It was only one play, but it was enough to show why the Buffalo Bills made cornerback Nate Clements their first-round selection in the April draft.
Clements gave the Bills an early 7-0 lead when he intercepted a Peyton Manning pass intended for Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown.
It was the first career interception for Clements and the 55th time in Bills history an interception was returned for a score. Henry Jones did it last year against the New York Jets.
Clements is one of four rookies to score on a pick, but the first since Steve Freeman in 1975.
The Bills coveted Clements for his size, speed and cover ability. But it was his smarts that led to the interception.
"Before that play Marvin Harrison ran an out pattern, but Peyton didn't throw it to him," Clements explained. "I could tell the way he was leaning he was going to run the out again. I just read it, played my man and made a break on the ball."
Clements also had a second interception in the end zone to prevent a Colts touchdown, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty on cornerback Antoine Winfield. The Colts scored two plays later and rolled to a 42-26 victory.
Despite his big plays, Clements was not in a celebratory mood after the game.
"I'll give up the interception for a win any time," he said.
Before injuring his shoulder, wide receiver Eric Moulds extended his club record for consecutive games with a catch to 51 and moved past Jerry Butler for fifth place on the Bills' career receiving yards list.
Moulds had two catches for 14 yards, giving him 4,309. Butler had 4,301 yards from 1979 to 1983 and '85 to '86.
Moulds also tied Butler for sixth place on the career receptions list with 278.
Fullback Larry Centers caught a pass for the 122nd consecutive game. That is the third-longest active streak in the NFL behind Oakland's Jerry Rice (226) and Tim Brown (126).
Colts cornerbacks Thomas Smith and Jeff Burris were No. 1 draft picks of the Bills in 1993 and 1994, respectively.
Smith said it was strange looking on the Bills sideline and seeing so many new faces.
"Other than a few guys, I didn't recognize too many people over there," said Smith, who left the Bills two years ago in free agency. "A lot of the people I played with are gone now. It looks like a totally different team."
The Colts had an emotional pregame ceremony, which included the honoring of local police, firefighters and rescue workers. As Mariah Carey's song "Hero" was played, the public servants received a rousing standing ovation from the crowd.
The crowd also took part in the singing of the national anthem.
The Colts handed out 4-inch by 6-inch flags to fans as they came into the RCA Dome. The Bills will do the same when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday. An NFL release last week erroneously stated the flags would be 4 feet by 6 feet.
Bills inactives were linebacker Sam Cowart, offensive guard Jerry Ostroski, center Michael Early, offensive tackle Marques Sullivan, cornerback Chris Watson and defensive tackles Tyrone Robertson and Ron Edwards.
Former University at Buffalo receiver Drew Haddad was on the Colts' inactive list for the second straight game.