Big plays eliminate the Bills from playoff picture.
by Steve Saslow
Dec. 12, 2000
This game was almost a carbon copy of the beating the Bills took last Sunday. The difference was that the young defense played spirited for most of the game despite being outmanned. The offense finally broke their backs by handing the Colts two touchdowns while the special teams setup a third score leading the Colts to the 44-20 rout. The loss officially eliminated the Bills from a playoff picture that they had no right being a part of in the first place.
The offense may have put up some more numbers than they did last week but they were just as pathetic. Rob Johnson was benched for the second straight game because of poor play. When he was in there he had one of his two interceptions and his fumble returned the distance for touchdowns. He was also sacked eight times as he continued to have no clue where the defense was attacking from. Add Doug Flutie's sack and the Bills were sacked a league season high nine times.
The special teams played no better allowing long returns and having a punt blocked when Chris Mohr double clutched on a punt attempt. To top things off long snapper Ethan Albright had a bad snap on an extra point attempt. The young defense put up a spirited effort that isn't seen by the final score. They held the Colts high powered offense to no touchdowns in a first half and just 116 yards passing for the game. The Colts lead a field goal battle 9-6 at the intermission. This is the first time in league history that a team got to 44 points without scoring a first half touchdown. That shows the extent of the unraveling that happened in the second half.
The two teams were dead even in the first half as the Colts scored one more field goal on one extra possession. In the second half after a three and out, Mohr had his punt blocked by his own man. Four Edgerrin James runs later and the Colts had opened up a 10 point lead. Johnson would throw an interception on his next series than have a fumble returned for a touchdown on the following series giving the Colts the insurmountable 23-6 lead.
It would just get worse for Johnson and the Bills as the Colts added three fourth quarter touchdowns. Two of the scores were setup by good punt returns and they were sandwiched between the Colts second defensive touchdown, a 40 yard interception return by Mustafah Muhammed. The Bills had two second half scores as Sammy Morris dove in late in the third quarter and Flutie hit Peerless Price for a score in the wild fourth quarter.
The loss ended the Bills season but there will be a lot to learn from the final two games. These games will give valuable playing experience to more of the young players that can only help in the team development. They will also be used to get a head start on evaluating personnel and coaches for next year. Johnson trashed the gameplan in his post game press conference, which shows that he and Offensive coordinator Joe Pendry are at odds. There may be coaching jobs on the line in the final two weeks of the season. Bills Daily will be there for the final two games and we will be here for the fans all off season with the latest news on the club and analysis of all the off season happenings.
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