Tyrod Taylor sharp in debut as Rex Ryan's QB call pays early dividends

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Tyrod Taylor made his first NFL start Sunday in the Buffalo Bills' 27-14 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

It just wasn't at quarterback.

A week after naming Taylor their starter, the Bills opened the game in a Wildcat formation that featured Matt Cassel under center and Taylor motioning as a receiver from the slot into the backfield.

That play failed -- Cassel handed off to LeSean McCoy for a 6-yard loss -- but the rest of Taylor's debut with the Bills went as smoothly as coach Rex Ryan could have hoped.

Ryan took a risk by handing the keys to Taylor, the former Baltimore Ravens backup whom Ryan has long coveted, and not Cassel, the underwhelming but predictable veteran. It's early, but Ryan's gamble is paying off.

"We said it all along, and you can ignore practices and you can ignore the film if you want, but we know who he is. We felt great about it," Ryan said after the game.

Taylor completed 77 percent of his passes in three preseason games and kept up that pace Sunday, completing 14 of 19 passes for 195 yards. The fifth-year quarterback showed touch by lofting a 51-yard, first-quarter touchdown pass to Percy Harvin and also avoided any interceptions or other critical mistakes.

"[Taylor] had a 123 quarterback rating," Ryan said. "You're gonna win a lot of games that way."

As advertised, Taylor also made plays with his feet. His 31-yard scramble on a third-and-4 in the second quarter saved a Bills drive and led to a 26-yard touchdown run by Karlos Williams, who helped pick up the slack on a down day from McCoy (41 yards on 17 carries).

"This guy's got some magic to him, with his legs," Ryan said. "He's smart. He did a great job."