Jim Kelly threw 3 touchdown passes, including a pair to Andre Reed, as the Buffalo Bills came back from a 17-point deficit late in the second quarter for a 34-23 victory over the Indianapolis Colts Sunday.
Kelly had only 2 touchdown passes in the Buffalo’s first 5 games, but the Kelly-to-Reed connection accounted for 2 third-quarter touchdowns that gave the Bills their first lead.
The Bills moved to 5-1 and remained atop the AFC East, while the Colts, last season’s division champion, dropped to 1-5.
“When you’re fighting to keep from drowning you keep fighting, and maybe you’re going to succeed,” said Bills Coach Marv Levy, whose team was blasted by Chicago, 24-3, last week.
Reed, who had 7 catches for 124 yards, caught touchdown passes of 16 and 12 yards, and Kelly completed 21 of 39 passes for 315 yards and his first multiple-touchdown game of the season. His other scoring pass went to Ronnie Harmon.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo defense held Eric Dickerson, the NFL rushing leader entering the game, to 66 yards in 18 carries. The rest of the Colts’ ground game gained 1 yard.
“There was no magic in what we did, we just played better,” Levy said. “We boiled it down to about 6 plays and repeated them and repeated them.”
The Colts turned 3 Buffalo turnovers into 13 points, including a 22-yard field goal by Dean Biasucci that put them back in the lead, 23-21, with 2 minutes gone in the fourth quarter.
But the Bills got the winning points 4 minutes later when Scott Norwood’s 45-yard field goal just cleared the crossbar.
Norwood later added a 19-yard field goal after Indianapolis quarterback Gary Hogeboom, who replaced injured starter Chris Chandler in the second quarter, fumbled deep in Colt territory and Bill linebacker Cornelius Bennett recovered.
Hogeboom threw an interception on the Colts’ next possession and the Bills converted that turnover into a 1-yard touchdown run by Robb Riddick to close out the scoring.
“You have to play 4 quarters,” Dickerson said. “When you play 3 or 2, you can’t win.”
Trailing at the half, 17-7, Buffalo scored on the second half’s first drive. Reed caught 3 Kelly passes during the 64-yard drive, including the touchdown pass from 16 yards.
Biasucci, who kicked 3 field goals, made it 20-14 with a 40-yard field goal after Willie Tullis recovered Jamie Mueller’s second fumble of the game at the Buffalo 40.
A 58-yard reception by Reed set up his second touchdown catch, from 12 yards out, that gave the Bills a 21-20 lead.
“We just couldn’t keep it up,” Indianapolis Coach Ron Meyer said. “Our offensive and likewise our defense, did not make the plays they did earlier.”
The Bills play the New York Jets next week. The Colts play Tampa Bay.