INDIANAPOLIS -- The grand opening of Lucas Oil Stadium turned into a big dud for the Indianapolis Colts Sunday night.
At least, they'll have another chance to christen their new stadium properly in two weeks when the games really count.
"It was a rather disappointing evening for us," coach Tony Dungy said. "We wanted to play much better to open up the stadium, but it didn't happen. They outplayed us tonight."
It certainly didn't go according to the script.
Indy's plan called for the retractable roof and the sliding window behind the north end zone to open about 20 minutes before kickoff, sending the crowd of more than 63,000 into a frenzy. The roof and window were both closed in the third quarter.
And most of the 63,000-plus fans expected the Colts to simply transplant their recent success from the RCA Dome across the street to the new stadium.
Instead, the Bills crashed the party.
Buffalo allowed just nine first downs, held the ball for more than 42 minutes and ran nearly twice as many plays (71 to 39) as the Colts, who dropped to 3-15 in preseason games since Sept. 2004.
The most troubling part for Indy was all the mistakes.
Quinn Gray threw four interceptions and Pro Bowl running back Joseph Addai fumbled at the Bills' 32 to kill the only productive Colts' drive of the first half. McGee scooped it up and sprinted 68 yards for the score to make it 17-0 with 1:43 left in the half.
It was that kind of day.
"Offensively, we didn't have a lot of rhythm, but we didn't have the ball a lot," Dungy said. "In the second half, we had a chance to get back in it, but the turnovers really took the wind out of our sails."
So did the Bills' strategy of playing keepaway.
J.P. Losman, a former first-round pick and the Bills' ex-starter, was efficient in replacing Trent Edwards (bruised knee). Losman finished 13-of-19 for 108 yards before hurting the thumb on his throwing hand while making a handoff on Omon's 1-yard TD run. Coach Dick Jauron said Losman's injury was nothing serious.
It was exactly the kind of performance the Bills wanted to see.
"He did a terrific job," Jauron said of Losman. "He handled the information, we got in and out. It was a noisy game, and it could have been noisier but we got off to that good start."
Not everything went perfectly, though.
The Bills lost left tackle Langston Walker with a badly bruised left forearm early in the second quarter. If Walker misses any time, it would be a major loss because Walker is filling in for Pro Bowler Jason Peters, who is holding out in a contract dispute.
Indianapolis lost Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday in the third quarter and kick returner T.J. Rushing in the first quarter with injured right knees. Both are expected to have MRIs on Monday.
The larger problem Sunday night was the absence of Indy's top two quarterbacks, Peyton Manning and Jim Sorgi. Manning remains on the physically unable to perform list after having surgery to remove an infected bursa sac in his left leg in mid-July. Sorgi missed the game with a gimpy knee, which he initially hurt last weekend in Atlanta.
That meant Jared Lorenzen and Gray, who were signed July 24, played the entire game and both struggled.
Lorenzen, sacked on Indy's first offensive play, finished 7-of-11 for 52 yards. Gray was 8-of-16 for 158 yards - 94 yards coming on a touchdown pass to Devin Aromashodu -- with four interceptions.
"The touchdown was a plus, but it could have been a whole lot better," Gray said. "We've got to get back to protecting the ball like the Colts normally do."
Otherwise, things could look a whole lot worse inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I told the team after the game that this was kind of a normal NFL game," Jauron said. "If you could keep from turning the ball over and can win the turnover battle, you'll have a real good chance of winning the game. That's what happened."
|The Colts are picked off four times and lose one fumble in their grand opening of Lucas Oil Stadium. (AP)|
|Buffalo (2-1-0) «||3||14||0||3||20|
BUF - Pass: J. Losman (13-19, 108), Rec: L. Evans (5-44)|
IND - Pass: Q. Gray (8-16, 158), Rec: D. Aromashodu (1-94)
|FG||Rian Lindell 36 Yd, 2:31. Drive: 13 plays, 38 yards in 7:24.|
|TD||Xavier Omon, 1 Yd run (Rian Lindell kick is good), 5:00. Drive: 18 plays, 93 yards in 10:00.|
|TD||Terrence McGee, 68 Yd fumble return (Rian Lindell kick is good), 1:43.|
|TD||Devin Aromashodu, 94 Yd pass from Quinn Gray (Adam Crossett kick is good), 2:54. Drive: 2 plays, 94 yards in 0:49.|
|FG||Rian Lindell 44 Yd, 9:19. Drive: 7 plays, 15 yards in 4:33.|
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