Buffalo's starting offense was without its starting quarterback, but there wasn't a whole lot different in the results. The Bills scored on two of their first three possessions to take an early 10-0 lead en route to a 20-7 win over the Colts.
"I was pretty happy with how we played in the first half," said head coach Dick Jauron. "I thought J.P. did a nice job of handling the offense, which was very good for us to see."
J.P. Losman was 9-11 for 85 yards on the two scoring drives. The first resulted in a 36-yard Rian Lindell field goal after things stalled just inside the Colts 20-yard line.
The ensuing possession was far more impressive. Backed up on their own seven-yard line following a special teams penalty on the punt return, Buffalo began a 93-yard march to the other end of the field.
Losman scrambled 10 yards for a first down, hit Lee Evans for a pair of first down gains as well as a key third down conversion to Justin Jenkins on 3rd-and-8 at the Colts 19 to set up 1st-and-goal.
Fred Jackson and rookie Xavier Omon provided effective rushing with a combined nine carries for 36 yards including Omon's one-yard plunge on a second-and-goal for a 10-0 lead.
"It was a great feeling," said Omon of his first NFL touchdown. "I'm just trying to make the best of my opportunities."
The 18-play drive covered 93 yards and took a rarely seen 10 minutes off the game clock.
But what Losman was most impressed with was the offense's ability to overcome an early holding call on the field goal drive and execute the lengthy 18-play possession.
"We weren't perfect on every play but we were able to bounce back," said Losman. "The team showed signs of success even when things are not perfect. We were still able to put together long drives like we did and that's a good thing to see."
Pass protection was also pretty consistent allowing Losman enough time to survey the field.
"They had their hands full with the Colts defensive line – they have their star back in Dwight Freeney," said Losman. "The line did a very good job of protecting all during the first half.
The only problem surfaced when Langston Walker left the game midway through the second quarter with a left forearm injury. X-rays taken at halftime were negative. Head coach Dick Jauron called it a bruised forearm.
A well rested Buffalo defense also had a hand in the result as Joseph Addai coughed up the football on a non-contact running play right at the line of scrimmage. Terrence McGee promptly scooped it up and ran 68 yards to pay dirt for a 17-0 lead with under two minutes to play in the first half.
"I saw when he fumbled it, but I didn't think it was going to keep going lateral out there, so I could just pick it up and go," said McGee. "It felt good. A lot of the guys were on me, they said I almost got caught by the quarterback. It felt good to score and get the team up like it did."
Buffalo's defense got off to a good start as Chris Kelsay plowed over Ryan Diem on a bull rush to sack Jared Lorenzen on the Colts first possession. It ultimately led to a three-and-out by Indianapolis as Buffalo held Indianapolis' first team offense scoreless in the first half.
"That is big for our defense, regardless of who they are playing or who they are not playing," said Kelsay. "Anytime you can shut a team out in the NFL it is good."
"Even though, the big man, Peyton Manning isn't out there it feels good going against the guys they do have, (Joseph) Addai, (Marvin) Harrison, (Reggie) Wayne and being able to contain them in the half with zero points feels good," said McGee.
The Colts didn't get on the scoreboard until the latter stages of the third quarter when Quinn Gray aired out a 2nd-and-4 play from his own six-yard line to find Devin Aromashodu, who slipped behind Leodis McKelvin for a 94-yard catch and run to make it 17-7 Buffalo.
Buffalo's defense was around the football a lot throughout the game tallying four interceptions in addition to McGee's fumble return. With Indianapolis driving deep into Bills territory midway through the third quarter, Ashton Youboty leapt to intercept a third down pass attempt from Gray to Dallas Clark in the end zone.
Early in the fourth quarter Gray was intercepted a second time as a pass intended for Aromashodu was tipped by Marcus Buggs and intercepted on a diving effort by Keith Ellison at the Colts 41-yard line.
The Ellison turnover led to a Bills field goal drive as Bruce Hall and Dwayne Wright did most of the work on the possession to get Lindell close enough to put a 44-yard attempt through the uprights.
Still another interception was made when Pierre Garcon could only get a fingertip on a throw from Gray, tipping the ball in the air allowing John Wendling to run under it for Buffalo's fourth takeaway of the game and second in the red zone.
And the capper came with just under three minutes remaining when Reggie Corner slipped in front of his receiver and leapt high in the air to pull down the final interception of the night.
Indianapolis backup quarterback Jim Sorgi was held out of the lineup due to a knee injury suffered in the team's previous preseason contest.
Buffalo closes out the preseason at home this Thursday when the Bills host the Detroit Lions for a 6:30 pm kickoff.