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What We Learned: Colts vs. Bills Preseason Week 1

What did we learn from the Indianapolis Colts’ first preseason game against the Buffalo Bills?

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts opened up their 2022 preseason against the Buffalo Bills Saturday. Indianapolis ultimately fell short, falling 27-24 to Buffalo.

Despite the loss, there were still a few noteworthy takeaways. Here’s what stood out to me most from Saturday’s game.

  • Defense forces five takeaways

The Colts defense, which ranked second in the NFL in turnovers forced last season, tallied five total takeaways against the Bills, including four in the first half.

Of Indy’s five turnovers, three were interceptions, and two were forced fumbles. Safety Rodney McLeod, cornerback Isaiah Rodgers and linebacker Sterling Weatherford each had interceptions. Defensive end Kameron Cline forced a fumble on a strip sack, and linebacker Bobby Okereke forced a fumble of his own.

Indianapolis’ defense has been very impressive through much of training camp, and their success in creating turnovers in camp translated to the field.

  • Rookies show promise in first in-game action

Several of the Colts’ rookies caught the attention of many during Saturday’s game. Safety Nick Cross made two impressive plays, including a fourth down stop in the red zone. Wide receiver Alec Pierce’s speed and athleticism were on display at times, as he caught a couple of passes for a total of 27 yards. Tight end Jelani Woods, meanwhile, caught a touchdown from quarterback Sam Ehlinger.

The rookies didn’t blow away fans with their stats, but making plays in crucial situations — regardless of it being preseason — should help boost their confidence going forward.

  • Skill positions have underwhelming afternoon

Overall, it was a pretty quiet day from many of the Colts’ skill positions, including wide receiver and tight end. Sure, the Colts aren’t going to ‘open the playbook’ during the preseason, but their pass-catchers struggled to create separation at times and ultimately didn’t perform to the level some may have liked to see.

Outside of Michael Pittman Jr. and tight end Mo Alie-Cox, the remaining wideouts and tight ends who could play a key role this season are inexperienced, and it showed against Buffalo.

While this is certainly something to monitor as time goes on, and it isn’t necessarily time to hit the panic button, adding a veteran wideout to such a young receiver room may bring quite a bit of value in the long run for the Colts.