(Timothy Ludwig/USA Today Sports)

Postgame Thoughts: Buffalo Bills 27, Indianapolis Colts 14

Postgame reaction to Buffalo's opening victory of 2015

Well Buffalo Bills fans, consider this confirmation: These Bills are pretty good. In time, we may just find out they are much better. But let's enjoy a dominant victory over a well-respected Indianapolis Colts team and take a look back at this afternoon's party in Orchard Park. 

THE 'D' COMES TO PLAY: Without their recently re-signed DT Marcell Dareus, Buffalo's defense barely missed a beat. In the first half especially, they constantly confused Andrew Luck with perpetual blitz packages. We saw the Bills go from a more traditional four down linemen set to having them all mill around standing up at the line. But while there was tons of pressure, the big contributions came in coverage. The pressure didn't get to Luck as often as you might expect, but that was because the Stanford grad was going to his hot reads. That said, nickel and dime players like Nickell Robey and Mario Butler were quick to recognize this, sticking close to receivers and timing their plays on the ball and receiver in order to break up passes and limit run-after-catch yardage.

SEMINOLE ROOKIES MAKE THEIR IMPRESSIONS: Ronald Darby was the big question mark for the Bills defense coming out of training camp. The cornerback had a tepid camp, but showed in Week 1 that quarterbacks will have to respect his speed and ball-hawking abilities. The plays he missed in the preseason were nowhere to be found today, with no coverage penalties, a great break-up of a pass to T.Y. Hilton, and an interception of Luck on an underthrown ball to Hilton. Luck seemed to shy away from Darby from that point forward, attacking Stephon Gilmore more (with only slightly better fortune). 

The other big rookie performance was Karlos Williams. He ended up as the Bills' leading rusher in yards on a third of the carries. He turned his first touch into a touchdown, cutting through the Colts defense for a 26-yard score in the two minute offense at the end of the first half. He was a great change-of-pace back for LeSean McCoy, after the Bills began with Anthony Dixon in that role, but Williams has more speed and shiftiness than Dixon's pure power.

THE QB - A SOLID EFFORT: Tyrod Taylor's first start in the NFL was a good one. This was especially true in the 1st half, where he outplayed his Colts counterpart Luck. The long 51-yard throw to Percy Harvin down the right side was his best throw of the day, helping to stake the Bills a 10-0 lead. His mobility helped him in a number of situations, most noticeably when he dropped a snap while playing with the lead. He was able to pick it up and turn it into a decent gain, rather than get nervous and potentially gift the Colts great field position. That poise may have been his best trait today - not getting flustered in the face of trouble, instead being willing to tuck it and get out of the pocket when nothing was available. 

IS THE BOOK OUT ON LUCK & THE COLTS?: The Colts have lost their last two meaningful games in rather debilitating fashion. Both were against head coaches who enjoy the chess match, Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan. Luck has enjoyed the benefits of playing in a cakewalk division (one that the Bills could easily win if they had such fortune to be in it). Luck was the opposite of Taylor in the 1st half, not poised and looking to unload the ball every time the pressure came within a sniff of him. Chuck Pagano may have encouraged that from him, knowing the blitz would be strong, but the pass coverage was prepared. Teams should realize that he's gaining a reputation for "happy feet," and any team who can play competent man coverage should take notes from these masterful solutions to the young QB.

THIS TIME, BAD OFFICIATING WASN'T AN ISSUE: The Bills always seem to be riddled with poor officiating. But we've spent so many years wishing the team could put together a performance to render the bad calls a moot point. I won't even bother mentioning the calls that went against Buffalo - the Bills were far and away the better team in this one with or without a well-called game from the stripes.

CLOSING IT OUT: That last quarter and a half was dramatic, wasn't it? We're so used to a team that fails to sew up a dominant early performance that it's natural to worry in this one. The touchdown at the end of the 3rd quarter felt like a momentum shift. But the Bills defense had already forced the Colts to bleed clock on that drive, and a special teams mistake by Indy all-but sealed the victory.

MCCOY LOOKED LIKE THE 2014 VERSION: The Bills rode LeSean McCoy a ton in this game. Many of his runs were for losses, and his 2.5 yards per carry average was unimpressive. Yes, he was just coming back from a hamstring injury, and yes he was good in the screen game. It doesn't help that he had a touchdown run called back, but he had a certain C.J. Spiller feel about him in this one. Can he start finding the holes? His backup, Karlos Williams, did on a number of occasions.

A REAL EARLY SEASON TEST AHEAD: Surely the Colts victory is a good test for Buffalo, but as I said earlier, some regard Indianapolis as overrated due to a weak AFC South. The defending champions, with Tom Brady behind center, will be a good barometer to how much we can expect from these Bills. The result will decide nothing as it pertains to the playoffs, but a 2-0 start should put the NFL on notice that something special is happening in Western New York. A loss will temper enthusiasm, but could be a teachable moment. Either way, "It's onto New England."


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