INDIANAPOLIS – ROOKIES PUT TOGETHER STRONG INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES – On a day when turnovers plagued the Colts offense, the unit did get some production from many of its rookie players.
Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton led the group with his third 100-yard receiving game of the season.
Hilton's six catches for 100 yards included a pair of scores (14 and 43 yards), and he became the first Colts receiver to record multiple touchdowns in a game this year.
Fellow rookie wide receiver LaVon Brazill had two catches for 46 yards. It was the the most productive game Brazill has had this season in the offense. Brazill also had two receptions against Miami on November 4.
With Donnie Avery leaving the game with a concussion, the onus in the receiving department fell on the shoulders of numerous younger players.
Tight end Dwayne Allen caught six passes for 69 yards, and that was his second-best receiving performance on the season. Allen had six receptions for 75 yards against Miami.
Allen took the loss as any player should and knows in order for his team to continue its drive toward the playoffs, it must evaluate this one before moving on to Buffalo.
"We are not going to forget it and coming into this game, we knew who the Patriots are and how good they are. We wanted to use this as a measuring stick and in the first half we said to ourselves we are able to compete with a championship contending team," said Allen. "The best thing about that is that we have six weeks to get better and prove we are a playoff team."
Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne fell in line with the same message that Allen has in regard to wanting his teammates to remember this sour taste.
"Whenever you get taken behind the woodshed it's kind of hard to forget," Wayne said. "Hopefully, we take care of business and make sure we come back in this stadium."
Despite the loss, Wayne added another notch in a storied career. Wayne had seven catches on Sunday, giving him 58 straight games with at least three receptions, tying Cris Carter's NFL record.
In an offense covered with young skill position players, it is the veteran presence of Wayne that did not dwell on individual accolades. Instead, he focused on the mistakes that led to the Colts' defeat.
"Going up against a team like this you can't turn the ball over, especially against a good team like New England," Wayne said.
"I've been here before, I know what you have to be able to do to win games here against this team. The performance we had today was not the way to do it."
RESILIENT COLTS HOPE TO CONTINUE TREND OF BOUNCING BACK –The Colts have done it before, three times to be exact, and the focus this week once again will be on the ability to bounce back from a loss.
In the three prior losses the Colts have had this season, each time they have earned a victory the following week at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians looked at some of the positives the Colts had on Sunday, including the team scoring on its first two offensive possessions for only the second time this season.
"I thought we played a good half of football," Arians said. "A couple plays that cost us 21 points – 21 points was the difference in the game, we gave them that 21 points.
"You go back to looking at film tomorrow, correct the mistakes, wash it out as one game. We are 6-4 and we are still in it, so you learn from it and you come right back next week. Big game at home, this just made it bigger."
The Buffalo Bills (4-6) will head to Indianapolis for a 1 p.m. kickoff on Sunday. While the Colts still find themselves in the fifth slot in the AFC, the Bills are coming off a Thursday night victory over Miami, 19-14, and are looking to get into the playoff picture.
Although the sting of Sunday's loss for the Colts was evident, the players realize it is a small percentage of a four-month NFL season.
"It is one game in a long season, and it is obviously not what we wanted," safety Tom Zbikowski said. "All things aside, it still is only one game in a 16-game season, and we have to make sure we move forward. You always have work to do and even after a win, you have work to do. We will come back stronger than ever."
As a 20-year NFL veteran, Arians knows that games like this occur each and every season for teams.
The message to his players after the game was simple.
"You better remember it. You better (darn) remember it. Because you hope to be back here and you don't want to forget it," Arians said of the loss.
"You don't throw things away in this business, you learn from them. We will watch this tape real hard, and we will get better for it."