The Buffalo "D" came to play Sunday night in Indianapolis, as the Bills were able to best the Colts 20-7 in their third preseason game. Indianapolis was hoping to christen their new home, Lucas Oil Field, with a win but a young and much improved Bills team stood in their way and were able to put up points early and show that they are a team to watch out for in 2008.
Right out of the gate, the Bills' defense had a strong showing. On the first Colts possession, Chris Kelsay was able to get to their quarterback and force a sack. As the game went on, the defense just seemed to get better with Ashton Youboty, Keith Ellison, Reggie Corner and John Wendling all picking off the quarterback for interceptions. Terrence McGee added to the takeaways with his fumble recovery in the second quarter, which he returned 68 yards for a touchdown. The Bills defense was able to hold the Colts to 233 total yards and one touchdown, while recording five takeaways.
As outstanding as the defense was, one play stood out- and that occurred in the third quarter when first-round draft pick, Leodis McKelvin, was burned for a 94-yard touchdown pass from Quinn Gray to Devin Aromashodu. McKelvin has been developing very slowly in training camp and heading into the regular season, and that play was evidence of his steep learning curve.
There was no sign of Peyton Manning or Trent Edwards in the game as both starting quarterbacks sat the game out due to injuries. Instead, J.P. Losman lead the Bills on two scoring drives and showed why the Bills have kept him on as a quality backup quarterback. Losman completed 13 of 19 passes for 108 yards, and also showed his scrambling ability on a 10 yard scramble in the second quarter to secure a first down, and keep a scoring drive alive.
In total, the Bills offense managed 257 yards with one touchdown coming form rookie running back, Xavier Omon. The offense looked good being able to have long scoring drives down field, but they still have work to do. The Bills' star offensive weapons Marshawn Lynch and Lee Evans had limited showings with Lynch gaining 2 yards on the ground and Evans recording only 44 through the air. However, they were able to have possession of the ball for more than 42 minutes of the game and ran a total of 71 plays.
The biggest upside for the Bills stemming from Sunday's game was their ability to capitalize on Indy's mistakes. It was unusual to see such a disciplined and talented team commit turnover after turnover and allow the Bills to turn them into points.
This is a good sign for a Bills team that lost many games last season due to small errors. If the Bills can keep up the tempo from their wins against Pittsburgh last week, and now Indianapolis, they could be looking at a strong entrance into the regular season come September.
The Bills return to Ralph Wilson Stadium for their first preseason game at home when they play host to the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.