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Takeaways: Buffalo Bills embarrassed again, losing 41-15 to Colts

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills were embarrassed by the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. It was disgusting, but I won’t share any more opinions here in the opening. I’ll save that for the takeaways.

First-quarter shellacking

The Bills hadn’t allowed an opening-drive touchdown in 20 games (23 if you include the playoffs), going back to the Tennessee Titans in 2020. It was the longest streak in the NFL. Just 11 plays, 65 yards, and more than six minutes off the clock. Opponents hadn’t scored a TD in the first quarter against Buffalo all year, but Indy scored twice. It put the Bills into an early 14-0 hole. It didn’t get much better.

Defense can stop pumping up themselves

The one guy they had to stop on the Colts scored five times in the first 45 minutes. You can say that the Bills turned it over on offense if you want, but the numbers are still embarrassing. Jonathan Taylor is going to be the AFC Offensive Player of the Week. He had 185 yards on the ground and four touchdowns plus 19 yards on three catches for another tuddie. The number-one defense in the NFL has looked like garbage in multiple games this year, so it appears they were feasting on bad competition.

Isaiah McKenzie disaster

It was only a matter of time. The kickoff-return fumble, also called a “krumble,” is one of the most demoralizing plays in football. The Colts scored, then they kick off, and score one play later. It took 13 seconds for Indy to put up 14 points. The Bills elected not to sign last year’s Pro Bowl returner, Andre Roberts, in free agency or in late October when he was available. Marquez Stevenson is eligible to return from injured reserve. McKenzie had ten fumbles in his first two seasons, which is why the Bills added Roberts in the first place back in 2019.

I won’t say “gutless,” but I’m close

Down 17 points with 23:13 left in the game, the Bills had 4th & 5 on the Indianapolis 31. Buffalo didn’t just need to score 17 points, they needed to outscore Indy by more than 17 points down the stretch. It was a time to go for it, despite Tyler Bass’s automatic streak this year. Bass missed the kick to add insult to injury, but you’re down by three scores. Instead, they went for two down 23 instead of on fourth-down earlier...doesn’t make sense. The only reason I won’t use the G-word is because Buffalo didn’t punt after the first drive of the second half.

WYD Mario Addison?

Addison extended an early Colts drive with a low, late hit on Carson Wentz. (A.J. Klein was also called for a pass interference on the play.) Later on the drive, he whiffed on a sack that would have ended the drive. Wentz instead ran for a first down under Addison’s hug, and moved the Colts into field goal range.

AFC South was supposed to be easy

The AFC South was supposed to be simple for the Buffalo Bills. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans have been a mess. The Colts were 1-5 a few weeks ago. Instead, the Bills went 1-3 against the division they were supposed to stack wins against. It’s a disaster in terms of playoff seeding.

Ed Oliver playing well again

I’ve written his name so many times in my takeaways. I already said he was playing his way to the fifth-year option. He’s adding splash plays to go with his every-down plays and he’s doing it with and without Star Lotulelei. Today, with the Colts in the red zone holding a seven-point lead, Oliver got his arm on the third-down pass to force an incompletion and a field goal. He had a third-down sack taken off the board in the third quarter and pressured Wentz on a third-down throwaway with 11 minutes left. He even had a tackle for a loss in garbage time. I needed something, you guys.

Check out the Overreaction Postgame Show with Joe Miller to commiserate with your fellow Bills fans!