For the second consecutive week, the Indianapolis Colts have been disincentivized as they have locked up home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs; thus, they have been using their reserves for the bulk of the last two games, including Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in what can be accurately described as whiteout conditions on the field.
While Peyton Manning and Co. spent most of the game sitting on heated seats, the Bills’ regular unit took advantage as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for three touchdowns, allowing Buffalo to make short work of Indianapolis 30-7.
After trading touchdowns in the first quarter, the Bills went ahead for good when Fitzpatrick hit Lee Evans for a 21-yard score. Lee Evans caught the ball at the 1, then slid backward into the end zone, leaving a 2-yard skid mark in the snow. Two and one-half minutes later, Fitzpatrick hooked up with Terrell Owens on a 41-yard TD pass, giving the Bills an insurmountable 21-7 lead late in the third period.
Fitzpatrick went 16-of-25 for 155 yards and 3 TD’s. Manning, in limited action, went 14-of-18 for 95 yards and an interception while reserve QB Curtis Painter went 4-of-17 for 39 yards and an INT. Fred Jackson ran roughshod over the Colts’ offensive line, rushing 33 times for 212 yards with a receiving TD while Mike Hart rushed 10 times for 28 yards and a score.
Owens led the Bills receivers with 4 catches for 65 yards and a TD while Evans caught 4 for 49 yards and a score; Dallas Clark led the Colts with 7 receptions for 52 yards while Reggie Wayne caught 5 passes for 21 yards. Indianapolis (14-2) will get a two-week rest and await who becomes the AFC’s #6 seed while Buffalo ends their season 6-10.