ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — New Bills coach Rex Ryan successfully unveiled his bully in Buffalo on Sunday.
Karlos Williams and Boobie Dixon each rushed for touchdowns as part of a ground-and-pound attack that combined for 147 yards, and Buffalo’s dominating defense put the clamps on Andrew Luck in a 27-14 season-opening victory.
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This was the type of approach Ryan envisioned when he vowed to “build a bully” upon taking over as coach in January after Doug Marrone stepped down abruptly on Dec. 31.
Ryan’s decision to make Tyrod Taylor the starting quarterback two weeks ago also paid off. Taylor went 14 of 19 for 195 yards, including a 51-yard touchdown pass to Percy Harvin. And Taylor also showed off his dual-threat mobility by running for 41 yards on nine carries.
Taylor outplayed Luck, who was inconsistent in the face of the Bills’ attacking defense.
Luck finished 26 of 49 for 243 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores — Donte Moncrief’s 2-yard catch and Dwayne Allen’s 6-yard score — came in the second half after the Colts fell behind 24-0.
Luck also threw two interceptions. The first was by rookie Ronald Darby and led to the Bills’ opening score on Harvin’s touchdown. The second interception came in the final two minutes when safety Aaron Williams grabbed a tipped pass to end any chance of a Colts comeback.
It didn’t help that the Colts finished the game minus top receiver T.Y. Hilton, who left late in the third quarter to have tests on an injured knee. Hilton returned to the sideline but did not play in the fourth quarter. He finished with seven catches for 88 yards.
Otherwise, the Colts veteran-retooled offense struggled.
Newly acquired running back Frank Gore had eight carries for 31 yards, and two catches for 0 yards. Newly acquired veteran receiver Andre Johnson managed just four catches for 24 yards — and had Luck’s 2-point conversion throw go through his hands.
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For Buffalo, 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 signed with the Bills this offseason after spending the past four years as Joe Flacco’s backup in Baltimore.
Harvin led Buffalo with 79 yards receiving. McCoy was inconsistent in his Bills debut after being acquired in a trade with Philadelphia. McCoy had 41 yards rushing on 17 carries, and three catches for 46 yards.
Even Buffalo’s special teams got into the act. Randell Johnson recovered a punt muffed by rookie Phillip Dorsett at the Colts 26 early in the fourth quarter. The turnover led to Dan Carpenter’s 45-yard field goal for a 27-8 lead.
The Bills’ defense dominated despite missing tackle Marcell Dareus, serving a one-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.