Denver — Indianapolis Colts won one of the most exciting games of their history sleeping through three quarters before waking up in the fourth quarter and overtime to win 12-9 victory over their rivals the Denver Broncos. Based on Elias Sports Bureau research, the seven field goals combined in a match in which both teams scored through field goals was an NFL record.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore who was named the 2019 Defensive Player Award winner, played two of the biggest plays of the night that rewarded the Colts their faith in him in the offseason when they signed him by intercepting a pass at the end of regulation and a successful pass deflection to Russell Wilson in overtime.
The Colts are still a mess with regards to many aspects, however they’re 2-0 and in the center of the AFC South race.
Unsettling trend Unsettling trend: The Colts introduced major adjustments in their offensive line before the game. However, even though the lineup was changed however, the result didn’t. The Colts did not give up continuous penetration and struggled to create holes regularly during the run game. Matt Ryan was sacked six times, which equates to 21 sacks in the entire season. The Colts were ranked 27th on ESPN’s pass block win rate however it’s hard to imagine that they’ll get better in the coming weeks. The Colts changed newcomer Bernhard Raimann to left tackle, Matt Pryor to right tackle, and Braden Smith into right-guard. Many moves but not much to show off in the return.
QB breakdown Ryan’s struggles remained and may have gotten worse due to that the running back Jonathan Taylor and the first-quarter injury to Nyheim Hines. Ryan was able to throw two interceptions, which gave his season total of six (in the course of five contests). Ryan appeared overwhelmed at times, especially when he threw an awe-inspiring catch at Caden Sterns in the second quarter. Sterns was on the side of the field gazing directly at Ryan’s eyes, when Ryan somehow throw the ball straight to Sterns. Ryan showed some vigor in the fourth quarter which led to the Colts to a tie field goal that forced overtime. He’s going to need to get going faster.
Breakout performance: rookie player Alec Pierce had a coming-out performance, catching eight times for 81 yards. He also had three spectacular catches during the Colts in their tie-breaking game in the 4th quarter. The second-rounder in Cincinnati was Ryan’s preferred receiver, being targeted nine times, and was involved in several of the game’s important moments. The main concern with Pierce’s performance was his capacity to make a number of catchers in traffic, however Pierce had a few diverting and contested catch in the course of the contest, which helped to alter the tone of the Colts the young wide receivers. — Stephen Holder
A little-known fact to know Two fumbles on Wednesday, Ryan now has 11 in the current season. This is the highest number of fumbles by any player over 5 games in the merger in 1970.
Next game next game: the Jaguars vs. Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Oct. 16)
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 positive energy the Broncos have brought to the team after trading for player Russell Wilson has been lost in a growing drought for touchdowns by an opponent that continues to waste their heroic defense efforts. In short the Broncos offense has become so strong that it has brought the defense to the ground with it. A failed pass play with Wilson shooting the ball on fourth-and-inches in the final game, proved to be the game’s capper.
The Broncos have played in five games this season, scoring less than 16 score in 4 of the games. This has resulted in numerous penalty flags and missed blocks dropping 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. Therefore it’s true that the Broncos are currently 2-2 with two illogical late-game decisions made by Coach Nathaniel Hackett, both in prime-time situations.
Unsettling trend: Let’s look at it this way: the Broncos have a formidable defense to their last Super Bowl win — Super Bowl 50 to close the 2015 seasonand the defense’s performance Thursday night can’t be overlooked (six sacks and two interception). However, the Broncos are plagued by a touchdown issue on the opposite aspect of the ball and they’re not getting better. They were as last in the league in red zone offense, and 31st when it comes to scoring in goal-to go situations. The game on Thursday did not aid either of those numbers, with just 100 yards of offense the initial half. The second half was no better. Hackett and Wilson continue to say that they think the squad “is close” to breaking out however it appears to be nothing is happening at the moment.
Biggest gap in the gameplan Wilson was the top team rusher during the Week 4 defeat against the Raiders and was the team’s top rusher through the fourth period of Thursday. Hackett has often praised the benefits of running game in the Broncos offense. This was the very first time since Javonte Williams was placed on injured reserve due to an injury to her knee that ended the season was not the one everyone thought of. Even with their normally reliable two-tight end team, the Broncos had a difficult time. They racked up 54 yards of rush at the close in the 3rd quarter. 23 of which were rushed were accounted for by Wilson while 18 Wilson’s yards were recorded on a single play on the Broncos the first play in the contest.
The breakdown of QB: Wilson has been out of his element. There’s always a “short-week” aspect in any Thursday evening football game However, Wilson was not dialed in to begin with, beginning with the Broncos their first failed attempt to the Colts at 20 yards in the first play during the contest. Wilson was 21-of-39 in passing for 274 yards, and two interceptions. He was hit with sacks, and fumbled receivers and was ruled out for a concussion in the fourth quarter, before returning to play. It’s been a learning process that’s always difficult for the Broncos offense. John Elway once said it took him about half of a season before he felt at ease in Mike Shanahan’s debut season as coach, however, Wilson appears less at ease now than during the opener of the season.
Report on injuries The Broncos were without the running back Javonte Williams (knee) for the entire season, as well as outfield linebacker Randy Gregory (knee) for several weeks on Sunday, were plagued by a long list of injuries to be dealt with on Thursday too. The left tackle Garett Bolles was carted off during the fourth quarter because due to a knee injury as was linebacker Josey Jewell (knee) and cornerback Ronald Darby (knee) and linebacker Baron Browning (wrist) did not make it to the end of the game. — Jeff Legwold
Unknown statistic worth knowing: Brandon McManus’ field goal gave the team some of the first points that the Broncos are able to score in the quarter’s third of the season. At the time of the game, Denver had scored only two points thanks to an Jimmy Garoppolo safety in which the 49ers quarterback made a move out of in the goal line.
Next game: Chargers (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Oct. 17)