ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Rex Ryan took exception with Colts owner Jim Irsay’s suggestion that the reason Indianapolis sat out Andrew Luck was because the Buffalo Bills coach doesn’t let up in the preseason.
“Take a look at the tapes and see how many times we blitzed, so,” Ryan said, before pausing to collect his thoughts.
“I can tell you one thing, (Colts coach) Chuck Pagano’s a good friend of mine, a legitimate good friend of mine. I have way more respect for him than I do others.”
Ryan’s comment was clearly directed at Irsay following Buffalo’s preseason-opening 19-18 loss to the Colts on Saturday night.
Two hours before the game, Irsay announced on his Twitter account that the Colts would wait until next week for Luck to make his first preseason start.
Irsay followed with a second tweet, by writing: “Yes, there is some truth on this dark, rainy night; that my good friend Rex…has never heard of the word….PRESEASON.” He closed the comment with a laughing face emoji and three exclamation points.
Pagano said it was his decision to sit Luck against Buffalo. And Pagano didn’t waver when reminded he was prepared to have Luck play a week earlier against Green Bay in the Hall of Fame game before it was canceled because of an unplayable field.
“It’s one of the benefits that you get when you’re the head coach,” Pagano said with a smile. “You get to decide who plays and who doesn’t play.”
Minus Luck, backups Scott Tolzien and Stephen Morris teamed up to pull out the victory.
Tolzien, an offseason free-agent addition, shook off a slow start to produce two scoring drives in the first half. And then Morris, who was signed off Philadelphia’s practice squad in December, secured the win with a 57-yard touchdown pass to Chester Rogers with 10:42 remaining.
The game wasn’t without its late dramatics. Bills rookie third-stringer Cardale Jones nearly pulled out a comeback victory in the final seconds.
Jones, who led Ohio State to the 2015 national championship, threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jarrett Boykin as time expired.
But Jones failed to pull out the win by throwing an incompletion while attempting a 2-point conversion.
Bills: DE IK Enemkpali was carted off late in the first half with what coach Rex Ryan called a “major knee injury.” Enemkpali hurt his right knee when his foot caught in the turf and he fell awkwardly while being blocked by Colts lineman Jonotthan Harrison. The Bills are already thin at outside linebacker with rookie first-round pick Shaq Lawson to miss the first month of the season after having shoulder surgery in May. Veteran backup Manny Lawson is expected to miss the entire preseason with a partially torn pectoral muscle.
Colts: LB Sio Moore did not return after hurting his hamstring in punt return coverage early in the second quarter. RG Denzelle Good, starting in place of injured starter Hugh Thornton, did not return after hurting his knee and quadriceps in the first half. OT Kevin Graff sustained an ankle injury.
Colts: First-round pick, C Ryan Kelly, struggled against the Bills pass rush up the middle. On the Colts’ second possession, Bills S Corey Graham and LB Preston Brown burst up the middle and forced Tolzien to rush a pass that was nearly intercepted.
Bills: Sixth-round pick, DB Kevon Seymour, broke up a 2-point conversion attempt by stripping the ball out of the hands of WR Quan Bray in the right corner of the end zone. On the Colts’ next possession, Seymour was in perfect position to break up a pass attempt to Tevaun Smith in the end zone.
Colts: Tolzien went 12 of 23 for 140 yards and a TD. Morris went 5 of 9 for 149 yards and a TD.
Bills: Starter Tyrod Taylor played one series and finished 2 of 3 for 7 yards. Manuel went 10 of 18 for 91 yards. Jones went 11 of 21 for 162 yards and a TD.
Ryan’s decision to have players run laps for jumping offside in training camp hasn’t solved the Bills penalty problems. The Colts’ first scoring drive was partially set up by consecutive offside penalties. First DE Jerel Worthy jumped on second-and-9, and then Enemkpali jumped.
The Bills were flagged 11 times for 106 yards, a season after they were among the NFL’s most penalized teams.
“We’ve got to turn the page on that. That was last year’s team,” Ryan said.
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