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Mark Gaughan’s 10 Plays: Harvin excels, Darby catches on

1. Harvin goes deep. The Bills signed Percy Harvin to help take the top off the defense. Presto. He used his 4.41 speed in the 40-yard dash to blow by Colts cornerback Darius Butler and catch a 51-yard touchdown pass at the end of the first quarter. Butler gave him an 8-yard cushion off the line of scrimmage. No matter.

“You know, it’s funny,” said Bills coach Rex Ryan. “I told the team the night before, I said, ‘Guys are gonna find out why Percy Harvin’s here. Cause they haven’t got to play with him any of the preseason games. But I’m like, ‘Wait ‘till you see this dude.’ ”

2. Darby on Hilton. It says a lot about the confidence Bills coaches have in rookie Ronald Darby that they left him in man coverage a handful of plays on the Colts’ most dangerous receiver, T.Y. Hilton. Darby picked off a deep Andrew Luck pass for Hilton late in the first quarter. The Bills did not blitz, but they had only a single safety, Bacarri Rambo, in the middle of the field. Darby was with Hilton stride for stride.

“We told Darby from the get-go that he’s going to be put in a lot of positions where it’s just going to be him on an island,” said Bills safety Aaron Williams. “That’s just the way this scheme is. He stepped up to the plate.”

3. Williams goes downhill. Bills rookie running back Karlos Williams showed his hard-running style on the first carry of his NFL career, a 26-yard TD run in the second quarter. It put the Bills up, 17-0. The play was a counter to the right, with left guard Richie Incognito pulling. Williams saw a crease to the left and cut back. Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman got too far over the top of the play, following Incognito, and was out of position.

“I guess the defense kind of wedged down to stop the A gaps, and I kind of ran right up Wood’s back,” said Williams, referring to center Eric Wood. “I didn’t feel any pressure so I veered to the left. There was nobody there in the secondary. Sammy Watkins made a great block on the corner and I took it to paydirt.”

4. Taylor beats the blitz. The Indy defense lived by the blitz last season. It rushed five or more men 46 percent of the time, third-most in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders. The Colts did not blitz the Bills’ quarterback much. Unofficially we had them for only five blitzes on 24 called pass plays. But they got burned in the second quarter when Taylor ran 31 yards to the Indianapolis 31. Freeman blitzed up the middle and created pressure. Taylor burst off right guard, then made cornerback Jalil Brown whiff in the secondary, which gave him 20 extra yards.

5. Taylor shows pocket skill. Key play on the Bills third TD drive came when Taylor hit Robert Woods on a 12-yard pass on a third-and-8 play from the Colts’ 20. This was another of the rare Colts blitzes. LeSean McCoy picked up one of the six rushers. Taylor stayed patient and hit Woods, who ran an out from the right slot to the sideline.

“Just watching film all week, just showing how they tip their coverages towards their blitzes and things,” Taylor said. “Me and Eric Wood got on the same page, and I was able to get the ball out.”

6. McCoy burns blitz. The big play on the TD drive that gave the Bills a 24-0 lead was a 22-yard pass to LeSean McCoy. The Colts blitzed safety Mike Adams off left tackle, and Taylor threw a short pass directly over Adams’ head. McCoy ran to the Bills’ 42.

7. Muffed punt. Colts rookie Phillip Dorsett muffed a Bills punt midway through the fourth quarter, and Rondell Johnson recovered at the Indy 26. It led to a field goal that gave the Bills a 27-8 lead. The punt was good by Colton Schmidt, 48 yards toward the sideline with a 4.4-second hang time.

8. Luck TD pass. The Colts scored with 5:56 left when Luck hit tight end Dwayne Allen on a 6-yard TD pass. It was the same play that New England stopped on the goal line to win the Super Bowl. Allen cut inside the slot receiver. Safeties Aaron Williams and Rambo weren’t on the same page in coverage.

9. Butler creates INT. The Bills picked off Luck with 1:52 left when Mario Butler blanketed Andre Johnson in man coverage on a deep throw. It was another blitz, and Aaron Williams caught the ball Butler deflected.

10. Bradham sack. The versatility of the Bills’ pass rush was seen on a second-quarter sack of Luck by Nigel Bradham at the Colts’ 19. The Bills rushed six, and Jerry Hughes dropped into coverage, running deep with Allen, the Colts’ TE. Luck had no chance.

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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