The Indianapolis Colts move to 7-4 with a 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills Sunday, continuing to solidify their improbable playoff push in 2012.
As great as it was to have them win the game, this was a frustrating contest to watch. The Colts simply could not convert redzone opportunities into touchdowns, going one for three in the redzone. The Bills came into the game with the 25th ranked adjusted defense according to Matt Grecco’s The Winning Stats. Yet, the Colts simply could not score touchdowns and had to settle for field goals.
Despite the frustration, they got the win and it was due in large part to the play of rookie T.Y. Hilton. Hilton had himself a breakout football game.
Hilton had 3 catches for 33 yards, 1 TD, but also had a dynamic 75-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter. Hilton is the first player in Colts franchise history to score a punt return touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the same game.
The punt return for a touchdown was the fist since T.J. Rushing did so in 2007!
Reggie Wayne also had a great game with 8 catches for 102 yards, including several drive-sustaining catches. He also set an NFL record by having at least two catches in 59 straight games. The previous record (58 games) was held by Cris Carter.
As frustrating as the offense was in the redzone, the Colts defense almost lost them the game late. They had all sorts of trouble handling runningback C.J. Spiller, who had 107 yards on 14 carries. They also could NOT defend the screen pass. On one of the few plays they got right, Colts safety Tom Zbikowski intercepted Ryan Fitzgerald with 4:43 left in the fourth and the Bills driving near Indy’s redzone, but on the run back Zbikowski fumbled the ball, and the Bills recovered. Indy’s defense held on the next series, forcing a punt, but that could have been disaster.
At the end of the day, the Colts are 7-4, which is a big deal considering the Bengals won (they are 6-5) and the Steelers (6-5) and Titans (4-7) both lost. Right now, the 5th seed in the AFC playoffs belongs to the Colts, and they are creating separation with other playoff contenders. The Texans (10-1) are still at top with the Ravens (8-2) and the Patriots (8-3) at the No. 2 and No. 3 spots. Denver (8-3) is at No. 4 while Indy at 5 and Pittsburgh at 6. The Bengals (6-5) are on the outside looking in, but they have won three in a row.
Andrew Luck had a solid game with 20-37 for 240 yards, 1 TD, 1 pick, and 20 yards rushing.
Colts cheerleaders had their heads shaved on the sidelines during the game in support of cancer awareness and research. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano attended the game, and was given a standing ovation by the crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium during the fourth quarter.