It has been a long time coming, but the Buffalo Bills are finally heading back to the AFC Championship for the first time since 1994.
Behind a defensive performance that limited the Baltimore Ravens to just a field goal, the Bills scored two unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter and never looked back as they earned a 17-3 victory, holding the Ravens scoreless in the second half.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen only threw for 206 yards and a touchdown, but rookie kicker Tyler Bass converted one of his three field goals and Stefon Diggs caught his 10th touchdown pass of the season to complement one of Buffalo’s best defensive performances of the season.
The turning point came with 41-seconds left in the third quarter when defensive back Taron Johnson picked off Lamar Jackson on the goal line and returned the interception 101-yards for a touchdown. It tied the NFL record for the longest interception touchdown in postseason history. It was also Buffalo’s first postseason defensive touchdown since 1996.
Besides Johnson’s pick-six, the Bills defense also sacked Jackson three times and limited him to 34 rushing yards and 162 passing yards. Before he exited the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion, Jackson finished the game with a 61.4 quarterback rating after completing 58-percent of his passes.
Although Buffalo’s offense was hampered all night long, Diggs turned in another historic performance for the Bills record books.
He caught eight of his 11 targets for 106 yards and a touchdown and when he eclipsed the 100-yard mark, Diggs became the second Bills wide receiver in Bills history to tally back-to-back 100-yard receiving days in the same postseason.
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The Wind Played a Big Role on Saturday
It’s very rare for Justin Tucker, who is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, to miss a field goal, let alone two in the same game. But, it happened on Saturday, and Tucker was bewildered by the result.
On Baltimore’s first drive of the night, Tucker attempted a 41-yard field goal that hit the left upright and was no good and he was surprised.
Then, towards the beginning of the second quarter, Tucker attempted another field and this one came from 46 yards. But, again, Tucker missed. This one went wide right, which drew a lot of surprised responses on Twitter.
It didn’t only affect Tucker though. Bass missed two field goals from 43 and 44 yards and Allen only completed 62.2 percent of his passes. He missed several passes down the field that seemed to sail over his receivers heads. But, as the game went on the Bills were able to establish somewhat of a running game, which allowed them to stitch together an 11-play, 66-yard drive that led to Diggs’ three-yard touchdown catch.
Lamar Jackson Exits Game in Fourth Quarter
With their backs against the wall, the Ravens were trying to respond to Johnson’s pick-6 late in the third quarter and a snap was sailed over Jackson’s head and near Baltimore’s endzone. Jackson was able to corral it and throw it away.
Jackson’s pass was deemed intentional grounding and the former MVP took a pretty hard hit from Trent Murphy that resulted in him smacking his head off the ground. He entered the concussion protocol after being on the ground for a while and didn’t return to the game.