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What We Learned: Colts vs. Cowboys

What did we learn from the Colts’ 54-19 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football?

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

After a back-and-forth game through the first three quarters, the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Dallas Cowboys 54-19 on Sunday Night Football. Indy is now 4-8-1 and enters their bye week on three-game losing streak.

Coming out of their bye week, the Colts will take on the Minnesota Vikings, who are currently 10-2 and may very well be 11-2 after their Week 14 game. For fans that have one eye toward the future, Indy slid into the top ten of the draft after the conclusion of Sunday’s game. The Colts currently hold the ninth pick.

Here’s what stood out most during Indy’s performance against Dallas.

  • Colts’ offense starts strong but could not finish in fourth quarter

The Colts had perhaps their finest offensive performance through three quarters on Sunday, as they trailed just 21-19 entering the fourth quarter and looked like they may have had a chance of pulling off their biggest upset win of the season. Quarterback Matt Ryan started off strong with long completions to rookie wideout Alec Pierce and Ashton Dulin for a touchdown strike. Ryan letter on found Pierce for his second touchdown of the season and looked fairly poised through three quarters.

From there, however, Indy how their worst collapse of the season and had four straight drives that resulted in a turnover, which in turn resulted in a 33-0 run in the final quarter by Dallas. Ryan, who threw two costly interceptions and fumbled the ball, has now accounted for an alarming league-leading 14 fumbles.

In total, Indy has (30!) fumbles on the season, which is by far the most of any team in the league. Turnover has cost the Colts multiple games this season, and costly errors from Ryan and tight end Mo Alie-Cox were detrimental to Indy’s unimaginable fourth-quarter collapse.

  • Colts’ defense has second straight uncharacteristic performance

As horrendous as Indy’s offense was in the fourth quarter, their defense wasn’t much better. Dallas’ offense went on a 33-0 run at one point in the fourth quarter, and their 33 fourth-quarter points are tied for the second-most points scored by a team in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats and Info.

Looking at things from more of a glass-half-full perspective, both defensive end Kwity Paye and cornerback Stephon Gilmore had solid games for the Colts’ defense again. Paye had nine combined tackles and recorded a sack, bringing the former first-round pick’s totals to five sacks on the season. Gilmore, who’s played at a Pro Bowl level this season, recorded his second interception of the season.

Indy’s offense, much like they have been doing all season, didn’t do their defense any favors by committing turnovers on four consecutive drives. By the fourth quarter, the Colts’ defense was likely worn down and exhausted from having such little time on the sidelines. Ultimately, as great as Indy’s defense has been at times during stretches of the season, Sunday proved they simply cannot overcome too many errors from the offense.