INDIANAPOLIS — The New Orleans Saints took advantage of an inexperienced Indianapolis Colts secondary to put up big numbers in a 38-27 win at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Colts have now lost three straight games since Gardner Minshew took over as their full-time starter at quarterback, replacing injured rookie Anthony Richardson.
The Colts scored first on Sunday, as head coach Shane Steichen elected to take three points off of the board after a Saints’ penalty on a field goal attempt. Instead of taking the field goal, Steichen had his offense go for it on fourth-and-one from the New Orleans 10-yard line. Minshew then hit a wide-open Michael Pittman for an easy touchdown.
The Saints answered right back with a Derek Carr to Alvin Kamara 18-yard score to tie the game.
The Colts added a Matt Gay 20-yard field goal at the beginning of the second quarter to retake the lead.
Defensive end DeForest Buckner then strip-sacked Carr on New Orleans’ next possession, and defensive lineman Dayo Odeyingbo recovered the fumble. The Colts took advantage of the short field, converting the takeaway into a Zack Moss 1-yard touchdown and a 17-7 advantage.
The Saints again responded to a touchdown drive with a touchdown drive, as quarterback Taysom Hill broke free for a 20-yard scoring run to cut the deficit to 17-14.
Linebacker Zaire Franklin injured his knee on the play. The NFL’s leading tackler went back to the locker room before returning to the field before the end of the half.
New Orleans then took its first lead of the game at 21-17 on a Carr to Rashid Shaheed 58-yard touchdown strike.
Gay kicked a 42-yard field to make it 21-20 at halftime.
The Colts were driving for a go-ahead score in the third quarter before defensive back Paulson Adebo intercepted Minshew by the goal line. The Saints turned the turnover into a Kamara 16-yard touchdown run to extend their lead to 28-20.
New Orleans kept the big plays coming as Hill connected with Shaheed for a 44-yard gain. The referees initially ruled the play a Rodney Thomas interception as both players had their hands on the ball, but replay showed Thomas pulled the ball away after Shaheed hit the ground to complete the catch. Hill then scored from a yard out to make it, 35-20.
The Colts didn’t go quietly, as Minshew found tight end Drew Ogletree for a 33-yard touchdown to narrow the Saints’ lead to one possession.
The Colts’ offense got the ball back with a chance to tie but only picked up one first down before punting. The Saints closed the game out with a Blake Grupe 27-yard field goal after another big pass play — a Carr to Shaheed 51-yard gain.
The Colts now sit at 3-5 on the season. They will visit their former head coach, Frank Reich, and the Carolina Panthers next week on FOX59’s broadcast partner, CBS4, at 4:05 p.m.