Let’s take a look at how my players did.
Philip Rivers (QB)
Rivers took a lot of blame for the Colts week 5 loss to the Browns. This was an important game for him to get the offense back on track, and that is exactly what he did.
Statistically Rivers completed 29 passes on 44 attempts, compiling 371 yards in the air. He also threw three touchdown passes and one, horribly timed interception that took place early in the 4th quarter.
The interception wasn’t even that awful of a throw, it was just problematic because the Colts were up 1 and there was plenty of time for the Bengals to get a score and shift momentum their way. Burrow even got his team in field goal range but Bengals kicker, Randy Bullock, missed the 48 yard attempt.
In my earlier piece for this week, I mentioned how awful the Colts have been with red zone offense. I think these videos will speak for themselves, so check out two of Rivers’ passing touchdowns.
Where was this all year? Don’t ask me. I don’t want to get ahead of myself because it was just the Bengals, but Rivers showed what he is capable of on Sunday. He did exactly what the Colts wanted when they signed him. He’s a veteran in the league who has an arm that can get big yards and points on the board.
DeForest Buckner (DT)
The Colts defense got off to a bad start this week. The Bengals had 21 points on the board before you could blink. Yes, I realize the first touchdown was practically all due to the Jack Doyle fumble on the opening drive, but one of the supposed top defenses should be able to stop the Bengals in at least one of their first three drives.
Eventually the Colts were able to figure out how to stop the Bengals offense and while credit can go to several players for the turnaround, Buckner deserves a solid chunk of it.
Buckner had five total tackles, including four solos. He recorded two tackles for loss including his sack, and four QB hits.
I talked a lot in my previous piece about the importance of disrupting the quarterback and exploiting the inexperience of Joe Burrow. Buckner was applying the necessary pressures to get this done.
One of the defining plays of the game came early in the fourth quarter on third down for the Bengals. The Colts had just scored a touchdown to take a one point lead, and the Bengals had an opportunity to respond with a score of their own. The Colts were able to force a three and out on Cincinnati and it was all because of Buckner’s sack on that third down play.
This is exactly the type of performance that Buckner needed. He has been a force all season long, and the Colts relied on him heavy in this game.