Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) attempts to avoid being brought down while running with the ball against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park.

ORCHARD PARK — Well, no matter what people took from the Bills embarrassing 41-15 loss to the Colts on Sunday afternoon at Highmark Stadium before 69,866 surprised, cold, wet witnesses, one thing can’t be denied.

It was a total team effort by Buffalo.

The offense was lousy, the defense was lousy and so were the special teams.

And as a result, the Bills, who have alternated wins and losses for the last six games, have fallen to 6-4 and behind New England (7-4) in the AFC East and are now in a fight just to earn one of the seven conference playoff spots.

Indeed, as Indianapolis (6-5) left the field with its third straight win and fifth in its last six, it seems a more viable postseason hopeful than Buffalo, which hasn’t won consecutively since an early-season four-game streak.


Let’s start with the offense.

Quarterback Josh Allen, last season’s NFL MVP runner-up, laid another egg.

He went 21-of-35 passing for 209 yards with two touchdown passes to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, a pair of interceptions, a sack and a substandard 72.2 passer rating.

But they were actually improved by his 5-of-7 effort for 64 yards and a touchdown during fourth-quarter garbage time with Buffalo trailing by 31.

Backup quarterback Mitchell Trubisky contributed an interception of his own.

Playing from behind the Bills mounted only 13 rushes for 91 yards.

The defense?

Even worse.

This unit, which led the NFL in fewest points (15) and yards (274) given up per game, surrendered five touchdowns — all by Indy running back Jonathan Taylor — and a staggering 264 rushing yards.

“We’ve got to get that fixed,” Bills coach Sean McDermott admitted. “There’s a formula to win and there’s a formula on the other end of it, too. When we’re getting beat at the point of attack, obviously, I have to do a better job.”

Taylor’s effort — 32 carries for 185 yards, TD runs of 10, 3, 2 and 1 yards and a 23-yard pass reception for a score — set a franchise record as no player had ever scored five times in a game against the Bills.

Buffalo, the league leader in takeaways coming in, forced no turnovers and didn’t log a sack.

And then there were the special teams.

Placekicker Tyler Bass, one of the NFL’s best, missed both of his field goal attempts — 49 and 57 yards — but could be forgiven, given the conditions (wind and rain).

Returner, Isaiah McKenzie … not so much.

Buffalo trailed 17-7 and he took the ensuing kickoff after an Indy field goal, started right, was tripped up by the mythical turf monster, and fumbled the ball sideways.

Colts cornerback T.J. Carrie, picked it up and took it to the Bills’ 2-yard line.

It was the game’s single most impactful play.

Taylor scored on the next snap and with the score 24-7 at intermission you had the distinct impression Buffalo wouldn’t be mounting a rally.

The win helped assuage the memory of Indianapolis’ three blown fourth-quarter leads, that produced two 3-point and a one 6-point loss.

“It meant a lot,” Taylor said of the win. “That’s something we’re going to have to do if we want to get to where we want to go at the end of the year.

“We’re going to have to be able to put games away in the fourth quarter.”

And, on this day, there was no such concern.

MEANWHILE, the Bills tried to emphasize they were not shaken by the loss.

“We’re really a good football team when we don’t bite ourselves in the butt,” Allen said. “What we put on the field today is not who we are. We need to do a better job on all fronts. There’s no way around it, but at the same time, it’s not panic mode.”

To which offensive tackle Dion Dawkins added, “It goes in the category of, flush it, let it go, move on. We’ve got a game in a couple of days (Thanksgiving night in New Orleans). We didn’t play our best ball. It showed.”

He added, “It’s not really that concerning. I have faith and trust in our team and our players. It happens to the best of people, the best of teams. There’s nothing much we can do … learn from it as quick as possible and move on.

“I can speak on type of men we have in the building, (they) don’t let this stuff poison us. It will help us when it matters. We’re going to have to eat this one up, and take it on to Thursday night. It’s hard to be perfect all of the time. That’s what everyone wants, that’s what we want … it’s kind of impossible, but we have to try our best.”

Trending Food Videos