What a week for the Indianapolis Colts, who went over the .500 mark for the first time this year after a 41-15 blowout victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Colts are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winning five of their last six after a 1-3 start. Indianapolis has the look of a playoff team, even if the Colts are not among the seven teams in the AFC playoffs after 11 weeks.
This week's "Hard Knocks'' showcased the Colts preparation for the showdown against the Bills, and all the factors that led to the convincing victory. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and head coach Frank Reich were featured on Episode 2, two of the easy winners from a big week in Indianapolis.
Winner: Frank Reich
Reich coming back to Buffalo is more emotional for him than he makes it out to be. The emotion on Reich's face after the Colts blow out the Bills put a lot of emotion on Reich's face after his team played well for all 60 minutes. Reich even received the game ball for how his team performed.
"There's no other group of men I'd rather be with. This is a special group of men," Reich said. "We've been saying it all year, and it's just starting to come together."
Reich admitted he's come back to Buffalo enough as a player and coach that the emotions leading up to the game are nearly gone, but beating the team he became a folk hero with -- and the one that knocked the Colts out of the playoffs last year -- was special for him.
The Colts made their own memories in Buffalo, just like Reich did when he played for the Bills. Buffalo fans still cheer for Reich when he returns.
Winner: DeForest Buckner
Buckner was the player profiled by HBO this week. The Colts defensive tackle had the opportunity to meet Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith -- who was having dinner with Reich the night before the game. Smith and Reich were teammates on the Bills in their heyday when they were winning four consecutive conference championships.
Both Reich and Smith were sitting with special teams ace Steve Tasker (who Buckner apparently didn't know) when Buckner arrived at the table. The Colts Pro Bowl defensive tackle was honored to meet Smith, who had a huge compliment for him after the exchange.
"He's a good one," Smith says to Reich.
"That guy right there, he's the real deal," Reich responds back to Smith. "In every way."
Winner: Grover Stewart
Fans may want to ask Stewart for an invite to watch "Thursday Night Football" next week. The Colts defensive tackle makes some good barbeque chicken, formulated with a sauce that includes a lot of Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce, butter, and a dash of soda. Stewart may be one of the few people to season his chicken in his sink -- or to get "all the seasoning on it."
"I just put whatever in it to make it taste good," Stewart said. The reviews from the Colts defense showcased how good Stewart's chicken was.
Winner: Jonathan Taylor
Taylor's career day (five touchdowns) showcased how special Sunday's win was for Reich, a man doesn't show a lot of emotion. Colts owner Jim Irsay only popped in once this episode, congratulating Taylor on his franchise record. Not only did Taylor tie Eric Dickerson and Joseph Addai (four) for the most rushing touchdowns in a single game in team history, he's the first player in Colts franchise history to score five touchdowns in a game.
Taylor received a surprise message from a Colts legend immediately after the win.
"I texted Edgerrin (former Colts and Hall of Fame running back Edgerrin James) during the game," Irsay said. "He's a big fan of yours."
Taylor's big day may have been started when he saw Marshawn Lynch coming out of the tunnel in pregame. Taylor easily spotted the former Bills and Seahawks running back and said to him he had "much respect." Lynch replied "Go do your s---."
Easy to see how that would propel Taylor to have a huge afternoon.