The Indianapolis Colts are 6-5 on the season and back in the thick of the AFC playoff race after blowing out the Bills in Buffalo, 41-15. This was a historic day for Indy as they watched running back Jonathan Taylor score a franchise-record five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) in the winning effort. While he was the key cog for the offense, the Colts defense also was able to force a handful of turnovers against Buffalo, who now fall to second place in the AFC East.
Those turnovers were especially critical for the Bills, as the Colts came into this matchup as the No. 1 ranked team in points off turnovers. That ability to capitalize off opponents' miscues was apparent early in the first half as Josh Allen threw an interception on the Bills' opening drive of the afternoon and the Colts responded with an 11-play touchdown drive. Just prior to the half, an Isaiah McKenzie fumble on a kickoff return was recovered by Indy and quickly turned into a Jonathan Taylor touchdown that extended their lead to 17 at the break and really was the back-breaking moment in the game.
This wasn't the sharpest game by Josh Allen, who completed 21 of 35 for 209 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. Part of that was due to the rainy weather in Buffalo, but he also had a couple of poor decisions in the loss. Meanwhile, Carson Wentz completed 11 of 20 for 106 yards and a touchdown. On top of those five touchdowns, Taylor finished his day with 185 yards rushing and caught all three of his targets for 19 yards. He also became the first running back in the NFL to surpass 1,000 yards rushing this season in the midst of this win.
Why the Colts won
Indianapolis was hot right out of the gate, scoring points on all four of their first-half possessions. That's really where they were able to build a foundation for the eventual blowout and was spearheaded by dominating play by Taylor and an opportunistic defense. Taylor found the end zone on the club's opening possession, capping off an 11-play drive that traveled 65 yards. On the ensuing possession by the Indy defense, they picked off Josh Allen at their own 22-yard line and brought it all the way to midfield, setting up the offense for a quick five-play drive that resulted in another Taylor touchdown -- his lone receiving score of the afternoon. That immediately gave Indianapolis a 14-point cushion to work with and allowed them to put together a dominating first half that ultimately gave them a 17-point lead at the break.
Of course, Taylor was a massive piece to this win as he was able to have his way with Buffalo's top-ranked run defense throughout the afternoon en-route to making franchise history. He was critical in the second half as the Colts looked to bleed the clock and continue to pile onto their lead. Over the final two quarters, he totaled 106 yards rushing on 15 carries, which is roughly 7.1 yards per carry.
Why the Bills lost
Buffalo didn't look anything like the team that entered Week 11 first in the NFL in fewest points allowed (15), fewest yards allowed (274.1) and takeaways (24). At home, they proceeded to allow the Colts to amass 370 yards of total offense (264 yards rushing), total 41 points and create zero turnovers in the loss. Not only did Buffalo's defense come out flat against an aggressive Colts ground game, but the offense wasn't able to make much of anything going on that side of the ball either. Josh Allen's early turnover and Isaiah McKenize's fumble before the half both resulted in points for the opposition and that led to Indy going on a 38-7 run to begin the game and effectively put the game out of reach as early as the second quarter. In all, Buffalo allowed 21 points off turnovers in the loss.
This was the back-breaking moment for Buffalo. After responding well with a touchdown drive on their second possession of the game and holding the Colts to a field goal, the Bills were set up to have a two-minute opportunity to cut the Indy lead to as little as a field goal before the break. However, receiver Isaiah McKenzie took a kickoff in the midst of the cold and rainy Buffalo weather and seemingly slipped on the field and hit the ground, which forced the ball loose. The Colts ultimately recovered, returned to to the Buffalo 2-yard line and Taylor was able to rush it in for a touchdown on the very next play. That increased the Indianapolis lead to 24-7 and was effectively the moment of no return for Buffalo.
Play of the game
You can pick out a number of plays from Taylor in this game as he made franchise history, but his lone receiving touchdown of the game was arguably the most impressive. The back had to slow up as Wentz's pass came in around the 10-yard line and in essentially the same instance as he made the catch also evade a would-be tackler. Taylor then juked another Colts defender and dragged in yet another player as he crossed the goal line.
From here, the Colts head back to Indianapolis and await the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, who'll be playing on a short week after facing the Giants on Monday Night Football. Meanwhile, Buffalo will try to pick up the pieces as they go on the road to face the Saints in New Orleans to cap off the three-game Thanksgiving slate on Thursday.