INDIANAPOLIS – First-year coordinator Pep Hamilton put the Colts' new offense on display Sunday and Indianapolis' top two quarterbacks operated it adeptly in the team's preseason opener at Lucas Oil Stadium.
However, Buffalo's Marquise Goodwin provided the day's biggest play in front of a sun-bathed crowd that enjoyed open-roof conditions at the stadium. Goodwin's 107-yard kickoff return in the second quarter tied the game, and the Bills used his electrifying touchdown to catapult them to a 44-20 victory.
“What a wonderful ball to T.Y.,” Luck said after the game when asked about Hasselbeck's contributions. “You can tell: (Hasselbeck) knows football. He knows situations. He knows how to move the ball. He's been a great addition.”
As for Luck's own performance, it was more difficult to assess in light of the limited playing time.
“I think you try to take a critical eye to when you were in the game,” Luck said. “I obviously wish we could have scored some points and had a little longer drive, but I definitely think there's a lot to take away from this.”
The huge kickoff return by Goodwin seemed to lift the Bills in all phases of the game, and their defense made it especially hard on Harnish and the other Indy reserves.
“You're not going to win any football games, or give yourself a chance to win any football games, by giving up big plays on special teams,” Colts Coach Chuck Pagano said.
Buffalo rookie quarterback EJ Manuel produced a strong first half, hitting 16-of-21 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown in the final seconds of the second quarter. The TD, a 17-yarder to Dorin Dickerson, came at the end of a drive on which Manuel went 9-for-9 for 68 yards. It provided his club with a seven-point lead at halftime.
The Colts defense tried to keep the game interesting late when
But the Bills put the game away with two more touchdowns, one from the offense and one from the defense. The one-sided nature of the final score left the Colts with plenty to work on when they return for the final week of training camp at Anderson University. The Bills had 27 first downs to the Colts' 14 and a possession time advantage of 34:11 to 25:49.
“That's not what we came in here to do today, obviously,” Pagano said. “Like I told the guys, it's never as bad as you think it is and it's never as good as you think it is. Somewhere in between is where reality lies.”
FIRST QUARTER (5:17 remaining)
The Colts jumped on the scoreboard first with a 25-yard field goal by
FIRST QUARTER (1:39 remaining)
The Bills tied it up with a 24-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins. The big play in a 46-yard Buffalo drive was a 24-yard scramble by quarterback EJ Manuel. The Colts staged nice goal-line stand inside the 8-yard line, forcing the Bills' field goal. Colts 3, Bills 3.
FIRST QUARTER (0:00 remaining)
Hasselbeck went to work to lead the Colts' first touchdown drive. He hit
SECOND QUARTER (11:05 remaining)
The Buffalo defense set the stage for the Bills' next drive. Manny Lawson deflected a Hasselbeck pass and Crezdon Butler intercepted at the Indy 29. A pair of passes by Manuel moved Buffalo to the 13, but the Colts defense stiffened again and forced another field goal, this one from 23 yards by Hopkins. Colts 10, Bills 6.
SECOND QUARTER (7:42 remaining)
With Chandler Harnish at quarterback, the Colts drove to the Buffalo 26 before their push stalled. Harnish turned in a 6-yard scramble for one first down and completed an 11-yard pass to
SECOND QUARTER (7:29 remaining)
Marquise Goodwin received Indy's kickoff seven yards deep in the end zone and set sail. Goodwin flew past the Colts' coverage, avoiding tacklers by moving from right to left on the field and then zooming to the 107-yard return virtually untouched. Hopkins added the extra point. Colts 13, Bills 13.
SECOND QUARTER (14 seconds remaining)
The rookie Manuel looked like a savvy veteran as he led the Bills on a 92-yard drive just before halftime. The young quarterback completed all nine of his passes for 68 yards, including a 17-yarder to Dorin Dickerson for the touchdown. Hopkins hit the extra point. Bills 20, Colts 13.
THIRD QUARTER (10:33 remaining)
Jeff Tuel took over Buffalo's quarterbacking duties and led the Bills on an 80-yard touchdown drive. Tuel connected with Marcus Easley for a 29-yard completion for the drive's big play. The TD pass went six yards to Da'Rick Rogers. Rian Lindell booted the extra point. Bills 27, Colts 13.
THIRD QUARTER (4:39 remaining)
Tuel led the Bills on another scoring push, this one resulting in a 30-yard field goal by Lindell. The 11-play, 68-yard drive got its biggest lift when Tuel hit Marcus Easley with an 18-yard pass, and a roughing-the-passer penalty against the Colts tacked on another 15 yards. Bills 30, Colts 13.
FOURTH QUARTER (13:46)
The Colts defense got into the big-play act when Caesar Rayford slammed into Tuel as the latter attempted a pass. The ball popped loose and Daxton Swanson took the fumble 72 yards for a touchdown.
FOURTH QUARTER (5:18 remaining)
Tuel added to the Buffalo lead when he completed a 5-yard pass to Brandon Kaufman for a touchdown. Lindell added the extra point. Bills 37, Colts 20.
FOURTH QUARTER (5:01 remaining)
Buffalo's Jumal Rolle intercepted a Harnish pass and returned it 17 yards for the Bills TD. Lindell booted the extra point. Bills 44, Colts 20.