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Lindell puzzled by lack of chances beyond 50 yards

INDIANAPOLIS — Rian Lindell has distance envy.

The most accurate kicker in Buffalo Bills history sees other NFL teams try 50- and 60-yard field goals rather routinely. He hasn't been allowed to try one over 50 yards since Halloween 2010.

For the second time in six games, Bills coach Chan Gailey declined to try a field goal from a distance that's quite common for contemporary kickers, passing up a chance to try a 52-yarder in the second quarter of Sunday's 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

The Bills lost by more than three points, but a field goal could have influenced the rest of the game. Gailey's decision also indicates a lack of faith in his kicker on a team that ended a seven-quarter touchdown drought Sunday.

"Sometimes it just doesn't work out," Lindell said of Gailey's decision. "Certainly, I'd like to be able to … "

Lindell's voice trailed off as he tried to answer a pointed question diplomatically.

"You watch other games, and you see guys making two or three 50s in a game," Lindell said. "I want to play, too."

The Bills trailed, 7-3, with 10:18 left in the second quarter and had the ball on the Colts' 34-yard line after Ryan Fitzpatrick took a 4-yard sack. Rather than try the field goal or go for the first down on fourth and 14, Gailey elected to punt.

Shawn Powell lofted a 23-yard punt Tom Zbikowski fair caught at the Colts' 11-yard line. The net gain from the spot of the field goal – had Lindell missed – was 31 yards.

The Lucas Oil Stadium roof was closed. The temperature inside was 70 degrees. In pregame warm-ups, Lindell made a kick on that side of the field from 55 yards. He made one from 51 yards and sent one wide from 58 yards at the other end of the field.

"Usually, I just say ‘When you get to the 35,' " Lindell said of his range. "It's been like that for 10 years or whatever.

"Get to there, and I don't have to worry about distance. It's just a matter of hitting a clean ball and keeping it straight. You go outside of that, I have to make sure I sting it a little bit."

Lindell has made 17 of his 30 attempts from 50 yards or longer throughout his career.
Gailey estimated his comfort level with Lindell's range was "50, 51, 52, somewhere right in there."
"He might make it, and he might not," Gailey said. "We were playing pretty good defensively, and I thought if we backed them up down there and held them, it was better for us percentage-wise and we'd be able to get a touchdown out of it because of field position."
On the Colts' ensuing possession, they drained 6:03 off the clock with a 12-play drive that ended on a 25-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal.
Gailey also declined to have Lindell kick a 53-yarder (also indoors) in overtime against the Arizona Cardinals in Week Six. The Bills punted, yet still won with a point-blank Lindell field goal set up by a Jairus Byrd interception.
"I'm just ready to kick when he wants me to kick," Lindell said. "Certainly, I prepare to make them. But he calls what he wants to call.
"I hope he thinks I can make that and he just wanted to pin them. I want them all. I want to attempt it."


Bills defensive end Mario Williams made his presence felt against the Colts. He recorded three sacks, a half-sack short of the career-best he set with the Houston Texans in 2007.

All of Williams' sacks Sunday came on third downs and forced punts. He added another hit on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and deflected a pass.

Williams claimed his stellar performance didn't matter because of the final score.

"I told you before all I want to do is go out and play ball and try to help us get in position to win," Williams said. "It's 11 people on a defense. Obviously, one particular effort helps, but we need all 11."

Williams leads the Bills with 8.5 sacks, the most since Aaron Schobel finished with 10 sacks in 2009. Williams has seven sacks over his last six games and five sacks in the four games since having wrist surgery during the bye week.

"The biggest thing for me is my morale and feeling better," Williams said. "That helped me tremendously."


The last time the Bills lost despite a 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver in the same game was more than six years ago.

Stevie Johnson had one of the best games of his career. For the second time in 33 games, he gained at least 100 yards. He also had the longest play of his career, forced a fumble and recovered it after Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception in the fourth quarter.

Fitzpatrick targeted Johnson 15 times. Johnson caught six of them for 106 yards. He broke behind Colts cornerback Darius Butler up the right sideline for a 63-yard gain in the second quarter.

C.J. Spiller ran 14 times for 107 yards, a 7.6-yard average. He has six straight games of at least 100 yards from scrimmage, the longest such streak by a Bill since Thurman Thomas in 1992-93.


Colts receiver Reggie Wayne had eight catches for 108 yards. He moved into 11th place on the NFL's all-time receptions list and 14th place on the all-time receiving yardage list.

By the second quarter, he had broken Cris Carter's record for consecutive games with at least three catches, extending his streak to 59 games.