Jan 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is pressured by Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) during the third quarter in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Indianapolis Colts had many strong moments in a solid win at home against the Cincinnati Bengals, but they also have several issues they need to clean up if they want to win in Denver this Sunday. This week, the good prevailed over the bad, and the Colts have moved on to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Andrew Luck played one of his greatest games against Cincinnati contributing to his short but already stellar career. He made some spectacular plays, none of what Luck likes to call “bonehead” plays, which contributed to highlight reels throughout the national sports news circuit.
No play was better than the third quarter touchdown pass he threw to rookie Donte Moncrief. Luck stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure, Cincinnati defender Carlos Dunlap started to take Luck to the turf, and Luck floated a perfect pass to the corner of the end zone where Moncrief was there to haul in the ball without breaking stride. It was the best touchdown toss of Wildcard Weekend.
To me, Indianapolis didn’t really have one moment that I would say was their worst moment of the game. Dropped passes, fumbles, and penalties are things the Colts need to clean up to advance and survive.
Jan 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) is unable to catch a pass against Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Terence Newman (23) in the first quarter in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
T.Y. Hilton has grown into a very good receiver this year, making most fans forget that he had drop issues his rookie season. For that reason, Hilton’s play Sunday was surprising and left many to question just how healthy his hamstring really is after resting it recently. He had two crucial third down drops and another drop that could’ve went for a touchdown.
Hilton had one of the best receiving playoff games in the history of the NFL last season against the Kansas City Chiefs. Quite frankly, I’d expect more of his playoffs games to lean towards that Chiefs game rather than the rough showing he just had, given the amount of uncharacteristic drops he had on Sunday.
The Colts scored a touchdown on their opening possession of the game Sunday for the first time all season and Andrew Luck played the kind of game Indianapolis needs from him to make a deep playoff run. They have an opportunity to clean up the mistakes they made this past Sunday, move on, and play even better this Sunday against a tougher opponent. This would be the best time of the season to prove to the rest of the NFL that the Indianapolis Colts can beat a top tier team.