Week 10: Bills Lose Close One 17-16
Two takeaways and big return not enough to pull off upset.
by Steve Saslow
The Bills defense forced two turnovers as Terrence McGee returned a fumble 68 yards for a touchdown and had an 88 yard kickoff return to setup a field goal but it wasn't enough as the Bills fell to the Colts in a much closer battle then expected, 17-16. The offense couldn't do much at all settling for just three Rian Lindell field goals. He missed a 41 yarder that would have given the Bills the lead with just over 6 minutes left in the game. Anthony Thomas ran for 109 yards as the Bills used a ball control offense that just didn't do enough to win.
The Bills did everything they wanted to do in the first quarter. They had a long, ball control drive, 61 yards in 14 plays that took 8:08 off the clock after the opening kickoff. Two things were bad though, it was the last good drive offensively in this game and they had to settle for the first Lindell field goal, a 22 yard chip shot.
The Bills held the ball for nearly 12 minutes in the opening period doing everything they needed too. They ran the ball well and kept the ball out of Peyton Manning's hands. On the opening play of the 2nd period, Manning hit Dallas Clark for 22 yards and things started clicking for Indy in that period. A one yard touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne and a 31 yard Adam Vinatieri field goal gave the Colts a 10-3 lead.
It appeared the Colts were going to pull away before halftime as they moved the ball with ease in the 2nd quarter but then the Bills defense made the first of a few big plays that would keep the Bills in the game to the bitter end. Angelo Crowell forced a fumble that McGee picked up and rumbled down the sidelines with a wall of blockers untouched for a 68 yard touchdown that shockingly tied the game at halftime instead of the Bills being two touchdowns behind.
The Colts got back on track on the opening possession of the 2nd half moving it 74 yards in 9 plays to a go ahead touchdown that you would think would send a statement to the Bills that the Colts were going to pull away in the 2nd half.
That changed quickly with another big play, this one by the special teams. McGee returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards but he made a grave error. He didn't find a way to get into the end zone and with the Bills anemic offense, you just knew they weren't going to tie the game. They gained no yards on the next three plays and had to settle for field goal number two from Lindell, a 30 yarder.
The Bills offense did drive down to a field goal of their own early in the fourth quarter. A 21 yard punt return by Roscoe Parrish gave the Bills good field position and setup a 36 yard drive in 9 plays to Lindell's third field goal, this one was a 43 yarder.
The defense played much better after the Colts final touchdown until late in the game. They would force punts on two straight possessions and then got their second takeaway of the game. Nate Clements recovered a fumble forced by Aaron Schobel. Of course since he couldn't go the distance the Bills weren't going to score a touchdown, this time they wouldn't even get a field goal though. Lindell missed from 41 yards out on a kick that would have given the Bills a two point lead with 6:27 to go.
It doesn't appear to matter that Lindell missed that kick since it does seem like the Colts would have scored effortlessly to win the game if they had to. They ran out the clock by using short passes and long runs as the game ended with the Colts sitting at the Bills 26 yard line.
The Bills did many good things in giving a scare to the undefeated Colts. They made two big turnovers on defense and the special teams did a solid job in all facets including a successful fake punt, good returns and coverage along with great punts once again from Brian Moorman. It would be almost a feel good loss except for the fact that the offense is getting worse and worse each week as they could do nothing in this game besides some good running from Thomas. Many of his yards would come on third and long plays that would gain yards but would be short of the first down. The defense made some big plays but also couldn't stop the run when they had to at the end. So it's a loss and there are certainly more questions offensively then ever.
Here are our exclusive gameballs and goats from the Bills game against the Colts: