The Indianapolis Colts nearly rallied to defeat the Denver Broncos on national television Sunday night. Peyton Manning and the Broncos managed to expose and exploit all of the Colts’ flaws en route to the 31-24 win.
The Colts were down early, with three punts and an interception that turned into 24 first half points for the Broncos. The Colts managed to get on the scoreboard with a two-minute drill to end the half and an Andrew Luck super hero touchdown.
The Colts missed a number of scoring chances earlier in the game. They opted to go for the touchdown on fourth and goal from the one yard line and failed. The following possession also stalled inside the 10-yard line and the team opted for the field goal.
The Colts made things interesting in the fourth quarter after cutting the Broncos lead to 14 and recovering an onside kick. The drive was stalled by an interception, but the Colts managed to force a three-and-out by the Broncos. Luck led the team down for a touchdown that made it a one possession game.
Indy forced another three-and-out and the Colts had just under three minutes to tie the game. It came down to a fourth down play by Denver rookie Bradley Roby who broke up a pass intended for Reggie Wayne.
Luck was a 35-for-53 for 370 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He was under duress for most of the night, getting sacked three times and hit six more. Luck also had five carries for 19 yards and a touchdown.
Wayne returned to a meaningful football game since the last time he faced the Broncos. He led the team in receptions with nine for 98 yards.
Hakeem Nicks caught his first touchdown since 2012 and nearly had a second but failed to cross the goal line.
Dwayne Allen was the other recipient of a Luck touchdown, making a nice grab over a defender and then sprinting 41 yards down the sideline for the score.
The Colts defense was shredded for 361 total yards. Manning was 22-of-36 for 269 yards and three touchdowns. Without a pass rush, Manning had all day to find his target and wasn’t sacked until late in the fourth quarter.
All three touchdowns went to tight end Julius Thomas who finished the game with seven receptions for 104 yards. There wasn’t a single Colt who was able to come close to stopping him.
The Colts return home next week to host another high powered offense in the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.