1. A tale of two halves
In the first half the Bills offense outgained the Texans 247 yards to 81 with 100 of those yards coming on the ground. They converted 63 percent of their third downs and Josh Allen completed better than 66 percent of his passes.
Buffalo's pass rush was relentless and effective as they successfully kept Deshaun Watson in the pocket. Trent Murphy and Jerry Hughes combined for four total sacks in the first half as Watson was unable to trust his offensive line to protect him if he had to come off his first read.
Watson completed just six of eight passes in the first half for 49 yards and the ground game had even less with just 42.
That pass rush success even spilled into the early stages of the second half, when Tremaine Edmunds, who was spying Watson, came up to sack him behind the line of scrimmage when he tried to escape the pocket for a fifth sack.
But once Deshaun Watson made a conscious decision to take off and run when the pass rush closed in, Buffalo had trouble getting off the field as Houston's quarterback made the Bills pay with their aggressive upfield pass rush.
The result was three consecutive scoring drives two of which covered 75 and 74 yards for touchdowns and two-point conversions, turning a 16-0 deficit into a 19-16 lead with four and a half minutes remaining.
"It's one of those things where you have a tale of two halves," said Mitch Morse. "And there's quite a few plays we wish we could take back in that second half. And that overtime. We feel like our guys battled. In the end, the Texans won and they deserve to. We'll have a lot to work on in the offseason."
Buffalo's offense in the second half did not have a possession gain more than 24 net yards and they had a turnover on a fumble by Josh Allen on a scramble.
"The fumble I had cost us three points and ultimately that was the difference in the game," Allen said. "I've got to find a way to clean that up and it'll be something I work on in the offseason. This one is going to hurt and sting for a bit. Life goes on. We'll learn from it and move on."
"Obviously a hard-fought game," said head coach Sean McDermott. "We had opportunities to win the game. We didn't get the job done. They made more plays than we did. Congratulations to them. I'll give them the credit. We had opportunities to win the game and we came up short. Not an easy pill to swallow this time of year. A lot of pain in that locker room. A lot of hard work has gone into this season. We learn from it and we go on into the offseason and keep building, keep working."
2. Overtime was a roller coaster
Despite their second-half struggles, Buffalo was able to force overtime, just the second overtime postseason game in Bills history, with the other being 'The Comeback Game' in 1992 against the Houston Oilers. And the twists and turns were just as trying for the players as it was for the Bills fans who were watching.
"That was probably the tightest playoff game going into overtime, the ups and downs," said Lorenzo Alexander in his 15 NFL seasons. "We're about to lose, we're about to win and we're about to lose, we're about to win. It was definitely an emotional roller coaster there so that's probably the number one game as far as the emotions that went into it especially at the end."
Although Buffalo lost the coin toss their defense promptly sent the Texans offense three and out.
"That's what we talked about as a defense just to go out there knowing we were up first so we had to get a third down stop and that's what we did," said Tremaine Edmunds who tied for the team lead with 12 tackles. "You've just got to take it a play at a time. This game is going to have a lot of ups and downs so you just got to stay focused and stay the course."
As Buffalo's offense went out on the field they were confident knowing any score would end the game.
"Our feeling was it was our game to win and it didn't work out that way," said Cole Beasley. "Guys fought their a-- off, man that's all you can ask. We're right there. We didn't make enough plays. Just one or two plays go the other way, we win this game, so it's frustrating but we're right there. We'll be back."
3. Devin Singletary with an all-around effort
It was an impressive performance by Buffalo's rookie running back on Saturday. Devin Singletary was averaging 6.2 yards per carry at halftime as he was his typical elusive and tough-running self against the Texans and instrumental in helping Buffalo put 13 points on the board through the first two quarters.
In the second half, Singletary provided some big plays that helped Buffalo force overtime, including a 38-yard screen pass that he took down the left sideline to put the Bills in Houston territory to set up the game-tying field goal to tie the game near the end of regulation.
"Just great to see him work, great to see him kind of come into his own this year," said Morse. "I'm looking forward to seeing him grow this offseason with this offense."
By game's end, Singletary accumulated a game-high 134 all-purpose yards, leading the team in receiving in the process with six receptions for 76 yards. It was his second-most productive day of his rookie campaign to his 140 all-purpose yard effort against Washington in Week 9.
"He's been doing that all year and we wouldn't expect anything less from that young guy," said Beasley. "To play that well even in this big of a game so this is really nothing new for him. This is what he was born to do. It doesn't matter what the stakes are. He'll be a good player for a lot of years in this league."