ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Rex Ryan had the Buffalo Bills' defense so fired up before the season opener against Indianapolis that linebacker Nigel Bradham was ready to run through a wall for his new coach. "I sure tried," Bradham said.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Rex Ryan had the Buffalo Bills' defense so fired up before the season opener against Indianapolis that linebacker Nigel Bradham was ready to run through a wall for his new coach.
"I sure tried," Bradham said.
And it sure looked that way after Bradham helped key a dominating defensive performance with a team-best eight tackles and a sack in a 27-14 win over the Colts on Sunday.
After months of big talk and bravado, Ryan successfully began unveiling the bully he envisioned to build in Buffalo since taking over in January after Doug Marrone abruptly stepped down.
"We're going to let everybody know it's going to be hard to beat us," Bradham said.
The Bills forced three turnovers, including two interceptions thrown by Andrew Luck. On offense, the newly installed ground-and-pound running attack combined for 147 yards — the most by Buffalo since its season-opener last year — and scored twice.
Even Ryan, the former New York Jets coach, said he would have had difficulty scripting it any better.
"Maybe a little bit," he said with a wink. "I think we would have gotten a shutout."
The Bills opened the season by defeating a Colts team that lost the AFC Championship game to New England in January.
The Colts' offense was blanked until the final minute of the third quarter, when Luck hit Donte Moncrief for a 2-yard touchdown and completed a 2-point conversion to cut Buffalo's lead to 24-8.
"They beat us pretty bad," Luck said. "You don't let one game necessarily define you, but that doesn't make it any easier of a pill to swallow."
Luck finished 26 of 46 for 243 yards and two touchdowns. And he was outplayed by Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor who went 14 of 19 for 195 yards, including a 51-yard TD pass to Percy Harvin, in his debut.
Here's a number of things that stood out:
BIG PICK: After an inconsistent preseason, Bills rookie cornerback Ronald Darby knew Luck would be throwing his way. Darby responded by timing his leap perfectly to intercept Luck's deep pass intended for T.Y. Hilton late in the first quarter.
"It felt good," said Darby, who's starting in place of Leodis McKelvin (right foot). "Each week, I'm going to get tested due to the fact that I'm a rookie. But I trust my team."
Taylor hit Harvin for a touchdown five plays later, and the Bills scored on each of their next three possessions to build a 24-0 lead.
HILTON HURT: Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton's status is uncertain after he bruised his left knee while being tackled late in the third quarter. Colts owner Jim Irsay said initial tests were negative, but added Hilton will have follow-up tests once the team returns home.
"It looks like he may miss some time, but not anything real serious," Irsay said.
INCONSISTENT DEBUTS: Running back Frank Gore and receiver Andre Johnson, the Colts' two key veteran free agent additions, struggled to make impacts in their first games with Indianapolis.
Gore, the former 49ers star, had eight carries for 31 yards and two catches for 0 yards. He also missed a series because of cramping.
Johnson, the former Texans star, was targeted 10 times, but finished with four catches for 24 yards. He was also open in the end zone on a 2-point conversion only to have Luck's pass go through his hands.
HOT SEAT? Irsay dismissed speculation that coach Chuck Pagano's status is in question because his contract expires after this season.
"It's not anything that's on our minds right now," Irsay said.
TAYLOR'S DEBUT: Taylor technically didn't start at quarterback as the Bills opened with a trick play. Taylor lined up at receiver, with veteran Matt Cassel taking the snap and handing the ball to LeSean McCoy for a 6-yard loss. Taylor then finished the game behind center.
Start or not, it didn't matter.
"One and oh," Taylor said, referring to the Bills' record.
Taylor signed with Buffalo this offseason after spending the past four years as Joe Flacco's backup in Baltimore.