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Colts opens the playoffs at Reich’s old springboard in Buffalo

Orchard Park, NY — Micah Hyde still remembers the pitch of Bills’ first-year coach Sean McDermott, who helped convince free agents to sign a contract with Buffalo in 2017. I will.

“He said,’We’re going to play a home playoff game, and we want to step into the stadium, go through the tunnel, and hear the salt crevices under the shoes,” Hyde said. Remembered this week. “That’s why we realized that vision we’ve had since 2017.”

Snow isn’t included in the forecast and doesn’t need to be salted, but Bills Stadium still crackles on Saturday — and has a limited number of fans. Bills (13-3), the first AFC East champion in 25 years, will face 7-seeded Indianapolis Colts (11-5) for the first playoff game in 24 years.

There have been many changes since McDermott arrived and adopted by GM Brandon Bean to transform the franchise, which is primarily known for losing in the 17-year playoff drought.

Bills made his third playoff appearance for the first time in four years and regained relevance for the first time since Jim Kelly’s heyday in the 1990s. Buffalo was a post-season match in which he played in the Super Bowl four times in a row and suffered all defeats.

In addition to the throwback theme, there is the presence of Colts’ Frank Reich, who spent eight out of nine years in Buffalo as a backup for Kelly.

“Sure, I’ll always be a Bills fan, except this Saturday,” Reich said.

He was certainly a fan on Sunday when Buffalo defeated Miami, closing the playoff harbor with Colts defeating Jacksonville.

Reich has made his first playoff appearance in three years in Indianapolis. This is a mixed team of veterans and young people, with a 17-year quarterback Philip Rivers on one end of the scale and a rookie running Jonathan Taylor on the other end.

For Rivers, in his first season in Indianapolis, this may mark his best and last chance to lead the team to the Super Bowl.

“I don’t carry it every day,” said Rivers, who had a 5-6 playoff record in the Chargers. “The man has played for 16 years and has never participated in the championship.” Shoot, it’s a new beginning every day and I’m excited about each challenge and opportunity. ”

The 39-year-old QB finished the season with Tom Brady and Drew Brees tying second on the NFL list, passing 4,000 yards 12 times.

The Rivers will face one of the NFL’s top young rookie in Josh Allen. Buffalo’s third-year starter oversaw the franchise’s 501-point-scoring attack, and Allen broke many single-season records with 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Allen has benefited from the addition of Stephen Diggs, which he acquired in a deal with Minnesota in March, and the friendliness of his third year playing under coordinator Brian Dabol. Diggs became Buffalo’s first player to lead the NFL in catch (127) and yard receive (1,535).

What Buffalo lacks is a playoff victory. Buffalo has been 0-2, 0-6 under McDermott since defeating Miami 37-22 on December 30, 1995.

Allen is still plagued by how the attack was unraveled with him, blowing off the 16-0 third quarter lead of 22-19 overtime losses in Houston in a wildcard round a year ago.

“The main lesson wasn’t the press,” Allen said. Allen ran 133 yards at 11 yards out of 26 yards and lost fumble after halftime.

“If I could change that, I would obviously do it, but I’m glad I couldn’t,” he added. “I’m delighted with the lessons learned through the game and over the three years I’ve played. Without failure, people don’t know success.”

Slow back runner

Taylor is running like his old college these days. A rookie from Wisconsin hastily won a 253-yard, two-score franchise against Jacksonville, averaging 86.3 yards and 4.4 yards per carry in the last six games, and winning eight TDs, including one receive. Did.

“It was a badger JT, and he brought it to Colts,” said fellow RB Naiheim Hines. “If we can ride the wave and keep it going, we can have a lot of success.”

Fan-Demonium

Bills resembles a home field advantage for the first time this season with about 6,700 fans. According to state guidelines, each person entering a 70,000-seat stadium must first test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of kickoff.

Are you looking ahead?

Colts may not yet have all the plans for Sunday. Defense coordinator Matt Everfras does.

After steadily leading Indy’s defense from near the bottom of the league to the top 10 units, Everfras has become one of the most popular names in the coaching market. Several teams, including the New York Jets, reportedly requested an interview with Everfras. However, those meetings will not take place before the match on Saturday.

Looking ahead II?

Dabol is considered a potential head coach candidate for training Allen and overseeing the second-ending attack in the resulting yard. From the Buffalo region, Dabol was associated with the Chargers’ GM Tom Teresco, both of whom attended the same high school.

I doubt it

Buffalo’s top two receivers, Diggs (diagonal) and Cole Beasley (knee), are listed as suspicious. Beasley practiced for the first time on Thursday after being injured two weeks ago. Diggs were also restricted after being injured on Sunday.



Colts opens the playoffs at Reich's old springboard in Buffalo

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