Rex Ryan said when he was hired this spring that he wanted to build a bully in Buffalo. If Sunday's game against the Colts was any indication, he meant that statement wholeheartedly.
Indy has been rightfully promoted this offseason as a playoff team with Super Bowl potential, primarily because of their offense led by Andrew Luck. If you thought Ryan was going to be intimidated in the least by that offense or Mr. Luck, you were sadly mistaken.
I charted 55 total plays where Luck dropped back to pass, including two-point conversion plays, sacks and penalties. Of those 55 plays, Rex Ryan blitzed Luck with five pass rushers or more 25 times. That is to say slightly less than half of the times Luck was supposed to throw the ball there were at least five guys coming at him trying to take his head off. At least one time, they sent seven after the Colts quarterback.
Even when the Bills only rushed four defenders, they usually had the appearance of blitzing by having some of the down defensive linemen drop out while some of the linebackers and/or safeties, who were initially lined up off the ball, rushing the passer from depth.
Honestly, a lot of the four man rushes only came after the Bills were up big in the second half, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that had the game been closer the ratio of blitzes would been even higher. In the first half, Luck dropped back to pass 27 times and there were five or more rushers coming after him on 18 of those attempts.
It appears the intent was to force Luck to make quick decisions without allowing him to go through all of his reads. On the all-22, you can see several instances where guys are running open, but Luck goes elsewhere because he simply didn't have time to scan the field. Keep in mind that Luck may not yet be as good as Peyton Manning or Tom Brady at diagnosing plays pre-snap, but he is still pretty damn good at it.
There were several times when it was clear that Rex had him confused about where the rush was coming from and where the openings were in the coverage, and that led to a very uneven performance by the Colts offense overall. When it was all said and done, Luck ended up with only 243 yards passing on a whopping 49 passes (5 yards per attempt) to go with two interceptions against two touchdowns. He was also sacked twice and hit countless other times.
Ryan and the Bills have no time to pat themselves on the back with their division rivals, the Patriots and Brady, coming to town this Sunday. I have no idea if the Bills will try to get after Brady like they got after Luck or if they will be anywhere near as successful. However, if the results are even close to the same, the Bills will have a good chance of winning the game and sending shock waves across the league.
It's only Week 2, but the Bills are already showing signs of being the bully Rex envisioned when he took the job earlier this year. If they can dominate the Patriots, that would also solidify my view of the Bills as a potential playoff team this year. I'm not sure anybody would be looking forward to playing a Rex Ryan coached defense in the cold of January this season.
It's early, but this game could say a lot about who the Bills will be this year. Stay tuned!