It wasn’t the prettiest, but the Colts hung on and managed to beat the Ravens 20-13 in Indianapolis.
In a game that saw a combined 7 turnovers and 11 penalties respectively, the Colts were victorious in what was otherwise, an incredibly sloppy game of football. In some ways, Chuck Pagano and his team “out-Baltimored” the Baltimore Ravens, by winning a close and physical game of football against his former team. The team whose defense he used as a blueprint to model his own defense after as now Colts’ head coach.
Despite two Baltimore Ravens’ fumbles in the first half, one by Steve Smith and another by returnman Jacoby Jones, the Colts only had a 6-3 lead to end the first half, aided by two field goals from Adam Vinatieri.
The Colts moved the ball well enough, but were only 2-5 in their red zone opportunities in this one. QB Andrew Luck made some big plays, but was uncharacteristically a bit off in some of his throws and decision making. The offense didn’t seem to get in much of a rhythm until later in the game.
It was the Colts’ defense that was the big hero in this one. Baltimore was only 1-11 in 3rd down opportunities and 1-3 in their red zone opportunities. The Colts’ defense limited them to just 3 points in the first half, and it only surrendered a touchdown late to Ravens’ running back Justin Forsett.
The Colts took a 20-6 lead after QB Andrew Luck scampered into the end zone on a 13-yard touchdown run with 8:56 left in the 4th quarter. It was at that point, where most Colts’ fans felt pretty comfortable with the outcome in this one, especially given how well the defense had played to this point.
The defense gave up a quick touchdown scoring drive, which ended on the aforementioned Forsett touchdown run, and it was now 20-13 Colts with 7:16 remaining.
In what appeared to be the game clinching drive, the Colts went 5 minutes and 27 seconds and 73 yards to the Ravens’ 11-yard line, before Ahmad Bradshaw uncharacteristically fumbled and Baltimore recovered.
Baltimore had an 8 play, 32 yard drive which ended on Greg Toler deflecting a Joe Flacco pass to Steve Smith along the sideline on 4th and 2. Colts win 20-13.
I’ll take the win against a very good football team, but the Colts had multiple opportunities to put the Ravens away in this one and instead let them hang around even until the closing seconds of the game.
They had 3 turnovers later in the second half, including 2 in the red zone. One was a forced (and ill-advised) scrambling Andrew Luck throw to Ahmad Bradshaw at the Ravens’ goal-line that was deflected and caught by Ravens’ ILB C.J. Mosley with 1:01 left in the 3rd quarter. The other, was the previously mentioned Ahmad Bradshaw fumble.
Still, it was great to see the Colts’ defense play this well, as this was the type of defensive performance that Chuck Pagano envisioned seeing when he first came to Indianapolis. It just so happened to come against his former team.
The defense was led by stellar play from OLB Bjoern Werner, who had 2 sacks and multiple pressures, as well as CB Vontae Davis, who played the role of shutdown cornerback well, with a 29-yard interception in the 3rd quarter and was consistently blanketing Ravens’ wide receivers.
Dwayne Allen also caught a 6-yard touchdown for the Colts with 10:33 left in the 3rd quarter.
T.Y. Hilton led the Colts with 9 receptions and 90 yards receiving.
Ahmad Bradshaw led the Colts rushing with 15 carries for 68 rushing yards.