The Colts continued their four-game win streak at home on Sunday with a 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills. The Colts weren't dominant in the win, but had the game in control for the vast majority against an inferior opponent.
During the game, the staff at Colts Authority emailed each other with thoughts and comments on the game. Here are the thoughts - UNCENSORED.
Josh Boeke: Well, disappointed to see Fleener, Davis, and especially Chapman inactive for yet another week. The recovery time on some of these injuries boggles my mind. Fleener and Davis were expected back weeks ago. You've got to think Chapman must not be doing too well in practice (I know, blasphemy) to be sitting behind the awful stable of NTs we have is not a good sign. Maybe they are really just being super cautious with his injury, but man, I don't know, these games are getting more and more crucial.
Todd Smith: Chapman really disappoints me. I thought he was the second coming according to many.
You're right about the critical nature of the coming games. The Colts need to win three or four more. Nine wins may get them there. 8-8 is a tough one.
Anyone else remember all the brouhaha over the ticket sales before the season started? No blackouts and the team crowd is as good as ever. I remember specifically talking with the Colts and coming away with the notion that this would be a non-issue. Looks like a non-issue now.
Greg Cowan: I remember it all too well. I think it was honestly just a Peyton Manning overreaction thing. Ticket sales are becoming less and less relevant anyway as TV replaces the stadium as the preferred game experience, and revenue reflects that fact.
Kyle Rodriguez: The announcers just said Donnie Ah-very. It was hilarious.
Josh Boeke: Awesome return by Hilton, when there was nobody near him on the clean catch I knew he could get some yardage with his speed and elusiveness, didn't expect a TD exactly. He's so fast and shifty, could be a great returner as he matures. Love it!!
Kyle Rodriguez: T.Y. Hilton has crazy acceleration. Just turned it on after a great move.
Todd Smith: The DBs getting owned by receivers blocking downfield is bad. There has to be someone better than Vaughn in the heap this offseason.
Kyle Rodriguez: Really scary hit on Hilton. Poor guy has a bright future and is critical to the offense with just Brazill behind him. (Edit: It was great to see him back in. Sounds like he'll be ok)
Greg Cowan: Arians has had his bright spots in play calling the past couple of weeks, but can we please drastically reduce the WR screen and 3 TE set portions of the playbook? Looks like Arians is just begging to settle for a FG on this 2nd-quarter drive (score 7-3, Colts at the Buffalo 6)
Josh Boeke: To be fair, Ballard catches the ball and it's a TD and successful series. Not sure how much credit Arians deserves but the 2 plays set them up in position at 3rd and 3, just didn't execute.
Kyle Rodriguez: On an unrelated note: Luck's great downfield, but he needs to watch for the checkdowns when they're there. He's missed several today.
Anybody with first half thoughts?
Todd Smith: Meh.
Josh Boeke: Special teams have been a major positive for a change, getting a return TD and a punt on the 1 yard line. That's encouraging. Kick returns still awful, just take a knee.
Luck was a bit off but seemed to be getting into a rhythm late. It's crazy how much he throws deep. On the one hand it's awesome when it works, but it only works about 30% of the time. I suppose it's better to be too aggressive and rein it in than to be Mr. Checkdown and try to learn aggressiveness.
The defense was great at holding them to field goals and seemed to be getting pretty good pressure. CBs have been fortunate on some overthrows and got burnt on a couple double moves, but haven't allowed a TD and that's a win in my book.
Score TDs instead of chip shot FGs and this game would be well in hand.
Greg Cowan: First half thoughts: Special teams and defense coming up big. Liking a lot of the looks and disguises from the Colts defense. They aren't reacting well to the bunched formations, but the Bills aren't taking advantage of it, so no harm yet. (Other than that one 3rd-and-10 conversion)
Talked all year about how the Colts offense would go as far as the line would let it: line not letting it go very far today. Every pass play is being dictated by the lack of time and protection for Luck.
Marcus Dugan: Our defense looks down right legit on 3rd down today. I hope they can keep it up. I'm glad to see some underneath stuff from the offense here in the second half. I love me some slant routes and short drops.
Kyle Rodriguez: Completely agree with Marcus on both counts, this is what we've wanted to see all year. Mix things up.
Greg Cowan: 3rd down conversion by Luck to Wayne in the 3rd quarter is so ridiculous.
I'm going to ride this the whole year, since it's one of the few things I feel I got right: Hilton is good, and has #2 upside with Luck. He'll never be a true #1, but if they have a true #1, Hilton is a perfectly acceptable #2.
Marcus Dugan: I agree about Hilton. What he lacks in size, he makes up for in everything else.
I am concerned that Spiller is wearing down the defense and primed for a huge 4th quarter.
Kyle Rodriguez: The Colts are going to give this away. Again. Manusky's playcalling was so impressive early in the game, now it looks like he is content to let Fitzpatrick hit slants all the way down the field.
Greg Cowan: I agree that the defensive play calling has become more conservative, but I do believe fatigue is playing a part. Colts O has had NO time of possession in the 2nd half. Horrible effort from offensive personnel and coaches.
Kyle Rodriguez: They had a long drive to start the second half, to be fair. (The finished with about 15 minutes in the second half)
Josh Boeke: I too was very disappointed in the offense pretty much the whole game. 2 more FGs inside the 10, 2 bad 3 and outs on consecutive drives to allow Buffalo to come back. Once again the defense, somehow, manages to hold at the end of a close game and the offense gets 3 big first downs when they need them to run out the clock. Pretty much the same blueprint they've had all season.
A win is a win. I expect the offense to be better next week, Detroit is beatable. Hopefully, God willing, Davis is back next week. Somebody needs to guard Megatron and it ain't going to be Vaughn or Butler.
Greg Cowan: Three story lines of the game for me: The OL's inability to block, killing the offense, the special teams winning the battles against one of the top ST units in the league, and the defense.
In most of these games I came away thinking, "The defense didn't give up points, but they played poorly." I don't get that feeling today. I thought they pressured Fitzpatrick, I thought they attacked the RBs and WRs, and I thought they played... well. They gave up some big plays, sure, but most of them came from aggressively attacking the offense, I'd rather get burnt that way than just give up the big play while trying to limit the big play.
I've been encouraged by the defense a lot recently, today did nothing to stop that. This team, as a whole, though, has a long way to go. They might make the playoffs, but... that'll be an ugly game, I fear.
Kyle Rodriguez: I thought the defense was inconsistent, which is pretty normal. The different play calls really hurt the Bills, who were thrown off balance. The Bills basically get their points off big plays, so if you can keep the big plays from reaching the end zone, you'll have a god chance at stopping them. Bethea had some crucial stops in that department.
Jerrell Freeman was the player of the game on defense though. He was fantastic.
I feel bad that Greg got mis-attributed for my season tickets comment, God knows even I avoid taking ownership for the things I say.
I'm a bottom line guy. I never thought this Colts defense could hold this Bills team to only 13 points. Still don't know how they did it. But very pleased.
@DougEngland Best defensive performance of the season I'd say (not that there's been too many to choose from, but still). Definitely the most complete effort of the season, kept at it pretty much from beginning to end with just the 1 TD drive to blemish the performance.