Spiller leads Bills over Colts

Buffalo Bills' Joique Bell runs for a touchdown past Indianapolis Colts' Terrell Skinner....

Buffalo Bills' Joique Bell runs for a touchdown past Indianapolis Colts' Terrell Skinner. (REUTERS/Mark Blinch)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

The scalper outside the Rogers Centre has a wad of ducats in his hand and a forlorn look on his face.

“Look at this!” he laments. “These tickets have a face value of $100. And I’m lucky if I get half of that.”

If anything at all.

Indeed, demand for this chapter of the Bills In Toronto Series is lukewarm at best.

On this Thursday night, the alleged moribund Bills are set to face the Indianapolis Colts in a pretty much meaningless exhibition game.

Then again, aren’t they all in the pre-season?

Perhaps.

But the announced crowd of 39,583 who did take the time to show up probably are quite glad they did.

This one actually had excitement.

It had an explosive first quarter in which the two teams combined for 35 points, 21 of those coming from the Bills.

And it had the iconic Peyton Manning attempting 16 passes in 15 minutes, leading many press box wags to debate if he was the best football player to ever showcase his talents on Toronto soil.

Whatever the case, the Bills 34-21 victory, while it means squat in the overall scheme of things, offered much more action than Buffalo’s two previous regular-season outings at the Rogers Centre, a 19-13 defeat at the hands of the New York Jets last December and a 16-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins in 2008.

Little optimism

Most of the so-called experts are projecting the Bills will finish at, or near, the bottom of the league this season, leaving their faithful fans with little reason for optimism.

But on this night, there was, at least, a glimmer of hope, especially in the form of running back C.J. Spiller.

When the Bills selected the electrifying Spiller in the first round of the NFL draft in April, many figured he would be one of the only bright spots for the Bills in 2010.

We can’t speak for the rest of the team, but Spiller certainly came as advertised, rushing for 54 yards and a 31-yard touchdown romp in less than a half of play.

“That’s a great defence we just went up against and that’s a big confidence booster,” Spiller said of his nifty scamper into the end zone. “The guys did a great job of covering them up and opening up the running lanes.

“And then you’ve seen us on the pass protection. If we just give Trent some time, he makes big plays for us.”

Spiller was referring to often-criticized quarterback Trent Edwards, whose legions of detractors refer to him as Captain Dumpoff for his penchant of refusing to throw the ball down the field, opting to go to the flats instead.

But in the second quarter, with the score knotted at 14-14, even the Trent bashers were in shock when Edwards hoisted a 70-yard touchdown bomb to wideout Lee Evans. “It was just a deep flag route ... It’s just a matter of taking seven steps and throwing it as far as you can,” Edwards said matter of factly.

On the Colts side of the ball, returner specialist Sam Giguere brought back two kickoffs for 43 yards. Giguere, a wide receiver, is a native of Sherbrooke, Que., and attended the University of Sherbrooke.

All in all, there was plenty to whine about, like the empty seats and the at-times sloppy play. Heck, the loudest ovation of the night came when a security official tackled a fan who decided to run out on the field in the fourth quarter.

Maybe the Bills win is no big deal. Maybe disgruntled Bills fans won’t see this type of excitement once the regular season kicks off.

But for one pre-season game, at least, it certainly brought a smile to their faces.


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