CINCINNATI – If you are to trust the recent trend over the last month-and-a-half, then the prospects didn’t look that great for the Colts as they made the two-hour drive to the Southeast.
Since the bye week, the Colts like clockwork have won a game and then lost a game. Five weeks have followed this trend with the play in those games having just as much of a roller coaster effect.
You can make that six weeks after a chilly afternoon at Paul Brown Stadium as a number of issues the Colts have had all season long crept back in a 42-28 loss to the Bengals on Sunday afternoon. The Colts fall to 8-5 on the season and now fall to fourth place in the AFC Playoff Standings.
In keeping with season trends, the Colts had to once again play from behind in the opening minutes. Andy Dalton led the Bengals on a 10-play 83 yard drive that he finished with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Jones for a 7-0 lead.
With the Colts offense in neutral-failing to convert on six third-down opportunities-the defense was able to hold the Cincinnati offense off the board till late in the quarter. Late in the second quarter the Bengals made their move as they drove 65 yards to the Colts’ one yard line before the Indianapolis defense stiffened.
It appeared they had stopped the Bengals on fourth down when Benjarvus Green-Ellis was tripped up on his run towards the goal line by Josh Chapman. Originally ruled a stop, the referees overturned their decision after a review, giving Cincinnati a 14-0 lead at the break.
More of a shootout ensued in the second half but it was the Bengals who fired the first shot with an 80-yard drive to start the half, capped off by another Green-Ellis touchdown to make it 21-0. Da’Rick Rogers made his first big play as a Colts player to prevent the shutout as he broke tackles after a ten-yard gain and then took off for a 69-yard touchdown to cut the Bengals lead to 14.
Working with a short field, Luck set up another scoring drive with a 29-yard run that was followed by a touchdown pass to LaVon Brazill that cut the Bengals lead to seven.
Dalton once again had an answer for the Colts as he led back-to-back scoring drives after the Indianapolis surge in the third quarter. Dalton hit Jermaine Gresham for a one-yard touchdown late in the third quarter then found A.J. Green for a nine-yard scoring strike early in the fourth to push the lead back to 21.
Brazill hauled in another touchdown pass in the fourth, this time from 15-yards, to temporarily cut the Bengals lead to 14. But with the help of a long punt return, Dalton was able to get the Bengals back on the scoreboard again with an eight-yard touchdown run, that keeps the Colts’ roller coaster season on a consistent pace.