Bills head coach Dick Jauron, who called this matchup an "unbelievable
challenge" for his team on Wednesday reflected on Sunday's game with a
mixture of disappointment and pride.
"A very painful loss, to come in here and be that close and not to take it at the end," he said. "But, the guys played awfully hard...We did not turn the ball over, and that's always huge in our game. And that gave us a chance to win in the end."
Against an Indianapolis team that had fumbled away possession of the ball just three times in its first eight games, the Bills forced two fumbles in sixty minutes of play. Cornerback Terrence McGee scooped up one of them and sprinted 68 yards for the team's only touchdown of the game. McGee almost scored another on an 88-yard kickoff return, but was stopped short by Colts safety Antoine Bethea. The Bills had to settle for a field goal instead, much to their disappointment.
"It's always disappointing, but how crucial was it? It ends up, when you
lose, it's all crucial," Jauron said.
"We played close to the kind of game that we needed to play, I thought, to win it. We just didn't play right up to where we needed to be to win it."
The Bills defense came in with a game plan that held Indianapolis to 17 points, the Colts' second-lowest single game scoring production of the season to date. Part of the plan involved switching off cornerbacks Nate Clements and Terrence Magee, who normally would have covered Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison, respectively.
"We were mixing it up trying to frustrate their offense," Clements said.
And it worked. The Colts, who came into the game converting better than 50
percent of their third downs, succeeded on just 38 percent of their tries
against Buffalo's defense.
"We thought we had an excellent game plan," said Bills middle linebacker London Fletcher. "Unfortunately, we were unable to close it out in the end.
"You have to give them credit. Their red zone defense was the key to the game."
The Bills made three trips inside the Colts' 20-yard line, but couldn't convert any of them into touchdowns -- not even after driving as deep as the Colts' 4-yard line on their opening drive or after starting at the Indianapolis 12-yard line following McGee's kickoff return. But despite coming up agonizingly short by a single point, the Bills head back home knowing they gave the league's only undefeated team a fight.
And while some may crow this week that Indianapolis has once again shown that they may not be as good as their 9-0 record indicates after just barely slipping by the Bills, Buffalo defensive tackle Larry Tripplett will disagree after seeing his former teammates from the opponents' point of view.
"You've got to play pretty close to a perfect game to beat them," he said.