The CBS telecast opens with the crew in the booth sending it down to Steve Tasker, who deserves a lifetime achievement Emmy for his four hours of sideline work during what was a legit lake-effect snowstorm. Later in the telecast, play-by-play man Andrew Catalon threw it to Tasker with a, "Steve, you still alive down there?" I don't even think he was kidding.
This is pretty much as bad as it got. This is when it most felt like the Colts' white helmet and uniform combo would present a serious disadvantage for the Bills, who opted for their garish "Color Rush" garb. The Colts even did a little trolling about it on Twitter. It's a given that people at New Era Field were experiencing something wild and unique. But those watching on television were also treated to a surreal experience.
The Bills will clinch top Ebenezer Scrooge status this holiday season if they don't throw their grounds crew a bone after this. This was an unprecedented circumstance according to people who have been close to Bills football for decades. The storm hit one hour before kickoff and continued through four quarters and a full overtime period. The work for the crew simply never stopped.
Here's another surreal report from Tasker late in the third quarter: "The shovel crew is gassed. They're trying to run back and forth across the field, trying to keep the field clear between plays. They're taking a knee and sucking down Gatorade and everything. I've never seen anything like this game. It's taken a toll on everybody."
Seriously, if there isn't at least a beefy Best Buy gift card in the crew's stockings, the football gods should double down on this Bills postseason drought.
This is a funny punt. I don't imagine Rigoberto Sanchez got too much experience in these conditions at the University of Hawaii.
"The wide receiver did not get two feet in bounds before disappearing in a bottomless snow drift until April. The ruling on the field is an incomplete pass. Third down."
You know who was loving this game? NFL Films, that's who. Sabol Inc. gonna eat. The above replay comes from CBS, who did fine work given the challenges (true story: the telestrator froze). That view of Kelvin Benjamin's touchdown is quite beautiful, isn't it? Another reminder of how much high-definition television has enhanced the sports fan experience. You kids today don't even appreciate it! (loses balance on porch, falls, breaks hip)
If you've ever wondered what 5-foot-9, 250-pound fullback Mike Tolbert looks like when attempting to cut and accelerate in a foot of snow, wonder no more!
"We kept saying it was like we were on a beach [in the sand]," Bills wide receiver Deonte Thompsonsaid after the game. "The snow was so high so every time we stepped in it we would sink so it was tough to run a route. This is going to be something I tell my grandkids about. ... It was a crazy day today."
Let's also give it up for Bills fans, who seemed to make the most of a difficult in-stadium fan experience. Something tells me Bills Mafia was a little more lubricated than usual by the second half. While we're here, how the hell did these fans get home after the game? Are they still there? Is this a National Guard situation? SAVE THE BILLS MAFIA!
There were three touchdowns scored in this game, which amounts to something of a Christmas miracle. The first two led to extra-point attempts, which gave us the high comedy of a bunch of men in tights furiously attempting to clear a landing spot for the poor kicker before the play clock expired. It was like a Double Dare challenge.
Vinatieri, of course, is the most famous snow kicker in NFL history, thanks to his heroics in the 2001 AFC Divisional Playoffs (yes, better known as The Tuck Game, Raiders fans). The old man added to his legacy with this funky extra point that hooked inside the upright like a Randy Johnson slider.
Vinatieri missed both of his field-goal attempts, including one in the final seconds of the fourth quarter that would've given Indianapolis the win. We'll give him a pass, but someone still has to tell his kids Santa won't make it this year:
LeSean McCoy's touchdown run in overtime set off a joyful celebration in a game that, lest we forget, had huge implications for a Buffalo team attempting to qualify for the postseason for the first time in 18 years. Even if they miss out again, no one can take away their conquest in Blizzard Bowl I.
Never before has a snow angel been this well-earned. Flap your wings, my rugged celestial cosplayer. You deserve to fly.
Until next week.