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In Buffalo’s first nine games of the 2021 NFL season, the defense gave up just six points in the first quarter. That changed on Sunday as the Bills allowed two Jonathan Taylor touchdowns in the opening quarter on their way to a 41-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. It was Buffalo’s second loss in its last three games, and it happened at home.
After only giving up a pair of field goals in the first quarter of their first nine games, Buffalo allowed Indianapolis to take the opening kickoff and drive 65 yards in 11 plays. The scoring drive was capped by Taylor’s three-yard touchdown run, the first of four rushing touchdowns on the day.
Things immediately took a turn for the worse as Bills QB Josh Allen threw his first of two interceptions on the day on the ensuing drive. Buffalo had entered Colts territory, but a holding penalty set up a third-and-long situation at the Colts’ 43-yard line. Allen’s pass intended for Gabriel Davis was picked off by George Odum.
The Colts would go to work again, and just five plays later, Taylor would score his second touchdown of the game. This time, he was on the receiving end of a 23-yard touchdown pass from Colts QB Carson Wentz. With 1:38 remaining in the first quarter, the Bills were already down 14-0.
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Down two scores, the Bills did fight back on their next drive. Allen would complete five passes, the final one a six-yard scoring toss to WR Stefon Diggs. It would be the closest Buffalo would get to the Colts, who have won five of their last six games.
The Bills would fumble the ball away, leading to a Colts touchdown, and miss a field goal opportunity before the first half was over. The fumble came on a kickoff after Indianapolis had scored on a 36-yard field goal by Michael Badgley. The Colts got possession of the football at Buffalo’s two-yard line making Taylor’s second rushing touchdown an easy one.
The Bills opening three drives of the second half were an indication of what was to come. Buffalo went three-and-out after receiving the second-half kickoff, missed another field goal, and then Allen threw his second interception of the game. While the Bills struggled, the Colts added two more Taylor rushing touchdowns to take a 38-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
© Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Allen would lead a long scoring drive – 10 plays, 77 yards – at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late. Allen would finish the day with 209 yards passing, two touchdowns (both to Diggs), and two interceptions. Buffalo struggled to run the football, gaining a total of just 91 yards on the day. Matt Breida was the Bills leading rusher with 51 yards on five carries.
Taylor had a career day gaining 185 yards on 32 carries. He also had 19 yards on three receptions and became the first player since Alvin Kamara last year to score at least five touchdowns in a game. Taylor now leads the NFL in rushing with 1,122 yards and rushing touchdowns with 14. He tied an NFL record with his eighth consecutive 100-yard rushing game.
The Bills dropped to 6-4 overall and are now a half-game behind the 7-4 New England Patriots. It’s a quick turnaround for Buffalo as they head to New Orleans to take on the Saints on Thanksgiving Night. There is little room for error in the remaining Bills’ schedule. After the Saints on Thursday, Buffalo will face a difficult four-game stretch where they play the Patriots twice, Tampa Bay and Carolina.
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