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Big Plays Plague Colts Again in OT Loss to Bills

No matter the playing conditions, the Indianapolis Colts are still giving up game-defining plays

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Indianapolis Colts have given up a ton of big plays this season. Sunday the Buffalo Bills were faced with the same horrendous weather conditions as the Colts were, yet the Bills were able to put enough big plays together to put two touchdowns on the board based on just a handful of big plays.

Given the 10 inches of snow on the field, the Colts defense was able to hold the Bills offense to an average of 16.75 yards per drive throughout their first four possessions in the first half. Sure, it’s more than fair to assume that the field conditions contributed to that being the case, but it is what it was. The Bills’ longest play was a 10-yard LeSean McCoy run through those drives until their final possession of the half.

Then inexplicably with 1:36 to go in the second quarter following a McCoy rush for no gain, with the clock running, the Bills had no timeouts left and were in no visible hurry to get back to the line of scrimmage the Colts idiot savant head coach – minus the savant part – decided to use the Colts’ final timeout. The Bills were ultimately letting the clock run out on the miserable first half of football, but Chuck said ‘oh, no you don’t.’

Why? Because he wanted to get his offense (30th in offensive efficiency and 27th in points per drive), which is clearly a bottom-5 unit in the league, back on the field to attempt to get some late points heading into the locker room. Something he almost never did when the team had Andrew Luck under center – even indoors for that matter – suddenly felt like a brilliant idea in sledding weather.

Enough about him, though, for now.

It reminds me of the saying “Don’t poke the bear” for some reason, but in this case it was a buffalo. I felt it deep within my soul that something bad was well on its way. The Bills were going to make the Colts pay for that timeout. And they did.

The very next play, McCoy busted off a 23-yard run taking the ball out near midfield to the Bills’ 43-yard line. Now the Bills WERE in a hurry. The next snap featured a McCoy 25-yard run to the left of center getting well into Colts territory up to their 32-yard line. Now with just under a minute to go Mike Tolbert pounds out a short run, and then a Nathan Peterman spike stop the clock with 38 seconds left to play.

You already know what follows, but I’m going to tell you anyway – it’s therapeutic for me at this point in the season.

Peterman then connects with Kelvin Benjamin on the boundary for another 20-plus-yard gain. This one was for 21 yards, and with the toe-tap Benjamin goes out of bounds stopping the clock all the way down to the Colts 8-yard line. This of course was followed with a touchdown pass to Benjamin putting the only points from either team on the board for the first half.

Much like the first half, the Colts were largely keeping the Bills offense in check. They allowed a 10-yard pass to Charles Clay on the Bills’ initial drive of the half, and the one explosive play was a Tolbert 25-yard run up the middle which Barkevious Mingo ended up stripping him of and recovering to get the ball back to the Colts offense.

Not a single double-digit-yard play the rest of the second half was allowed by the Colts defense. But, the game wasn’t quite over with. With neither offense having much other than the ground attack working, the game went into overtime and was just as methodical in nature. Joe Webb did squeak out a 12-yard run in the Bills first possession of OT, but that was about it, that is, until the game was really on the line with time ticking away in overtime.

With 2:00 minutes to go in the game – right after another questionable decision on Pagano’s part, to punt on a 4th-and-4 with 2:34 to go in the game – Webb hit Thompson along the right boundary for a big gain of 34 yards putting the ball down at the Colts 27-yard line. Just 3 plays later, McCoy struck again – and for the last time – as he exploded largely untouched for a walk-off 21-yard touchdown putting an end to the ‘white nightmare’.

This continues to be the Colts Achilles heel. They can’t close out a game, and they can’t keep the opposition from creating explosive plays – and it appears to continually happen when the game is on the line or at least being putting out of contention. Either way, the excuses are getting old.

The coaching issues have almost made Colts fans numb to the ignorance of them by now, and all we – or anyone else for that matter – can do is wait and trust that Chris Ballard will find a way to rid the organization of these issues on the roster as well as within the coaching staff. Eventually this will all seem like a bad dream.