Published November 25, 2012
| Sports Network
Indianapolis, IN – T.Y. Hilton returned a punt 75 yards for a score and caught a touchdown pass from fellow rookie Andrew Luck, sparking the Indianapolis Colts to a 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts (7-4) rebounded nicely from last week's humbling loss to the high-powered New England Patriots. The 59-24 dismantling halted their four- game winning streak, but just as they have done all season, the Colts quickly got back on track.
Luck had 240 yards on 20-of-37 passing with one interception for Indianapolis, which has yet to lose two straight games this season.
"I think that was a team victory right there, all phases," said Colts interim coach Bruce Arians. "Our special teams were huge, I thought they won the game for us. Not only with the return for the touchdown, but field position they created and how well they covered."
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 17-of-33 passes for 180 yards for the Bills (4-7), who have dropped four of five.
Buffalo made things interesting in the fourth quarter, but its rally from a 14-point deficit fell short.
Bills running back C.J. Spiller ran for totals of 41 and six yards to close out the third quarter. Fitzpatrick hit Stevie Johnson for 14 yards and Donald Jones for 12 before Lee Smith hauled in a 1-yard touchdown pass with 11:30 remaining.
Fitzpatrick threw an interception on the next drive, but Johnson, his intended target, bailed him out by stripping the ball from Indianapolis safety Tom Zbikowski and recovering the fumble at the Buffalo 47-yard line.
Johnson's hustle went for naught as Buffalo punted after gaining only two yards.
The Colts were pinned at their own five but managed to run out the remaining 3:22. Buffalo defensive back Stephon Gilmore was flagged for pass interference on third down inside of two minutes, sealing the win for Indianapolis.
"We had some opportunities and we didn't take advantage of the opportunities when we got them," said Bills coach Chan Gailey.
Buffalo was forced to go three-and-out on its first drive and Hilton's electrifying return gave Indianapolis an early lead.
If not for an offside penalty, the Bills once again would have punted without moving the chains after Fitzpatrick's failed third-down pass. Dwight Freeney's infraction kept the possession alive, and Buffalo reached enemy territory when a quick screen to T.J. Graham on 3rd-and-10 netted 24 yards. Rian Lindell eventually kicked a 33-yard field goal to put the Bills on the board.
Early in the second quarter, Hilton appeared to fumble near midfield on a punt return. The Florida International product got spun around and Buffalo's Nigel Bradham dislodged the ball with a vicious hit to the back of the head. The Bills recovered the ball, but the play was reversed when video showed Hilton had possession when his buttocks hit the ground.
Buffalo defensive back Justin Rogers wound up picking off a deflected pass on the second play of the subsequent drive. The Bills were unable to capitalize on the turnover as a third-down sack pushed them out of field goal range.
Adam Vinatieri then connected on a 25-yard field goal, capping a 12-play trek.
On the first play of the next Buffalo drive, Fitzpatrick hit Johnson in stride along the right sideline for 63 yards, and Lindell nailed a 31-yarder.
After the teams exchanged punts, Indianapolis got the ball back at its own 49 with 32 seconds remaining in the first half. The Colts were helped along by a pass interference penalty and Luck spiked the ball with one second left after Reggie Wayne was stopped short of the goal line. Vinatieri made a 19-yard field goal for a 13-6 lead at halftime.
Luck hooked up with Hilton for an 8-yard touchdown to account for all the scoring in the third quarter.
Luck joined Peyton Manning as the only Colts quarterbacks to throw for 3,000 yards in his rookie season ... Luck tied Sam Bradford for the most wins by a rookie quarterback drafted No. 1 overall ... Wayne had 102 yards on eight receptions ...Johnson caught six passes for 106 yards ... Spiller carried the ball 14 times for 107 yards ... The Bills made their first-ever trip to Lucas Oil Stadium.