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What We Learned: Colts vs. Vikings

What did we learn from the Colts’ 39-36 overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings?

Indianapolis Colts v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts lost their fourth straight game, but Saturday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings was far different from the previous three. After leading 33-0 at halftime, the Vikings stormed all the way back and came away with a 39-36 overtime victory, becoming the first team in NFL history to win a game in which they trailed by 33 points.

The Colts now sit at 4-9-1 on the season and are 1-4 under interim head coach Jeff Saturday with games against the 8-6 Los Angeles Chargers, 8-5-1 New York Giants, and 1-12-1 Houston Texans to close out their season.

Here’s what stood out most from the Colts’ historic loss to the Vikings on Saturday:

  • Colts end up on the wrong side of NFL history after blowing a 33-point lead

Saturday’s loss will be remembered for some time for the Colts, and it’s not because it’s their fourth consecutive, either. Indy ran away with the ballgame early on and eventually found themselves leading 33-0 after various mistakes from the Vikings’ offense. For around two quarters, it looked like the Colts were going to come away with their most significant upset victory of the 2022 season. Then the unimaginable happened.

Minnesota went on to score touchdowns on three straight drives and slowly began cutting into the Colts’ lead. Thanks to a few untimely mistakes and Indy playing ultra-conservative, before you knew it, with just less than three minutes to go, the Vikings had stormed all the way back from 33 down to tie the game at 36.

In overtime, the Vikings eventually completed the NFL’s greatest comeback with a game-winning field goal that sent Indy to 4-9-1, leaving a terrible taste in the Colts’ mouths after perhaps the worst regular-season loss the franchise has ever suffered. Saturday’s game, along with their underwhelming season, will be one Indianapolis looks to eventually put behind them.

  • Colts put up their best first-half performance of the season

Historic collapse aside, the Colts had their finest first-half performance of the season. The team scored a season-high 33 points in the first two quarters and every single unit contributed in a massive way to start the game. Cornerback Dallis Flowers had a 49-yard kickoff return to open the game; JoJo Domann returned a blocked punt for a touchdown; cornerback Isaiah Rodgers recovered a forced fumble from linebacker Zaire Franklin, which led to an eventual touchdown and a 17-0 lead. After two field goal drives, safety Julian Blackmon had a 17-yard pick-six, which gave the Colts a 30-0 lead before halftime.

Let’s not forget about how well the defensive line played, too. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was under heavy duress constantly in the first half. Indy’s defense recorded a season-best seven sacks and forced Cousins into two untimely interceptions. The Colts’ performance in the first half, especially on defense, was primarily the reason they had such a massive lead early.

The team deserves to be given credit for such a tremendous performance in the first half. It’s just unfortunate that Saturday’s game won’t be remembered for the Colts’ best performance of the season, but rather for the worst collapse in NFL history.

  • Colts continue to climb in the draft order

For some Colts fans, losses are all that matter going forward. If you’re looking for more of a glass-half-full take from Saturday’s loss, the Colts remain in the top ten of the draft order with only three games to go.

Additionally, thanks to the New Orleans Saints’ victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, the Colts now hold the sixth overall selection and may continue to climb with games against the 8-6 Los Angeles Chargers, 8-5-1 New York Giants and 1-12-1 Houston Texans to close out their season.

With a Los Angeles Rams win over the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football, the Colts would move up to the fifth overall pick, which could position the organization to select its first quarterback in the first round in over a decade.