Instant analysis: Bills don’t look like AFC’s Super Bowl team after rout by Colts

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts was supposed to be a highly contested replay of last January’s first-round playoff game.

Instead, the game between two prospective playoff teams was thoroughly dominated by the road team, as the Colts (6-5) laid the smackdown on the Bills (6-4) at Highmark Stadium, 41-15.

The game was reminiscent of Buffalo’s first half against Miami in Week 8 and the Bills’ overall performance at Jacksonville in Week 9. There was so much that Buffalo did wrong in this contest, it was borderline shocking.

One of the main storylines was Buffalo’s inability to slow down Indianapolis’ ground game. Jonathan Taylor had a game for the ages, setting a team record with five touchdowns, including four on the ground.

There’s a ton of talk about how the league is a passing league, but Sunday revealed the importance of having a dominant ground attack in the modern game. The Colts offensive line gashed Bills defensive line, tilting the field and making life easy for Indianapolis. Buffalo allowed 264 yards on the ground. Taylor, for his part, did the most damage, registering 185 rushing yards on 32 carries.

The Bills defense tried to keep things in check, but the unit was placed in negative situations several times. Buffalo’s offense largely struggled to gain any sort of meaningful footing.

Indianapolis borrowed the playbook from previous Bills opponents to limit Buffalo’s explosive plays on offense, inviting quarterback Josh Allen to accept intermediate passing options. The combination of defensive coverage, struggles with pass protection, Allen rushing decisions, and substandard weather conditions for passing all combined for a miserable afternoon for the Bills offense.

Buffalo contributed to their own woes making several mistakes that doomed them throughout the game. Allen threw two interceptions, and nearly a third that was overturned.

Returner Isaiah McKenzie slipped on a kickoff returned and ended up fumbling deep in Bills territory. Leading up to Allen’s first interception, Buffalo’s offensive line accepted two penalties (a holding call on Mitch Morse and a false start on Cody Ford).

The normally reliable kicker Tyler Bass missed both of his field goal attempts. The Bills were negative-four in the turnover battle.

Indianapolis wore down Buffalo’s defense and continued to run over them as the game continued. The Bills offense did little to help matters.

The undisciplined play will cause analysts to question if Buffalo should really be mentioned as a favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. With this performance, it’s questionable that the Bills could make it out of the first round. This is also Buffalo’s fourth conference loss, which could be problematic in tie-breaking scenarios.

The silver lining to this game is that it only counts for one loss. There was a great deal that went wrong for Buffalo, and hopefully, the Bills got it out of the way in this game moving forward. In addition, Buffalo’s defense allowed only 106 passing yards through the air.

Tight end Dawson Knox also performed admirably, leading Buffalo with six catches for 80 receiving yards. Other than that, it wasn’t pretty.

Buffalo now falls to second place in the AFC East, a half-game behind New England. The Bills have to turn things around fast, as they travel to New Orleans for a Thanksgiving night class with the Saints.

Related

WATCH: Stefon Diggs keeps hot, scores vs. Colts

Bills vs. Colts: Game day inactives

Bills ground game has historic breakout in Week 10