Denver, Colorado -The Indianapolis Colts won one of the most exciting games of their history, sleeping through three and a half minutes before waking up in the fourth quarter and overtime to win an impressive 12-9 victory against Denver’s Denver Broncos.
Based on Elias Sports Bureau research, the seven field goals that were combined in a game during which each team scored only through field goals was an NFL record.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore The 2018 Defensive Player of the Year was the subject of the two most important plays of the night that rewarded the Colts their faith in signing him in the offseason by catching a ball late in regulation and a successful pass deflection to Russell Wilson in overtime.
The Colts are still a mess with regard to many aspects, however, they’re 2-0 and in the middle of the AFC South race.
Troubling trend The Colts made major adjustments in their offensive line before the game, however, while the lineup was changed but the outcomes didn’t. The Colts were able to maintain the ability to penetrate continuously and fail to create holes regularly during the run game. Matt Ryan was repeatedly sacked, giving the team 21 sacks for the entire season. The Colts were ranked 27th on ESPN’s passing block winning rate however it’s hard to imagine that they’ll get much better after Week 5. The Colts made newcomer Bernhard Raimann to left tackle, Matt Pryor to right tackle, and Braden Smith to right guard. A lot of moves, but nothing to show off in return.
QB breakdown Ryan’s troubles continued and could get worse because of that quarterback Jonathan Taylor and the injury in the first quarter to Nyheim Hines. Ryan also threw two interceptions, which gave his season a total of six (in 5 games). Ryan appeared exhausted at times most notably when he threw an awe-inspiring intercept toward Caden Sterns in the second quarter. Sterns was on the side of the field staring straight into Ryan’s eyes. Ryan somehow hit the ball straight to Sterns. Ryan showed some vigor in the fourth quarter and led to the Colts to a tying field goal that forced overtime, but he’s got to get going faster.
Highlight performance The rookie player Alec Pierce had a debut performance that included 8 receptions, and 81 yards, which included three spectacular catches during Colt’s tying drive of the 4th quarter. The second-rounder of Cincinnati was Ryan’s preferred receiver, who was targeted nine times, which included several of the game’s important moments. One of the issues with Pierce’s play was his capacity to make catches that were difficult in traffic, however, Pierce had a few dives and contested catches in the course of the contest, which helped to alter the look of Colt’s young wide receivers. –– Stephen Holder
Unknown statistic: With two fumbles Thursday, Ryan now has 11 on the year. This is the highest number for an individual player in just five contests since the merger in 1970.
If folks want to know when the Broncos officially used up their preseason expectations, circle Thursday night on the calendar and the Broncos’ overtime loss to the Colts in a teeth-grinding, chalkboard-scratching, hard-on-the-eyes game the Broncos had won until they didn’t.
The confidence the Broncos gained following the trade of player Russell Wilson has been squandered in a growing scoring drought for the team that continues to make a mess of their defense efforts. In the end, the Bronco’s offense has become an enormous anchor that has pulled the defense to the ground with it. A failed pass play that involved Wilson shooting the ball on fourth-and-inches, the game’s last game, proved to be the game’s capper.
The Broncos have played in five games this season and have scored at least 16 scores in 4 of their games. This has resulted in penalties and missed blocks and dropped passes (add another couple of passes on to the list on Thursday) as well as a general feeling of discomfort every time they’ve got the ball. Also, it is true that the Broncos are now 3-1 with two bizarre late-game calls made by head coach Nathaniel Hackett, both in prime-time situations.
A trend that is troubling: Look, the Broncos were able to ride a strong defense to their last Super Bowl win — Super Bowl 50 to close the 2015 season therefore the defensive effort Thursday night can’t be dismissed as a fluke (six sacks and 2 interceptions). However, the Broncos are plagued by a touchdown issue on the opposite aspect of the ball and it’s not getting better. They started the game as the last team in the league for red zone offense, and 31st when it comes to scoring in goal-to-go situations. It was a day that didn’t aid either of those numbers, with just the 103 yards they gained in the opening half. The second half was not much better. Hackett and Wilson constantly claim that they think the squad “is close” to breaking through however it appears to be something else is going on at present.
The biggest gap in the game plan: Wilson was the player with the highest rushing percentage during the loss in Week 4 at the Raiders and also the team’s top rusher through the 4th quarter of Thursday. Hackett has repeatedly praised the benefits of running a game as a part of the Bronco’s offense. The first match that the Broncos played since Javonte Williams was sent to the injured reserve after suffering an injury to her knee that ended the season wasn’t what anyone was thinking of. Even with their normally reliable two-tight end team, the Broncos had a difficult time. They had 54 yards of rushing at the close of three quarters. 23 of which were rushed were accounted for by Wilson while 18 Wilson’s yards came in a single game during the Bronco’s first play during the first quarter.
QB breakdown Wilson was out of the game. There’s always a short-week aspect for any Thursday evening game however, Wilson was not able to dial in his position, to begin with, and it started with the Broncos making their first miss within Colt’s 20-yard line on their first play in the match. Wilson had a pass completion of 21-of-39 for 274 yards and two interceptions. He was hit with sacks, and fumbled receivers, and was assessed for a concussion in the fourth quarter, before returning to the field. It’s been a learning process that’s always difficult for the Bronco’s offense. John Elway once said it took him about half of a season before he felt at ease during Mike Shanahan’s initial season as coach, however, Wilson isn’t as comfortable as when he played in the opening game of the season.
Report on injuries: The Broncos, who were without the running back Javonte Williams (knee) for the entire season, as well as the outside linebacker Randy Gregory (knee) for a number of weeks on Sunday, suffered a lengthy list of injuries to be dealt with on Thursday also. Right tackle Garett Bolles was taken off in the fourth quarter as a result of an injury to his leg as was linebacker Josey Jewell (knee) as well as cornerback Ronald Darby (knee) and linebacker Baron Browning (wrist) were unable to play the game.