5 takeaways from Colts’ 41-15 win over Bills

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The Indianapolis Colts heard the noise of how they can’t beat good teams and that they can’t finish their opponents. They responded with a dominant performance against the Buffalo Bills and made a statement to the rest of the AFC.

The offense punched the Bills’ defense in the mouth to open the game and scored on their first four drives. They had no answer for Jonathan Taylor, he was unstoppable and has put himself in MVP consideration with his current run. The defense deserves some credit as well.

They limited explosive plays by the Buffalo offense, never let Josh Allen get comfortable, and grabbed three interceptions. Special teams continued their stellar play. T.J. Carrie picked up an Isaiah McKenzie fumble on a kick return and put the offense at the two-yard line.

Michael Badgley continues his perfect streak, making all seven attempts, which included a long of 37 yards. It’s always a good thing when you don’t see much of Rigoberto Sanchez, but he did deliver on his one attempt and pinned the Bills at the nine-yard line.

The Colts controlled this game from kickoff and never looked back. Indianapolis is getting hot at the right time, here are my top five takeaways from the win:

MVP Candidate: Jonathan Taylor

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Entering this weekend, the Bills’ defense held opponents to 83.9 rushing YPG, which ranked third in the NFL. The Colts’ offensive line and Jonathan Taylor didn’t back down from the challenge. Jonathan Taylor rushed the ball 32 times for 185 yards and got four touchdowns on the ground.

His longest run was 40 yards. He also showed up in the passing attack, he showed off some nifty moves to secure a catch and push his way in the endzone for a 23-yard score. Taylor finished with 204 total yards and five touchdowns. He is one of nine players to have five-plus touchdowns in a game during the Super Bowl era. In 11 games he has 1,444 scrimmage yards and 15 touchdowns.

He puts himself in a position to make history next week, Taylor has tied LaDainian Tomlinson and Lydell Mitchell for having eight straight games with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown.

If this stud back can carry his team into the playoffs and continues to put up these numbers then I don’t know how MVP voters don’t consider putting his name on the ballot.

Defense continues takeaway streak

AP Photo/Jeff Lewis

Indianapolis is currently on the longest active streak of having 12 games in a row where they have forced a turnover. They overtook the Bills and now lead the NFL with 25 takeaways. The streak remained after George Odum picked off Josh Allen when he tried to force a first down throw on a third-and-18 situation.

He was able to jump in front of the throw and end the first drive by the Buffalo offense. The second one of the game came on special teams. Isaiah McKenzie stumbled to the ground and fumbled the ball away into T.J. Carrie’s hands. Kenny Moore made up for his dropped interception from last week. He was able to take a tipped pass from Xavier Rhodes and played volleyball with it until he was able to secure the interception.

The final turnover by the Colts came after the Bills flew the white flag. Zaire Franklin picked off Mitch Trubisky to cap off the performance by the Colts’ defense. They will be tested again by the Tom Brady-led offense in Week 12.

Quiet day for Carson Wentz

AP Photo/Adrian Kraus

To no surprise, with how Jonathan Taylor was playing, the Colts didn’t ask for their quarterback to do much. It’s the perfect scenario for Frank Reich, especially with the nasty weather that both offenses had to deal with. Carson Wentz protected the ball, didn’t look to force anything, and helped keep drives alive with third-down conversions.

His 18-yard run on a third-and-10 situation helped put his team in field goal position to give Indianapolis the 17-7 lead. Wentz ended his day 11/20 for a season-low 106 yards and a touchdown. He has three straight games without an interception. It may be nothing to pop the bottles over but the quarterback has responded well since the disastrous end in the loss to the Tennessee Titans.

He has helped lead his team to a record over .500 for the first time this season and they now have a shot to make the postseason. At some point, Wentz will have to win his team a game but Reich will take clean football from him and ride the hot hand of Taylor for as long as he can.

Josh Allen struggles

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Matt Eberflus has to be very pleased with how his defense played against the high-powered Bills’ offense. Taking out the final drive of the game and the fumbled kick return, Buffalo only scored on two of their eight drives. Josh Allen failed to get in a rhythm and the defense did a nice job at preventing him from keeping the chains moving with his legs.

His 209 passing yards and 18 rushing yards are a season-low for him in all of the four losses for the Bills. The secondary limited the explosive plays from Allen’s arm. Two of their three interceptions came off of him and the team finished with seven pass deflections.

The gameplan was for the Colts to keep Allen inside the pocket and that played a factor in taking away his rushing ability. The front-four didn’t get home often, only got one sack and three QB hits. The sack had great timing though, Kwity Paye was able to strip the ball out of Allen’s hands and would have been the fifth turnover of the game but Buffalo recovered it.

This led to a missed 56-yard field goal attempt by Tyler Bass to end the first half. Eberflus will have to get his defense ready to repeat that performance when the loaded Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense comes to Lucas Oil Stadium.

Statement Game

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The Colts put a whooping on the Bills. There is no other way to put it. The offense scored on seven of their nine drives. The defense held Buffalo to seven points for three quarters and gave up the second touchdown when Indianapolis had a 38-7 lead.

Frank Reich’s team dominated the time of possession. The Colts held the ball for 37:47 compared to the Bills being on offense for only 22:13. They won the turnover battle easily, forcing four, and didn’t give Buffalo one takeaway. This win has a ripple effect across the AFC, the New England Patriots leading the AFC East, and Indianapolis is sitting right outside the playoff picture.

Reich has his team getting hot at the right time of the year and this roster is built for this type of football. This marks the second game that Indianapolis has gone on the road, dealt with bad weather, and taken care of their opponent. It first happened in the 30-18 win over the San Francisco 49ers and now the 41-15 statement win over the Bills.

The Colts will ride their three-game winning streak and look to end November with a 4-0 record next Sunday.

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