BUFFALO – After months of intrigue, the Colts start to the 2015 season certainly did not go according to plan on Sunday afternoon.
From poor field position, to untimely penalties and ultimately, costly turnovers, the Colts could not dig themselves out of a multi-score deficit on the road, falling to the Bills, 27-14
"Disappointed, obviously," Chuck Pagano said after the loss. "We knew it was going to be a tough venue, tough opener. It's hard to win a game when you play in an environment like that. Credit the Bills. They played excellent football (Sunday). They made the plays and we didn't make the plays.
"We will go back, look at the tape, and make the corrections. It's one game. This will not define our football team. It will not define us."
Pagano pointed specifically to early opportunities the Colts squandered.
Starting the game on offense, the Colts pushed the ball to midfield and appeared to reach the Bills red zone following a 30-yard completion to Dwayne Allen.
However, a holding penalty on Khaled Holmes forced the Colts well behind their chains, a recipe for little to no success against a Rex Ryan defense.
The offense had another chance late in the first quarter to get an early lead. After T.Y. Hilton and Andrew Luck hooked up for a couple of early completions, the Pro Bowl duo got a bit too greedy.
Buffalo's rookie cornerback Ronald Darby picked off a deep ball intended for Hilton, near the Bills red zone. The Bills would score on the ensuing possession, taking a 7-0 lead.
The backbreaker for the Colts came in a late second quarter/early third quarter stretch.
Following an Adam Vinatieri miss from 52 yards out, the Bills looked to be settling for a late half field goal, when running back Karlos Williams ran the ball towards the middle of the field.
All of a sudden, Williams bounced the run to the outside and scampered 26 yards for a touchdown, with just 20 seconds left in the half.
The Bills halftime lead jumped to 17-0 and it would turn to 24-0 thanks to a touchdown drive to start the third quarter.
From there, it was too steep of a climb for the visitors.
"It just seemed like we never could put two good things in a row," Andre Johnson, who had four catches for 24 yards, said after the defeat.
"We had some negative things happen, that were caused by us. Those are things you can't have. It came back to bite us."
Photos from the first regular game of the 2015 season.
In his first NFL start, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor was 14-of-19 for 195 yards and kept several plays alive with his legs.
The Colts did hold Bills running back LeSean McCoy to just 41 rushing yards on 17 carries, but Indianapolis struggled to establish any ground game of its own.
Luck was sacked twice (hit five times) and finished the 2015 season opener 26-of-43 for 243 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Drive starts and penalties in the first-half contributed to the Colts trailing by three scores at halftime.
In the first half on Sunday, the Colts six drives started at the following yard lines: 20, 9, 8, 4, 25 and 20.
The Bills had their five offensive possessions begin from the 27-42 yards lines.
The average drive start for the entire game was the 19-yard line for the Colts, and the 35-yard line for the Bills.
Field position was a stat the Colts thoroughly dominated for nearly all of last season. On Sunday, it was severely swayed in the opposite direction.
As the rain continued to come down in Buffalo on Sunday, and a few minutes after the final gun had sounded, Colts Owner Jim Irsay stood outside the visiting locker room.
Irsay had just exited his team's locker room following the season-opening loss and tired to offer some perspective about where the Colts must go from here.
"It's tough to lose your first game and start 0-1, but we went through it last year. We started 0-2, which is really a hole," Irsay said. "All we can do is re-group and get ready to play the Jets (next) Monday night.
"Big disappointment (Sunday). Everything leads up to the first game. There's a lot of anticipation for the season to begin and when it ends up this way, it's a tough loss. Very tough to take, but you have nothing but to bounce back. The guys in this locker room have the character to do that."