INDIANAPOLIS – The Commanders beat the Colts 17-16 on a late touchdown in Sam Ehlinger’s first NFL start at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Colts led 16-10 late, but Taylor Heinicke found Indianapolis native Terry McLaurin for 33 yards down to the Indy one-yard line with under a minute to play. Heinicke plowed into the end zone from one-yard out on the next play for the game-winning score.
Frank Reich turned to Ehlinger after benching veteran Matt Ryan, who started the first seven games of the season and struggled, leading the league in interceptions and fumbles.
The Colts scored first after Jonathan Taylor broke free for a 27-yard run into Washington territory, setting up a Chase McLaughlin 46-yard field goal.
The Commanders responded on their next drive. Heinicke hit McLaurin for a 42-yard gain down to the Colts’ 19-yard line. Heinicke connected with Antonio Gibson for a nine-yard touchdown and the lead three plays later.
The Colts were driving for points before halftime, before Ehlinger lost the ball and Washington recovered to take a 7-3 lead into the locker room.
Ehlinger led a field goal drive on the team’s first possession of the second half to make it 7-6.
The Colts then appeared poised to take the lead after an Ehlinger to Alec Pierce 47-yard pass down to the Commanders’ 34, but Taylor fumbled two plays later to end the threat.
The defense forced a three-and-out after a Yannick Ngakoue and Ifeadi Odenigbo sack, then took the lead on McLaughlin’s third field goal of the game. Parris Campbell provided the key play in the scoring drive with a 38-yard catch and run.
All-pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard returned after missing the last three games with a concussion and broken nose and made an instant impact, intercepting Heinicke early in the fourth quarter. The Colts turned the takeaway into a Nyheim Hines six-yard touchdown run to take a 16-7 lead.
The Colts fall to 3-4-1 on the year and are back on the road next week to take on the Patriots at 1:00 p.m. on CBS4.