Sean McDermott punted. LeSean McCoy won the game.
In a memorable snow-filled game, McCoy's 21-yard touchdown run in overtime propelled the Buffalo Bills to a 13-7 win Sunday over the Indianapolis Colts.
McCoy finished with 32 carries for 156 rushing yards. His touchdown run came on the Bills' 51st rushing attempt of the game.
New Era Field was blanketed with snow after a lake effect system moved through western New York. Visibility was so poor in the first half that CBS couldn't show some of its camera angles during the broadcast.
The snow prevented either team from having any success in the passing game. The Bills had a few successful plays through the air, including Nathan Peterman's 8-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin late in the first half. That pass followed Peterman's 21-yard completion to Benjamin on the same drive.
After the Colts tied the game to force overtime, the Bills drove down the field and had fourth-and-1 in Colts' territory with four minutes remaining in the extra period. Instead of going for it, Bills head coach Sean McDermott opted to punt. It was a questionable coaching decision in a key situation for the Bills. The team is trying to keep its playoff hopes alive. A tie or a loss would have severely hurt those chances.
The Bills wound up getting the ball back and McCoy bailed out McDermott.
With the win, the Bills improve to 7-6. The Colts fall to 3-10.
Here is the Buffalo Bills Week 14 report card:
GRADING THE UNITS
Quarterbacks - D
The grade is harsh when you consider the weather. This wasn't pass-friendly weather. Nathan Peterman had a few good passes on the Bills' touchdown drive late in the first half. He finished with 57 passing yards and a touchdown. Peterman had to leave the game after a hit to the head. Joe Webb, who replaced Peterman, threw an interception late in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for him, the Colts missed the field goal at the end of regulation. Webb made up for it by completing a 34-yard pass late in overtime that set up McCoy's game-winning touchdown run.
Running backs - A+
This was the LeSean McCoy show. The Bills running back carried the ball 32 times for 156 yards and the game-winning touchdown run. As a team, the Bills finished with 51 rushes for 227 yards, an average of 4.5 yards per carry. But it was all McCoy. He had a couple long runs on the Bills' first half touchdown drive. He capped off his great performance with a 21-yard touchdown run.
Receivers - C+
Why a C-plus? Deonte Thompson's 34-yard catch was a clutch play. That wasn't an easy catch to make when you're running in ankle deep snow. He hauled it in and set up McCoy's touchdown run. Kelvin Benjamin made two nice plays on the drive in the second quarter. His 21-yard catch came on a nice back shoulder throw by Peterman. His size came in handy on the 8-yard touchdown catch. The Bills didn't accomplish much through the air, but the receivers came up big when it mattered.
Offensive line - A-
Maybe the snow helped a little bit, but the offensive line did a nice job plowing the way for McCoy. Pass blocking wasn't an issue. Run blocking was the major focus, and they were successful.
Defensive line - A-
The Colts' game-tying touchdown drive aside, it was a good day for the defensive line. The stat sheet is a bit deceiving because the Colts rushed for 163 yards. But that yardage total came on 46 carries. The Bills limited the Colts to an average of 3.5 yards per carry. Adolphus Washington had a good game stuffing the run and finished with five tackles. Ryan Davis had the lone sack for the Bills.
Linebackers - A+
The snow was probably a factor. Regardless, this group had a good game. Matt Milano, a rookie outside linebacker, led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo) against the Colts. When he was on the field, he made plays. Preston Brown chipped in with seven tackles (six solo) and two tackles for a loss. With the Colts relying on the run game in the snow, the linebackers did a good job of clogging running lanes and not giving up much on the ground.
Defensive backs - A
The Bills' secondary didn't have a lot of action through the air, but the unit was still active. Micah Hyde finished with six tackles and came up from his strong safety position to make some good plays against the run. The same is true for Jordan Poyer, who also had six tackles.
With balls getting stuck in the snow, the return game wasn't much of a factor. The Colts had two kickoff returns for 34 yards and a punt return for 2 yards. The Bills did a solid job covering kicks on a snow-covered field.
Bills returner Brandon Tate had three kickoff returns for 52 yards. His longest was a 27-yard return. He didn't have any punt returns.
A brutal grade for a coaching blunder. What was Sean McDermott thinking? The Bills needed to win to stay in the AFC playoff race. On fourth-and-1 in overtime, McDermott decided to punt the ball away. He stayed with his decision after calling a timeout. If you thought the Nathan Peterman decision a few weeks ago was bad, this is the icing on the cake. McDermott has made some questionable decisions. Maybe it's because he's a rookie head coach. But that decision to punt was ridiculous. You play to win the game, right? Punting in that situation isn't smart. All of these NFL coaches want their players to be aggressive and then they make conservative decisions on the sideline. Either walk the walk or get off the sideline.
OVERALL TEAM PERFORMANCE
Brainless coaching aside, a good win for the Bills. It wasn't easy. The snow made things difficult for both teams. But the Bills pulled out a great win at home against the Colts.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
OFFENSE: LeSean McCoy. The workhorse. McCoy had 32 carries for 156 yards and a touchdown. He scored the game-winning touchdown on a run in overtime. He was the offense on Sunday. The Bills couldn't get much done through the air and other running backs didn't have a lot of success on the ground. McCoy, though, broke off some long runs and made defensive players miss in the snow. He has had big games in the snow before, so this shouldn't have been a surprise.
DEFENSE: Matt Milano. This was a defense-friendly game, and Milano took advantage. He led the Bills with 11 tackles (10 solo) against the Colts. He was everywhere. Maybe the snow helped. Regardless, he is a much better option on the outside. He's a good tackler and solid in pass coverage.
Running back depth. The Bills need more consistent (and versatile) options behind LeSean McCoy. While McCoy can carry a significant chunk of the load, they like to give him a break. Mike Tolbert has been the backup for most of the season, but hasn't been effective. He had a nice run against the Colts before losing a fumble on the play. Travaris Cadet could be part of the solution going forward. It's a position the Bills will want to address in the offseason, whether it's through the draft or free agency.
STAT OF THE GAME
8. The number of ties in Bills history. Sunday was the 45th anniversary of the Bills' last tie, a 21-21 game against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 10, 1972. The Bills came close to their ninth tie in franchise history, but LeSean McCoy had other plans.
STAT OF THE GAME II
227. The Bills had 227 rushing yards against the Colts. That was the offense. With a snow-covered New Era Field, McCoy and company had to run the ball early and often.
This is more like a "cool" take this week. Snow games are fun to watch. They probably aren't too fun to play in, but it levels the playing field. Coming into this game, the Colts had the worst pass defense in the league. That wasn't much of a concern for Indianapolis early in this game. The snow was coming down hard and the field was a winter wonderland. The conditions made passing impossible, so both teams ran the ball often. It wasn't a high scoring affair, but it was still entertaining to see both teams compete in the snow.
The Bills (7-6) will play at 1 p.m. Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. The game will be televised on CBS.