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3 things we learned about the Bills

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Rex Ryan promised to build a bully in Buffalo when he was hired as head coach. In his debut game, he lived up to the bombast.

Ryan and quarterback Tyrod Taylor won their debut games in Buffalo on Sunday, defeating the Indianapolis Colts 27-14 in the rain at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Taylor, the former Baltimore Ravens backup, was 14 of 19 passing for 195 yards and a touchdown in his first career start. He also rushed for 41 yards.

Running backs Karlos Williams and Boobie Dixon each had rushing touchdowns for the Bills (1-0), and kicker Dan Carpenter made two field goals. Wide receiver Percy Harvin caught five passes for 79 yards and a touchdown in his first game with the Bills.

Ryan’s blitzing defense harassed Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck into a poor first half that he and the Colts (0-1) could not recover from. Luck finished 26 of 49 passing for 243 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but much of his production came after the Bills had built a big lead. Luck’s first-half passer rating was 46.3.

“They forced us into those errors,” Luck said. “They are a good team and they made it hard for us to do things that we wanted to do. That’s a heck of a front four and they beat us pretty badly.”

Buffalo’s defense was dominant, even without All-Pro defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who sat out a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

“They threw everything but the kitchen sink at us,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said.

What we learned about the Bills:

1. Buffalo is no longer searching for answers at quarterback. Even though Tyrod Taylor lined up at wide receiver on the Bills first offensive play — backup Matt Cassell took the snap on a trick play — he provided a stable presence in the pocket for the rest of the game, something Buffalo has lacked in recent years. Taylor posted a 123.9 passer rating in his first game as a starter, and instilled confidence in his teammates. “Just his whole demeanor throughout the whole week, it feels like he’s been a seasoned pro,” wide receiver Percy Harvin said.

2. The defense hasn’t missed a beat. Last time the Bills played at home, they pressured Aaron Rodgers into the worst performance of his career. Through the first half Sunday, they did the same thing to Andrew Luck, before the Colts quarterback found some footing operating out of the no-huddle in trying to dig out of a 24-0 hole. And this was without All-Pro defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who was serving a one-game suspension. Buffalo compiled just two sacks, but put consistent pressure on Luck, forcing him into errant throws. “That’s a heck of a front four, and they beat us pretty badly,” Luck said.

3. The home crowd answered Rex Ryan’s wishes. Ryan challenged the fans at the start of the week to be as loud as they could be in the opener. The crowd of more than 70,000 made so much noise that they disrupted the Bills’ defensive communication at times, Ryan said. “The fans were better than our players and our players played pretty darn good today,” Ryan added. With the victory, Ryan became the first Bills coach to win the season-opening game in his first season.

Etc.

–WR Percy Harvin was a factor in his first game with the Bills after sitting out the entire preseason. Harvin made the game’s biggest play, catching a 51-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and finished with five receptions for 79 yards. He also gained nine yards and a first down on an end-around. “It told the guys the night before, guys are going to find out why Percy Harvin is here,” Ryan said. “I’m like, wait until you see this dude.”

–WR Sammy Watkins was locked down by Colts CB Vontae Davis. Projected as the Bills top receiver, Watkins didn’t catch a pass, and was targeted just once. Ryan said he approached Watkins on the sideline to tell him there will be days like this for all of the Bills offensive weapons. “But we won,” Ryan said Watkins told him. “This feels great.”

–RB Karlos Williams, a rookie who missed the bulk of the preseason due to injury, rookie finished as the Bills leading rusher with 55 yards on six carries. He took his first carry straight to the end zone for a 26-yard score. That has become a trend for Williams. The first time he carried the football at Florida State, he raced 65 yards for a touchdown.


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