For the first time since December 28, 2008, the Indianapolis Colts pitched a shutout.
The Colts (5-2) offense seemed shaky at times with drops and turnovers, but it was the defense that was the aggressor in this game which resulted in a 27-0 demolition of the Cincinnati Bengals. Who Dey What?
Andrew Luck proved once again why he should be the leading candidate for league MVP at this point in the season. Despite a few errant throws and numerous drops by his receivers, Luck managed to throw for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Luck was aided by the best rushing performance so far this season (171 yards). T-Rich and Bradshaw each averaged better than 5 yards per carry as they combined for 129 yards. Boom Herron added another 37 yards on 5 carries late in the fourth quarter when the game’s outcome was already determined.
TY Hilton was marvelous for the 2nd consecutive game with 107 yards on 7 catches.
Let’s tear off the Band-aid really quick and talk about where the Colts failed – fumbles. Luck appeared to have properly placed the ball in the arms of T-Rich, but the ball was never secured which resulted in a fumble. Bradshaw also was responsible for a lost fumble. Fumbles cost the Colts the game against Philly and luckily the Bengals played with zero effort yesterday or else they could have been costly again. But whenever the Colts turned the ball over – it was the defense who pulled the Colts out of the fire.
The Bengals managed a laughable 135 total yards of offense and did not even cross midfield until the 4th quarter. Andy Dalton – the NFL’s latest $100 million quarterback – looked more like a redshirt freshman making his first career start. He completed just 18 of 38 passes for 126 yards and was under constant pressure all afternoon. In fact, it was a sack by Zack Kerr which secured the shutout. Dalton’s QBR for the day: 7.9!
Giovani Bernard, one of the league’s premier running backs thus far, was completely squashed. He only managed 17 yards on 7 carries.
To say the Colts’ defense dominated the Bengals is an understatement. Yes, the Bengals were without AJ Green, one of the best receivers in the league, but he also missed last week’s game and the Bengals still managed to score 37 points. Yesterday – ZERO.
Coming into 2014 most fans were leery of the defense and were worried there would be pressure on the offense to score 40 points a game. I think after yesterday’s performance most fans should be walking with an extra step in their giddy-up today as I think it is fair to say that the Colts have one of the better defenses in the league.
Coming into yesterday, the Bengals were averaging 26.8 points per game, and they looked completely overwhelmed right from the start.
According to ESPN.com, the Colts have the 5th best pass defense and 9th best rush defense – seriously, when is the last time that has been the case? Ever since Peyton Manning was our QB, the Colts offense has always been the focal point of the organization – but now the scale may be tipping in favor of the defense. We know the offense can put up points – but now I’m more anxious for their next game just to see what our top-10 defense can do.
The Colts appear to be clicking on all cylinders on both sides of the ball right now. Three weeks ago, the “experts” said the Bengals were one of the best teams in the league. I think it is safe to say that the Bengals are completely overrated. The Patriots – despite the drubbing of these very same Bengals two weeks ago – are still far away from a perfect team. So, it looks like the Colts and Broncos are destined for a rematch in the AFC Championship game. Book it!
The Colts will put their five-game winning streak on the line next Sunday when they travel to Pittsburgh. Kickoff set for 4:25 EST.