The Indianapolis Colts were riding high heading into a matchup with their next door neighbor Bengals. They were winners of four straight and sitting in the driver’s seat of a playoff berth. It was a matchup that got seemingly easier on paper without Joe Burrow lining up under center. Unfortunately for the Colts, this one never seemed to get off the ground.
It was extremely fortunate and encouraging that the score was tied at 14 all when the two teams headed to their respective locker rooms for halftime. Falling behind 0-14, it looked like this one could get away quickly. The offense struggled to move the ball, May Gay missed a field goal and extra point, two things that he rarely does, and the defense was getting absolutely gashed on screen passes. Luckily, after the Colts finally punched one in, the defense picked off Jake Browning and scored on defense. A nifty two-point conversion breathed new life into this contest.
That was where the good news stopped. The Bengals stormed out of the locker room and hung 14 points on the board in consecutive drives. Struggling, but getting the ball back early in the fourth, the Colts managed to botch another special teams effort by muffing a punt when two players collided. The Bengals cashed in with three which still left some glimmer of hope for the road team.
The Colts were able to cross the goal line with almost ten minutes remaining, but the play was called back on a phantom holding call. That was the true end of this one as the Colts moved further and further away from the endzone with a drive killing interception to finish them off.
Yes, the Colts got the benefit of avoiding Burrow in this one, but as everyone saw on Monday Night Football, Browning is no slouch. He put up another impressive performance and showed that the Bengals aren’t going quietly into the night. Luckily, the Steelers and Texans both lost to allow the Colts to keep some form of pace in the ever tightening AFC. Saturday will now be a must win. They need to leapfrog the Steelers and keep the Bengals, Texans, Broncos, and Bills off their backs. Strap it down. The rest of this season is going to be wild.