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Colts/Bills Notebook: Vontae Davis Locks Up Sammy Watkins, Colts Can't Establish Frank Gore

Intro: In the Colts/Bills Week One notebook, we take a look at the Colts need to establish Frank Gore, Vontae Davis’ impressive afternoon and rookie Tyler Varga returning to a stadium he knows very well.


BUFFALO – It was a unique defensive wrinkle that began being talked about back at Training Camp in Anderson.

Vontae Davis' shadow-like afternoon was a bright spot from Sunday's 27-14 loss in Buffalo.

Also, why weren't the Colts able to get Frank Gore more involved on Sunday?

Here's a notebook look from the Colts Week One loss to the Buffalo Bills:

Colts Can't Establish Frank Gore

When Andrew Luck surveyed the line of scrimmage on Sunday, what he frequently saw were numbers not in the favor of Frank Gore.

A Rex Ryan defense is known for having exotic looks near the line of scrimmage and that was once again the case on Sunday.

With that, Gore was limited to just eight carries, a number that definitely didn't reach the mark in the game plan.

"We had more runs called but they were loading the box," Pagano said after the 27-14 loss to the Bills. "But we have to still be able to run the football and stay more balanced."

Gore had three carries on the Colts opening drive, but didn't touch the ball again until the 7:42 mark of the second quarter.

Establishing Gore will be a focus for the Colts heading into their home opener, especially if T.Y. Hilton does indeed miss some time.

"Even though they put the eighth guy in the box, you're getting some different looks and that gets you out of the run game," Pagano said of the limited action for Gore.

"We've still got to be able to run it more. We're not going to survive by the pass only. I think everybody understands that. We did rip off a few good runs, but we've got to do better."**

Photos from the first regular game of the 2015 season.

Vontae Davis Eliminates Sammy Watkins**

The shadow Vontae Davis was casting on Sunday was quite large.

Skies might have been overcast on Sunday afternoon in Buffalo, but Davis' shadow of Sammy Watkins engulfed the Bills No. 4 overall pick from last season.

After three seasons of primarily playing on one side of the field within the Colts defense, Davis had his first taste of following around one specific wide receiver on Sunday.

He clearly was up for the challenge as Watkins ended Sunday with no receptions on just three targets.

Last season, Watkins averaged eight targets and four catches per game.

Sunday's performance from Davis might have been in a different role but was reminiscent of the Pro Bowl season he put together a year ago.

Tyler Varga Makes NFL Debut Near Hometown

Growing up less than two hours from Ralph Wilson Stadium, Tyler Varga might have had more familiarity than any Colt with those inside of the Bills Stadium on Sunday.

Varga, an undrafted free agent out of Yale, was the Colts starting kick returner on Sunday and caught one ball for 18 yards in his NFL debut.

He did it in front of several Varga supporters.

"There were a lot of people here from my home town--London, Ontario, where I played my first year of college football, friends from Ontario, some of my friends from Yale were here," Varga said following his first professional football game.

"I'm blessed to have all the support that I do and I know a lot of people that couldn't make it were watching it on TV and got a lot of well-wishes via text messages and social media and all that."

Varga made a definite impression on the Colts coaching staff during the team's third preseason game in St. Louis.

He eventually earned a roster spot and made his NFL debut in a stadium he's used to being a spectator at.

"Obviously, we didn't come out on the winning end today, so that's a downer. But it was cool to be back in Ralph Wilson Stadium, this time as a player," Varga said.

Colts/Bills Snap Counts

  • The wide receiver snaps on Sunday went as followed: Andre Johnson (63-of-77), Donte Moncrief (57), T.Y. Hilton (52, left late in the third quarter with a knee injury), Phillip Dorsett (17, didn't see his first action until Hilton's injury) and Griff Whalen (8).
  • The tight end snaps were led by Dwayne Allen with 52. Coby Fleener played 37 snaps and Jack Doyle logged 15.
  • At running back, Frank Gore played 33 of 77 snaps (battled calf cramps in the second half). Rookies Tyler Varga (23) and Josh Robinson (21) spelled Gore.
  • Reserve lineman Joe Reitz played 8 snaps as an extra tackle.
  • Safety Mike Adams and outside linebacker Erik Walden played all 59 defensive snaps.
  • The starting defensive line had their reps as followed: Kendall Langford (53 snaps), Henry Anderson (50) snaps) and David Parry (33).
  • Outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome played 16 of the 59 defensive snaps.
  • Rookie safety Clayton Geathers was used on 11 defensive snaps.
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