Indianapolis (8-2) at Buffalo (4-6)

Cloudy Currently: Orchard Park, NY
Temp: 35° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EST Sun Nov 23, 2003
  • TV: CBS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Indianapolis Colts are finding new ways to win after relying heavily on Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison for so long.

With plenty of help from their defense and special teams, the Colts bring a balanced attack into Ralph Wilson Stadium their matchup with the Buffalo Bills.

Indianapolis used a rare trick play against the New York Jets last week, as punter Hunter Smith ran 21 yards for a touchdown on a fake field-goal attempt to break a 31-all tie in the third quarter and give the Colts a 38-31 win.

Mike Vanderjagt, who earlier kicked his 29th straight field goal, wasn’t even aware of the play until it was in motion.

“I didn’t even know the fake was on,” Vanderjagt said. “When he took off with the ball, I guess that’s when I knew. I went to kick the ball and he was already off and running.”

The Colts have had many players come up big this season, such as Dwight Freeney making a key sack to preserve a win over Miami on Nov. 2 and receiver Reggie Wayne setting a career high with 141 yards receiving in a victory over against Jacksonville on Sept. 21.

“I think that’s the way it should be,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said. “We have a lot of guys who can play the game and we have confidence in all of them.”

Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark combined for 241 receiving yards filling in for Harrison and tight end Marcus Pollard, who were out with injuries last week.

Pollard strained his right knee in practice Thursday and will likely miss Sunday’s game, while Harrison might play against the Bills, who boast the second-best passing defense in the NFL.

“I feel good,” Harrison said. “I just don’t want to do anything stupid to re-injure it. But right now, it feels real good.”

Manning—the NFL leader the NFL with 2,876 passing yards—was superb again last week with 401 yards and a touchdown, and James ran for 127 yards and three touchdowns.

“They did a good job of mixing it up with the run and the pass,” Jets coach Herman Edwards said. “They’re a great play-action team, and they did both.”

James became the Colts all-time leader with 5,540 rushing yards, breaking the mark of 5,487 set by Lydell Mitchell from 1972-77.

“I guess every run I have will be a record from here on out,” James said.

The Colts bounced back from an ugly 28-23 loss at Jacksonville a week earlier, and can improve to 9-2 for the first time since 1999 and only the second time since 1977.

The Bills’ struggles continued Sunday as they lost their third straight, 12-10 to Houston. Buffalo failed to score a touchdown for the third straight game and has managed just 21 points since a 24-7 win over Washington on Oct. 19.

Drew Bledsoe passed for just 184 yards for the Bills, who were missing injured leading receiver Eric Moulds.

“I’m so mad. I don’t know what to do,” Bledsoe said. “There have been times when offenses I have been on have struggled … but I can’t recall a time when we went three games without a touchdown.”

Travis Henry played the second half with a cracked bone in his lower right leg and finished with 149 yards rushing—but only 34 came after his injury.

Henry’s injury held up through his first practice of the week Friday, giving the Bills’ running back hope he can play against Indianapolis.

“I felt good making my cuts, accelerating, and I’ll see how it goes,” Henry said.

Henry has 520 rushing yards in the last four games and may still be effective against a Colts run defense that has allowed six 100-yard rushers in its last eight games. Henry and Moulds, however, are both questionable for this contest.

Buffalo is allowing just 17.0 points per game, but scoring only 15.9 per contest. The Bills have been held to 10 points or less in five of six losses.

“It’s hard for me to believe,” Bills president Tom Donahoe said. “It shouldn’t be happening. But it’s where we are. We have to come up with some answers. Right now we don’t seem to have any answers.”

Updated Friday, Nov 21, 2003

Team Comparison

Team Records Standings PF PA Road/Home AFC NFC DIV Streak
Indianapolis 12-4-0 1st AFC South 447 336 7-1-0 Road 9-3-0 3-1-0 5-1-0 Won 1
Buffalo 6-10-0 3rd AFC East 243 279 4-4-0 Home 4-8-0 2-2-0 2-4-0 Lost 3

Related Articles

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards


Week 12
  Sunday, Nov 23   Pittsburgh at
Cleveland 13
6 Final
      Indianapolis at
Buffalo 17
14 Final
      San Francisco at
Green Bay 10
20 Final
      Detroit at
Minnesota 14
24 Final
      Carolina at
Dallas 20
24 Final
      New England at
Houston 23
20 Final
      Seattle at
Baltimore 41
44 Final
      New Orleans at
Philadelphia 20
33 Final
      Jacksonville at
NY Jets 10
13 Final
      Chicago at
Denver 19
10 Final
      St. Louis at
Arizona 30
27 Final
      Oakland at
Kansas City 24
27 Final
      Tennessee at
Atlanta 38
31 Final
      Cincinnati at
San Diego 34
27 Final
      Washington at
Miami 23
24 Final
      Monday, Nov 24   NY Giants at
Tampa Bay 13
19 Final