For the first time since Bill Clinton was residing in the White House, the Buffalo Bills will be playing postseason football. And it’s about as unrealistic of a situation that we’ll ever see around the NFL world.
It was just over a month ago that first-year Bills head coach Sean McDermott benched Pro Bowl quarterback Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie mid-round pick Nathan Peterman. That decision backfired big time, with Peterman throwing five first half interceptions in a 54-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Just over a month later, the Bills were in their locker room following a win over the Miami Dolphins watching to see if the Cincinnati Bengals would do them a solid by defeating the Baltimore Ravens. Buffalo needed help to get into the playoffs by virtue of that Week 11 loss to Los Angeles and McDermott’s ill-fated decision to bench Taylor.
With Cincinnati down 27-24 and with just 53 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, Andy Dalton and Co. were faced with a fourth-and-12 from the Ravens’ 49-yard line. That’s when Dalton hit second-year receiver Tyler Boyd on an improbable 49-yard touchdown to win the game, sending Buffalo to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Bills to the playoffs! Synchronized reactions to the huge Dalton/Boyd TD! @SalSports @joe_stojek @S_Whipple @716FoodandSport @buffalobills @StephenHauscka4 @boutdat_23 @bengals #billsmafia pic.twitter.com/GusPFfkYZk
— discodancing (@discodancing) January 1, 2018
According to ESPN, this play represented the largest win-probability change in the NFL during the 2017 season.
Not only did Buffalo have to defeat a divisional opponent on the road Sunday. Not only did the team have to overcome a disastrous rookie coaching decision. Not only did the team have to somehow overcome 20 years of things just not going in their favor. They were left to rely on Andy Dalton to provide the most dramatic moment of the season.
So if we’re counting the Bills out against Jacksonville in the AFC Wildcard game, let’s make sure not to overlook the possibility that this might very well be destiny.