Losman threw a touchdown pass and the Bills returned a blocked
punt for a touchdown to beat Indianapolis 17-10 in an ugly
preseason game Saturday night.
"The whole night, I really didn't feel comfortable running or
throwing," Losman said. "The ball just didn't come out right,
sometimes it happens."
Losman, a first-round pick in 2004, played into the third
quarter and was 11-of-19 for 88 yards, throwing a 5-yard TD pass to
Lee Evans in the final minute of the first half.
But the Colts were not themselves.
With 20 players out because of injuries, Manning, the NFL's
two-time MVP, taking just three snaps and two-time rushing champion
Edgerrin James not playing at all, the offense struggled. The
league's highest-scoring team in 2004 ran 15 times for minus-5
yards and mounted two scoring drives on their brand new turf.
It was that kind of night.
The Bills and Colts combined for 26 penalties and four fumbles.
The first quarter took nearly an hour. The officials messed up the
game's first touchdown call -- first ruling Lauvale Sape's blocked
punt return was a safety. Even the scoreboard was wrong at one
point, briefly reading Broncos instead of Bills. The loudest cheers
came when a Pee Wee football player scored on a long touchdown run
Colts coach Tony Dungy did everything he could to hide the poor
"We tried to keep you going late so you'd miss deadline and
would not be able to write about it," he joked. "As bad as it
looked, though, we did have some individual performances that were
Not on offense. The starters lost 13 yards on their only series,
and Dominic Rhodes, James' backup, fumbled on his only carry.
Backup quarterback Jim Sorgi was 10-of-21 for 135 yards with one
interception and was sacked once in the first half, while Travis
Brown finished 14-of-30 for 163 yards with one touchdown -- long
after the Bills starting defense had departed.
Rookie Levon Thomas caught six passes for 67 yards -- all in the
second half -- and dropped several others, while rookie Anthony
Davis was the leading rusher with three carries for three yards.
"I thought our defense hung in there and didn't give up a lot
of big plays," Dungy said. "I definitely thought it was a step in
the right direction."
Bills coach Mike Mularkey said he liked what he saw from Losman,
Losman stumbled early, sometimes looking antsy in the pocket and
was smacked squarely by linebacker Kendyll Pope on one run. His
receivers also bobbled several passes.
But Losman settled down in the second quarter, taking the Bills
on a 68-yard drive that led to a field goal and closed out the half
by finding Evans for a 17-3 lead.
"I didn't know what to expect, whether it was the same thing as
in college, the same thing as last year, what music to listen to
before the game," he said. "All those things play a factor in
psyching yourself out, but really it's the same old game."
Losman's troubles re-emerged in the second half. On the first
play, he lost the ball on a scramble and Josh Mallard recovered,
putting the Colts at the Buffalo 6.
No problem. Indianapolis lost three yards on its next three
plays and Mike Vanderjagt hooked a 27-yard field goal attempt that
drew boos from the smattering of fans still left.
"I never saw him at a point where he was flustered," Mularkey
said of Losman. "I told him at one point to take everything that
happens, even that fumble, and store it away as a learning tool."
Sorgi led the Colts on a 55-yard drive that produced
Vanderjagt's 42-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
But on the Colts' next series, Sape blasted through the middle,
blocked Hunter Smith's punt, scooped it up and scored before losing
the ball in the end zone. The officials first ruled safety, saying
the Colts had recovered a fumble. The call was challenged and then
reversed, giving the Bills a 7-3 lead.
"It still baffles me," Mularkey said.
Indianapolis scored its only touchdown when Brown, a former
Bills backup, hit wide-open Bryan Fletcher for a 31-yard TD pass
late in the third quarter. That made it 17-10. The Colts never
Buffalo's Willis McGahee carried four times for 16 yards. He
limped off the field in the first half, returned for one series and
did not play again. Bills officials said McGahee was not injured.
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