10 Takeaways From The Bills’ 44-20 Victory Over The Colts

Updated: August 12, 2013

The Buffalo Bills came out strong in all facets of the game on Sunday, earning a 44-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The team scored a touchdown on offense, defense and special teams, while winning the turnover battle. Here are 10 thing we took away from the Bills’ performance:

  • E.J. Manuel looked solid in his first professional game, completing 16-of-21 pass attempts for 107 yards and a touchdown, while adding 28 yards on three rushes. Manuel started the game poorly, but led an impressive 10 play, 92-yard touchdown drive to finish the first half.
  • As well as Manuel handled the two-minute drill, undrafted rookie quarterback Jeff Tuel was the most impressive passer of the day. Tuel, who the Bills signed as an undrafted free agent out of Washington State, completed 19-of-23 passes for 212 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Tuel showed great touch on his deep ball and displayed the confidence in the second and third team receivers that he’s developed throughout training camp. If Tuel continues to impress in Kolb’s absence, he could have a real shot at a push for the No. 2 job behind E.J.
  • The offense is much more multiple and unpredictable than that of former head coach Chan Gailey. The Bills utilized fullback Frank Summers to open the game, as C.J. Spiller picked up big chunks of yards. Spiller rushed for 36 yards on four carries, giving fans a sneak peek into what should come throughout the year. The Bills kept the defense honest, lining up in a variety of formations, which was a breath of fresh air from the ever-common shotgun, three wide receiver sets that Chan Gailey operated out of.
  •  Marcus Easley showed a lot throughout the second half, as he and Jeff Tuel connected seven times for 94 yards. Easley, a former fourth round pick of the team, could have a legitimate chance to finally see the field after being plagued by injuries throughout his first few professional seasons.
  • Chris Hogan surprisingly saw quite a bit of action with the first-team offense, and while he only caught one pass, he showed the ability to consistently gain separation, a crucial skill, especially in the west coast-based offense that the team is running. Fans should keep an eye on Hogan as a sleeper to make the roster over players like Kevin Elliott, Da’Rick Rogers or Marcus Easley, depending on how many wideouts the coaching staff decides to keep.
  • Mike Pettine’s defense was aggressive and multiple. While he’s been preaching that approach ever since being hired, it was nice to finally see that on the field from the team. Linebackers were blitzing from everywhere and defensive linemen were batting down passes and keeping Indianapolis’ quarterbacks on edge throughout the entire contest.
  •  The Bills’ secondary aside from Stephon Gilmore is still shaky, to say the least. Ron Brooks was burned multiple times, while Da’Norris Searcy played poorly. Searcy is expected to take on a much bigger role in his third season, the first as a starter. Aaron Williams looked solid at safety, but the nickel cornerback job could go to a sleeper like undrafted rookie Nickell Robey, who saw some significant snaps on both defense and special teams.
  •  The Bills’ special teams units were unbelievable. Last year, Leodis McKelvin was one of the best return men in the league, but this year that job is probably rookie Marquise Goodwin’s to lose. Goodwin had a 107-yard return for a score and another that went 53 yards. On coverage, the Bills looked disciplined, making the first tackle and limiting big yardage.
  • The Bills utilized the up-tempo offense that Coaches Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett have been describing and it worked. The Bills ran 85 offensive plays, while the Colts ran just 65.
  • This is a completely different team than that of years past. The Bills were aggressive on both sides of the ball and it looked like the players have bought into the system. The coaches consistently put out cohesive units that executed well and didn’t make many mistakes. If the Bills can continue to improve throughout camp and preseason, they could be a real sleeper in the AFC.