To consistently win in the NFL, you need to be able to score points.
The Buffalo Bills have scored 280 points through nine games this season which is a new club record (surpassing 278 pts. in 1964). The Bills have been especially good at scoring points in the first half of games. The team has outscored their opponents 137-56 in the first half and have gone 18 straight games without trailing at halftime – currently the longest streak in the league.
Since Sean McDermott has been coaching the Bills, he has a record of 35-4 when leading at halftime. His quarterback Josh Allen agrees that scoring early in the game gives the team a better chance to win it.
"Scoring early, one, it puts you ahead of the chains," Allen said. "And there are statistics that show, the first team to usually score has got a better percentage of winning that football game. So, getting off to a hot start is pretty critical."
This season, the Bills have scored at least three points on their opening possession in seven out of their nine games. In the two games where they didn't, the team still ended up winning. Having the ability to score first and be able to have more control of the game is huge for this Bills squad. The Bills currently rank second in points per game (31.1) and first in points allowed (15.0). The players on offense are confident that if they can score early and often that their defense will be able to shut down the opposing team.
The Bills offense wants to be responsible for forcing the other team to try to score more points to catch up with them. It plays right into the hand of the Bills defense who leads the NFL in takeaways (24).
"It's just part of being like a pressure cooker, as far as when you get up to that fast start, it puts pressure on their offense to score," Stefon Diggs said. "And we have that defense that tries to win the turnover ratio and put their offense in bad spots. So as an offense, we're trying to score fast, but not that fast, whereas our defense doesn't get a rest. But as an offense, being explosive and being us. I mean, I feel like we can put up a lot of points, we can score points, we got a lot of playmakers, and we've got a lot of depth."
With the Bills playing a running back with the talent, size, and speed that Jonathan Taylor has, it will be important for the Bills to get an early led to force the Colts to have to throw the ball. The Bills defense has done a good job at stopping the run this season, only allowing 3.8 yards per carry which is ranked third in the NFL. It will be crucial for the Bills defense to get stops on third down and give the offense as many opportunities to score as possible.
For Jordan Poyer, playing physical for all four quarters is what's expected of this defense when going up against this tough Colts team. The Bills and the Colts are the only two teams in the NFL with 20+ takeaways. Poyer leads the team in interceptions (4) and understands that getting takeaways is one of the most important things this defense can do to help the Bills win the game.
"Obviously, you want to come out in a game and start the game fast, whether you're going out there offensively or defensively," Poyer said. "Coming out there defensively, I always want to come out there with the mindset of getting a three and out and trying to flip the field and give our offense good field position for points. That's just our mindset going into the game each and every week, trying to start fast and give our team some momentum."
Throughout the first half of the season, the Bills have complemented each other on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Buffalo has a +145-point differential, which is the highest in the league through 10 weeks. The Bills have done a good job at making teams one-dimensional and taking advantage of that. With a tougher slate of games up ahead, it will be important for this Bills team to continue on that trend, and it starts with scoring early and often.
"I think league-wide that's a good feeling when you're able to put up seven in the first quarter, maybe 14 in the first quarter," Allen said. "What that does to the other team forces – Coach McDermott talks about one-dimensional all the time, trying to force them to be one-dimensional. And then allowing us to do really whatever we want – whether it be running the ball or passing the ball in any situation, and not like we're forced to just throw the ball."
Josh Allen on facing the Colts defense ...
The last time the Bills played the Colts was in the 2020 postseason. The two teams met in the Wild Card round with the Bills winning 27-24. In that game, Josh Allen went 26-35 for 324 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 11 times for 54 yards and one rushing touchdown. Allen remembers how physical this Colts defense plays and knows that ball security is going to be a point of emphasis for the Bills offense.
"Obviously, they're a very talented group," Allen said. "You look at Darius Leonard, I know he had some sort of record, whether be it six or seven straight games with whether it be an interception, forced fumble, or a fumble recovery – he is all over the field when you watch the tape. He's a special player. … Inside, they've got a couple of guys that are very big. Just the run game – DeForest Buckner, he's been a menace all year. Again, we've got to put together a pretty good game plan and just go out there and execute the best that we can."
Jordan Poyer on setting the tone to combat the Colts physical play style
The Colts play a very physical type of game. They like to run the ball, run the clock and play aggressively on defense. With Carson Wentz, Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. running the Colts offense, stopping the big plays will be crucial for the Bills defense. Jordan Poyer knows this game will be a battle.
"It's like going into a fight," Poyer said. "The fight's gonna be physical. You gotta be the one to attack and that's just the way you got to look at it, you got to be the one that sets the tone early. You might get hit but you gotta get back up and continue to throw punches. It's just going to be one of those physical games and we understand that going into the game. It's a good offense and we're good defense, and it's gonna be a fun Sunday."