Colts chances to beat Bills slip away on snow-slicked field
By JOHN WAWROW, AP Sports Writer
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The snow was falling so hard and fast that Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri could have used a timeout and perhaps a few more size-15 feet.
After scrambling to hit a 43-yard point-after attempt to tie the game at 7 with 1:16 remaining in regulation, Vinatieri was unable to find his footing to hit what would’ve been a go-ahead field goal from the nearly the exact same spot with 1 second left.
The NFL’s oldest active player instead watched his attempt wobble low and wide left in a game the Colts would eventually lose 13-7 to the Buffalo Bills on LeSean McCoy’s 21-yard touchdown run with 1:33 left in overtime on Sunday.
“That’s probably the worst conditions I’ve played in maybe ever,” the 43-year-old Vinatieri said of a game played in near white-out conditions and on a slick field covered in a two-inch blanket of snow.
“When you’ve got that much snow on the ground, the only thing you can hope for is you’ve got a timeout beforehand, clear as much snow with the big size-15 feet the offensive linemen have and it gives you a chance to get better footing,” he said. “But yeah, obviously, you put them through when you can.”
Vinatieri missed both of his field-goal attempts, including a 33-yarder that fluttered wide right late in the first quarter.
Having squandered double-digit leads in the second half four times already this season, the Colts (3-10) found yet another way to lose.
This time, they blew two chances to beat Buffalo (7-6) in the final two minutes of regulation.
Jacoby Brissett capped a 19-play, 77-yard drive with a 3-yard pass off a play-action fake to Jack Doyle in the right side of the end zone. Rather than attempt to tie the game, the Colts went for 2 with Brissett once again faking a handoff and hitting Doyle in the left side of the end zone.
The play, however, was negated by an offensive pass-interference flag against receiver Kamar Aiken.
The Colts got the ball back two plays from scrimmage later when Matthias Farley intercepted Joe Webb’s pass and returned it to the Bills 28 with 52 seconds left.
Indianapolis ran just one play, a 3-yard run by Frank Gore, before coach Chuck Pagano elected to have Brissett spike the ball with 6 seconds remaining.
Pagano blamed himself, saying he could have run a few more plays to cut the distance for Vinatieri.
“Yeah, I screwed up. That’s on me,” Pagano said. “They all played their hearts out. I’m sick for them. They deserved better.”
The loss spoiled Gore’s outing in which he had 130 yards on a career-best 36 carries. Gore topped 100 yards for the first time in 15 games going back to last season. It was also the 42nd 100-yard rushing game of his career to move him into a tie with O.J. Simpson for 16th on the NFL list.
“This year, it’s been tough. One play here, one play there,” Gore said of a season in which five of the Colts’ losses have been decided by six or fewer points.
“I think any other team would just give up but we come every week fighting,” Gore added. “We just keep going and try to finish these last three strong and see where it goes from there.”
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