The Buffalo Bills were looking at what would have been an objectively devastating blow to their chances of making the playoffs when Cameron Dicker's 53-yard field goal, his fifth of the night, sailed through the uprights with 5:26 left in the fourth quarter.
Facing third-and-8 from the L.A. 45-yard line, quarterback Josh Allen said it was obvious who he should target on a pass that needed to find its target.
"I told this to them in the locker room. Season, game on the line, [Stefon Diggs] is going to be our go-to target and he knows that, I think everybody in the world knows that," said quarterback Josh Allen after the game. "And for him to just put his head down, he's been working hard, you know, and that was the biggest play of the game in my opinion."
With the season on the line, Allen found Diggs for an 11-yard completion that moved the sticks and led to a game-winning field goal from Tyler Bass to keep the Bills' playoff hopes alive and well as they prepare for the final two weeks of the regular season.
"Stefon Diggs coming up on third downs, huge. Especially that last one, that little out route. We've worked on that in practice a few different times and it was good to get that in the game, just trusting your feet, trusting where he's going to be," Allen said.
Trust has been important in Buffalo over the last few weeks.
Just over a month ago, the Bills were reeling from a 24-22 loss to the Denver Broncos. With games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys ahead, their 5-5 record gave them little insurance for the remainder of the season.
Under interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady, the offense has averaged 27 points per game and despite picking up significant injuries on the defensive side of the ball, Sean McDermott and the defensive coaching staff have halted some of the most potent offenses in the NFL.
"Huge," Allen said on what the last three wins have meant for the Bills and their playoff hopes. "I mean, backs against the wall. Again, still some season left and we have to finish on our own terms and just try to find a way to get in."
Their way to get in would have been made a lot more difficult had Allen, Diggs and the rest of the Bills failed to convert on that pivotal third down that extended their game-winning drive.
Fortunately for head coach Sean McDermott and the Buffalo Bills, the rapport between the two playmakers once again proved too much for the opposing defense to handle.
"Those two have a lot of trust and confidence in one another and Josh knows where Stef is going to be most of the time and I thought that Joe Brady did a great job, we had some open receivers on that drive right there," McDermott said.
McDermott will be the first to say that the Bills' season has not been an easy one. The head coach expressed his gratitude towards a group of players that rallied from a shaky stretch of the season to now riding a three-game winning streak as they prepare to host the New England Patriots next week.
"I'm just extremely grateful. The guys have done a heck of a job. We're blessed in so many ways," McDermott said. "So we'll see where things go, we'll just continue to take things one game at a time.
While the Bills' job is done for the weekend, there will be several important matchups among playoff-contending AFC teams Sunday and Monday as the race to the postseason heats up. McDermott said that they will keep an eye on how the standing shake out over the weekend, but emphasized the importance of taking time to spend time with family during the holidays and prepare for a Patriots team that got the better of the Bills earlier in the year.
"We'll be paying attention to it. I mean, looking forward to getting a little bit of rest, it's been a short week for us and then traveling out west here," McDermott said. "Get the guys some rest themselves and enjoy Christmas and then get ourselves ready for the Patriots."
The Bills will take on the Patriots in their final home game of the regular season Sunday at 1 p.m.