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Colts QB Richardson struggles; Bills safety Hamlin shines in Buffalo’s 23-19 preseason win

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson (5) passes against the Buffalo Bills during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Colts rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson threw an interception and was unable to generate much offense with his legs either during Indianapolis’ preseason-opening 23-19 loss to the Buffalo Bills in an outing decided by the third-stringers on Saturday.

The Bills, meantime, got an emotional boost with safety Damar Hamlin credited with three tackles over two-plus defensive series in his first competitive game since going into cardiac arrest and being resuscitated on the field during a game at Cincinnati on Jan. 2. Hamlin showed no signs of hesitation and made a key impact on his second defensive snap by stopping running back Evan Hull for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Buffalo 40 to end the Colts’ second possession.

Trailing 13-10, the Bills went ahead for good with 6:11 left in the third quarter, when Matt Barkley hit Tyrell Shavers for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Shavers’ touchdown made up for his miscue earlier in the quarter when Kyle Allen’s pass tipped off his hands and led to Darius Rush’s 52-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Richardson, the No. 4 draft pick out of Florida and third quarterback selected in the draft, failed to quell questions about his accuracy over 13 college starts. He finished 7 of 12 for 67 yards and an interception and two carries for 7 yards.

After completing his first two attempts, Richardson dropped back and attempted an awkward, side-armed pass which sailed over Isaiah McKenzie and was easily intercepted by Dane Jackson. On his next attempt, Richardson nearly over-threw Michael Pittman if not for the receiver reaching up to make a leaping catch.

Richardson’s much-anticipated first start was overshadowed by the more experienced Gardner Minshew in an offseason-long quarterback competition.

Minshew, who is more familiar with Colts first-year coach Shane Steichen’s offense, completed all six attempts for 72 yards. He also oversaw an 12-play, 88-yard scoring drive capped by Jake Funk’s 1-yard run to cut Buffalo’s lead to 10-7 in the final seconds of the first half.

With the notable exceptions of quarterback Josh Allen and receiver Stefon Diggs, the Bills had most of their starters play the first quarter. Kyle Allen, signed this offseason to serve as Josh Allen’s backup, struggled in finishing 8 of 15 for 122 yards and an interception. Barkley finished 14 of 15 for 172 yards, including a 13-yard TD pass to Dezmon Patmon.


Colts: LB Segun Olubi did not return after sustaining a concussion.

Bills: OL Tommy Doyle was ruled out with a knee injury.


Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard played the first two series in his return after the three-time All-Pro missed a majority of last season because of back surgery and a concussion. Leonard was not credited with a tackle a week after being cleared for contact.


With two cameramen following his every step, Richardson emerged from the tunnel about 3 1/2 hours before kickoff to take in his surroundings. Richardson walked the length of the field and back, dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, with a Colts ballcap on his head.


Colts: Host Chicago Bears on Saturday, Aug. 19.

Bills: At Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, Aug. 19.