IND-BUF Grades: Colts’ high-powered offense struggles

Bills LG Richie Incognito finishes as game's top-graded player.

| 2 years ago
(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

IND-BUF Grades: Colts’ high-powered offense struggles

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Sunday’s Colts-Bills game.

Indianapolis Colts

– The passing game struggled, but don’t point to the offensive line this time. In previous seasons, yes, the Colts’ line has been subpar, but they did a nice job holding up against a fierce Bills defense that blitzed QB Andrew Luck on 30 of his 53 dropbacks, but only managed to pressure him 11 times.

– The real struggle for the Colts came against Buffalo’s coverage that blanketed their receivers for much of the afternoon and put a lot of pressure on Luck to be pinpoint accurate—which he certainly was not. The Colts scheme also relied heavily on isolation routes, hoping for their wide receivers to simply beat their man in coverage, rather than scheming up plays that make it difficult to play man coverage. WR T.Y. Hilton still came away with a nice +2.0 grade, but newcomer Andre Johnson posted ac2.1 grade after catching four of his 10 targets for only 24 yards.

– Defensively, the Colts managed only one positive grade in their front-seven, and it went to rookie DE Henry Anderson (+0.3). The third-rounder led the team with seven tackles and five stops, while posting a +1.0 grade against the run while playing 49 of 59 snaps.

Top Performers:

RT Jack Mewhort +2.6
LT Anthony Castonzo +2.1
WR T.Y. Hilton +2.1
RG Todd Herremans +1.8
CB Vontae Davis +1.4

Buffalo Bills

– The defensive backs stole the show, playing tight coverage for much of the game and looking like a great fit for new head coach Rex Ryan’s defense. Bills DBs deflected eight total passes on the day, led by CB Stephon Gilmore’s four.

– At QB, Tyrod Taylor had a nice debut for Buffalo, finishing at +0.4, including one of the week’s best throws, a 51-yard strike that hit WR Percy Harvin in stride for a touchdown. Beyond that, there weren’t a lot of challenging throws, but he found the open man to finish with an accuracy percentage of 83.3 percent (ranked seventh in the league this week). The one blip was his fumbled shotgun snap, which he quickly recovered, though putting the ball on the ground is always dangerous.

– As has generally been the case with recent Rex Ryan defenses, they get after the quarterback (aforementioned 30 blitzes on 52 dropbacks), though not many got home to actually achieve pressure. The blitzes did bring the illusion of pressure, which is often just as good, but with pass rushers like Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams posting identical -2.1 pass rush grades, more is still expected from the Bills’ defensive front.

Top Performers:

LG Richie Incognito +3.5
CB Stephon Gilmore +3.2
CB Mario Butler +2.6
WR Percy Harvin +1.6
DE/DT Corbin Bryant +1.4

| Senior Analyst

Steve is a senior analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has been featured on ESPN Insider, NBC Sports, and 120 Sports.

  • Paul Quigley

    Guys, check your numbers…Is it “30 of his 53 dropbacks” or “aforementioned 30 blitzes on 52 dropbacks”?

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    Scary thinking the Bills d can will get even better

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  • Vitor

    Andre Johnson’s grade was -2.1, right?

    • Malachi


  • Tiago

    Not everything was perfect. Buffalo still gets hard times when defending Red Zone. One scoring in 3rd and other one in 4th down, which put 5 downs good against opponent but not perfectly. They need to better cover. The second TD of Indianapolis scored in red zone was after an eager blitz against Luck and allowed WR of Ind free to score. I really hate that

    • Dominic Biondi

      That first TD drive by the Colts was defended damn well by the Bills, though. Remember, the Colts fumbled the ball all of the way back to the 20, and lucked out when the Bills were called for a facemask – when it looked like the runner actually had the facemask of the defender.