OPINION: Arrow Up/Arrow Down: Colts at Bills

The Bills get punished on the ground courtesy of Jonathan Taylor

Just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in their 41-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Highmark Stadium.

For the third time in five games, we’ll have to start with the Arrows Down.

Photo credit Rich Barnes - USA TODAY Sports


Run defense

We all knew the Colts have a very good run game and fantastic running back in Jonathan Taylor.

However, they made it look easy against the Bills, with Taylor running for 185 yards - averaging 5.8 yards per-carry - and scoring four touchdowns on the ground. Taylor also added 19 yards receiving and another touchdown in the air.

As a team, the Colts ran the ball 46 times for a whopping 264 yards, the most given up by the Bills since 2018.


Four turnovers - three interceptions and a fumble lost. A horrible job of taking care of the football by the Bills offense.

Zero takeaways

On top of the four turnovers given up, the Bills did not take the ball away from the Colts once. They lost the turnover battle 4-0.

An absolute recipe for disaster.

Josh Allen

It wasn’t a good day for the Bills quarterback.

Allen made some really nice throws, at times, but overall was too erratic. At one point, he ended up throwing seven-straight incomplete passes.

In the end, Allen finished going 21-of-35 (60%) for 209 yards, a pair of touchdowns, a costly interception early in the game, and another pick later.

Dropped passes

It certainly wasn’t all on Allen on Sunday. He would’ve had some better numbers if not for a few dropped passes from his receivers.

Missed tackles

It started from the first series of the game and continued throughout the afternoon.

Bills defenders were often in the right place to bring Taylor down, but somehow didn’t. They also had a clear sack on Carson Wentz on a 3rd-and-10 that he slipped though and scrambled for an 18-yard gain.


Here we go again with penalties being an issue for the Bills. It’s happened way too many times this season.

Penalties taken by the Bills on Sunday especially they cost, including several critical calls that negated third down stops and a first down run on offense.

The Bills were called for seven penalties on the day for 56 yards overall.

First half/beginning of second half sequence:

1.) Isaiah McKenzie’s fumble
2.) Tyler Bass’ miss
3.) Three-and-out

As poorly as it seemed to have been going, it was still a 14-point game when the Bills were receiving the football with just over two minutes left in the first half. However, McKenzie slipped on the wet turf and fumbled the ball after he hit the ground, untouched.

The Colts were set up beautifully and eventually scored a touchdown. Suddenly it was 24-7.

On the ensuing drive, the Bills advanced the football to the Colts' 38-yard line and stopped the clock with three seconds left to give Bass a chance at a 57-yard field goal. He banged it off the right upright and it fell no good.

Instead of 17-10 or even 17-14, the Bills trailed 24-7 at halftime.

Then they got the ball to start the second half and went three-and-out. It was a huge, and bad, less than three-minute sequence.

Lack of Matt Breida's usage

After a solid and noteworthy performance by running back Matt Breida last week against the New York Jets, he was active again, but for some reason did not even get on the field until the second half. And when he did, he was good once again.

Why did it take so long?

Third down defense

The Colts went 8-for-12 on third down. That’s a big 66.7% against for the Bills defense, which came into the game tops in the league, giving up just a 29.46% conversion rate. It was a big reason they also lost the time of possession battle by more than 15 minutes (37:47 to 22:13).

4th-and-5 field attempt goal

With 8:18 left in the third quarter, his team trailing 24-7, and faced with a 4th-and-5 from the Colts' 31-yard line, Bills head coach Sean McDermott elected to attempt a 49-yard field goal instead of going for the first down. Even if it was good, they’d still trail 24-10, need two more touchdowns, and have to keep stopping the Colts offense.

However, the kick was no good, the score remained 24-7, and the Colts took over at their own 39-yard line. They ended up scoring another touchdown five plays later.

Lack of quarterback pressure

Colts quarterback Carson Wentz threw just 11 passes on the day. However, the Bills defense had zero sacks and were credited with two quarterback pressures all game.

Matt Breida
Photo credit Mark Konezny - USA TODAY Sports


Matt Breida

Breida was the Bills' leading rusher with 51 yards on just five carries, averaging 10.1 yards per-carry. He also caught a pass for 16 yards, giving him 67 total yards from scrimmage, second-most on the team despite playing very limited snaps.

Dawson Knox

Knox did have a bad drop late in the game, but on the very next play, he made a spectacular catch and overall had a solid game. He was the leading receiver for either team, grabbing six catches for 80 yards.

Matt Haack

Despite only scoring 15 points, the Bills only punted once, and Haack made the most of it, booting the ball 55 yards.

Yards per-carry

The Bills averaged 7.0 yards per-run on their 13 attempts.

Defensive job on Michael Pittman

The Colts' leading receiver was targeted five times, but only caught two passes for 23 yards, his lowest output of the season in both categories.

Red zone offense

The Bills got inside the Colts' 20-yard line twice and scored touchdowns both times.

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