin.
The Bills got one last chance to tie or win the game, after stuffing Watson on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak at the Buffalo 30-yard line.
The Bills gained possession with 1:16 left to play, and with no timeouts. Allen broke off a 20-yard run but blindly lateraled to an unsuspecting teammate. Buffalo was able to retain possession, and Allen converted a third-and-10 pass to Brown to get the Bills on the edge of field-goal territory once again. Cole Beasley caught a pass over the middle on a third-and-10 and made a diving attempt to pick up a first down. After a review, Beasley was awarded the first down at the Houston 29-yard line, giving Buffalo a chance to either get a shorter field goal or score a winning touchdown, but Allen threw two incompletions.
Stephen Hauschka successfully booted a 47-yard field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The Texans now await the winner of Saturday night’s game between the Patriots and Titans to determine their next opponent. If the Patriots win, then the Texans will head to Baltimore next weekend. If the Titans win, then the Texans will travel to Kansas City.
With the loss, the Bills still have not won a playoff game since the 1995 season.