The Indianapolis Colts came, saw, and conquered the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, winning 41-15 in a thrashing for the ages. Somehow, the game wasn’t even as close as the score would indicate, as the Colts just bullied the Bills from start to finish.
Of the Colts’ key players, really only one of them performed in an above-average way. The trouble for Buffalo was that he had a performance for the ages.
Here’s how Indianapolis’ players to watch fared this week.
QB Carson Wentz
A co-worker stopped me on the way in this morning and said to me, “You were right, Buffalo only beats teams with bad quarterbacks.” Aside from me not really remembering ever having said that, Sunday’s game wasn’t exactly an example of a good quarterback doing anything against the Bills. Wentz completed just 11 of 20 passes on the afternoon, throwing for 106 yards and a touchdown on the day. He also broke free for an 18-yard scramble when Mario Addison’s attempt at a bear hug went awry. Wentz didn’t have to do much thanks to the next player on the list.
RB Jonathan Taylor
The Colts’ soon-to-be All-Pro running back was unreal on Sunday, as he bullied through Buffalo defenders all afternoon. He carried the ball 32 times and gained 185 yards rushing, adding three catches and 19 yards receiving. Taylor scored five touchdowns, a franchise record. That’s the most touchdowns any opponent has scored on the Bills in any game in franchise history. It’s also nearly as many touchdowns as all three of Buffalo’s running backs have scored this season. Devin Singletary, Zack Moss, and Matt Breida have combined for nine touchdowns, four of which came two Sundays ago against the New York Jets. So, apart from that game, Taylor literally scored as many times on Sunday as Buffalo’s three-headed—um, what’s the opposite of a monster?—scored in the team’s other nine contests. Woof.
WR Michael Pittman Jr.
Given the success of the Colts’ rushing attack, they never really had to throw the ball. As a result, Pittman Jr. did little through the air. He was targeted just five times, and he made two catches for 23 yards. That’s a far cry from his outstanding game in the Wild Card Playoffs last year, but that game featured a different set of circumstances and much better weather.
DT DeForest Buckner
The All-Pro defensive tackle didn’t destroy the game plan as I thought he would, but he still was able to knife into the backfield on more than one occasion. Buckner managed only one tackle, but he was constantly doubled with Mitch Morse and either Ike Boettger or Cody Ford. That left less help for other players, which meant that edge rushers like Kwity Paye were able to go to work on Daryl Williams. Once the Bills were down big, too, any fake threat of the run was gone, so the Colts could pin their ears back and go after Josh Allen.
LB Darius Leonard
The linebacker was nursing hand and ankle injuries coming into the game, but he showed no ill effects of those injuries on Sunday. Leonard was solid in coverage and stout against the run, and he was able to make five tackles on the afternoon. When a defense has its top interior players, it certainly helps to keep everyone in the right spot and on track, and the Colts were able to use those strong inside building-blocks to pummel the Bills into submission on Sunday.