The Washington Times-Herald

Indianapolis Colts

November 25, 2012

Colts in thick of playoff race



Two Adam Vinatieri field goals (from 25 and 19 yards out), along with an 8-yard pass from rookie quarterback Andrew Luck to Hilton late in the third quarter, provided all the scoring Indianapolis would need. But Buffalo, who had come into the game needing a win in order to boost their post-season hopes, certainly made things interesting.
The Bills defense sacked Luck four times, three by Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams and one by defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, and intercepted him once (backup cornerback Justin Rogers). Luck also looked out of rhythm all afternoon, completing 20-of-37 passes for 240 yards and a TD. He misfired to a couple wide open receivers early in the game and then struggled at times to get the ball down field due to the constant pass rush.
Still, the Colts made plays when necessary in other areas. Hilton's punt return got Indianapolis off to a good start. The defense, led by inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, bent often but limited Buffalo to just one touchdown and a pair of field goals by Rian Lindell (33 and 31 yards).
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's 1-yard toss to backup tight end Lee Smith with 11:30 remaining in the game had narrowed the margin to 20-13. When it looked like the Bills were on their way to tie the game in the fourth quarter, safety Tom Zbikowski intercepted Fitzpatrick and returned it 20 yards before fumbling the ball back to Buffalo.
Still, the Indianapolis defense made plays. With 4:31 left in the game, the Colts pass rush forced Fitzpatrick out of the pocket on first down and a pickup of six yards. Freeman, who ended the game with 16 total tackles, dropped Bills running back C.J. Spiller for a 4-yard loss on second down.
A third-down pass from Fitzpatrick to Spiller fell incomplete. Buffalo punter Shawn Powell's booted the ball away and pinned Indianapolis back at its own 5-yard line. The Bills, though, never saw the ball again.

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