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Game Recap

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Bills 23, Colts 19 | Game recap, highlights and stats to know


Football is back in Buffalo as the Bills won their preseason home opener 23-19 against the Indianapolis Colts Saturday afternoon.

Quarterback Matt Barkley led the offense with 172 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. Barkley only had one incompletion across 15 attempts.

Inactives included quarterback Josh Allen and receiver Stefon Diggs.

The defense started the game with a bang. Cornerback Dane Jackson intercepted a pass from rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson and returned it 20 yards to the Colts' 13-yard line. Cornerback Siran Neal blitzed Richardson and created pressure on the outside to force the errant pass.

The offense capitalized on the turnover, running just three plays before James Cook took a handoff and ran for an 8-yard touchdown. Cook easily beat the Colts defenders to the outside and ran untouched into the end zone.

Damar Hamlin received a loud ovation when he and linebacker Tyrel Dodson tackled running back Evan Hull on fourth-and-1 to give the offense the ball and stop a driving Colts offense. Saturday marked Hamlin's first time participating in a game since suffering cardiac arrest in January.

The defense struggled to contain the run during the Colts' last drive of the first half and allowed Indianapolis to drive 88 yards for a touchdown to end the half.

The offense had a slow start to the second half as Allen threw an interception that was returned for a 52-yard touchdown. The pass was intended for Tyrell Shavers.

The Bills retook the lead after Matt Barkley led the offense on an 83-yard scoring drive that ended in a 22-yard pass to Shavers. Shavers created separation from the Colts' secondary and Barkley floated a deep ball to the end zone which Shavers caught in stride.

Barkley shined in the second half, throwing for 153 yards on 12/13 passing, adding 2 touchdown passes.

The Bills executed kickoff and punt coverages effectively, forcing the Colts to start four of their eight drives from within the 20-yard line. Sam Martin's first punt of the game went 46 yards to the Colts' 7-yard line.

Buffalo Bills vs Indianapolis Colts, preseason, August 12, 2023 at Highmark Stadium.

Key Stats and Facts:

  • Saturday's win marked the third time since 2018 that the Bills have defeated the Colts in the preseason.
  • Latavius Murray's 39 all-purpose yards brought his career preseason total to 931. He also has scored 6 touchdowns in the preseason.
  • Barkley's two touchdown passes were the eighth and ninth of his career in the preseason. The 32-year-old played every offensive snap of the second half except for the opening drive.
  • Receiver Andy Isabella secured the Bills' longest reception, taking a short pass 30 yards and using his speed to beat the linebacker guarding him. Isabella ran a blistering 4.31 40-yard dash at the 2019 NFL Combine.
  • Rookie linebacker Dorian Williams led the defense with 7 total sacks. In his last season at Tulane, Williams had 131 total tackles, 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions.
  • Tyler Bass made his only field goal attempt but missed one of his three extra point attempts. Bass only missed four field goals and two extra point attempts last season.
  • The Bills defense has intercepted a Colts quarterback in each of their previous three preseason matchups.
  • Running back Darrynton Evans returned a kickoff 39 yards in the fourth quarter. The former Appalachian State Mountaineer returned scored three touchdowns off kickoffs in his three-year college career.

Check out the best photos from the preseason opener at Highmark Stadium. This gallery is presented by Gabe's Collision.


11:38 1Q | BUF 7 IND 0 | James Cook run short left for 8 yards, TOUCHDOWN

9:34 2Q | BUF 10 IND 0 | Tyler Bass 40-yard field goal is GOOD

0:03 2Q | BUF 10 IND 7 | Jake Funk right guard for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN

12:30 3Q | BUF 10 IND 13 | Darius Rush returns Kyle Allen interception for 52 yards, TOUCHDOWN

6:11 3Q | BUF 17 IND 13 | Matt Barkley deep pass to Tyrell Shavers for 22 yards, TOUCHDOWN

7:26 4Q | BUF 23 IND 13 | Matt Barkley shot pass to Dezmon Patmon for 13 yards, TOUCHDOWN

4:07 4Q | BUF 23 IND 19 | Jason Huntley up the middle for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN

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