There’s a cliché in sports — a win’s a win. If that saying ever applied to the modern-day NFL, it would be the victory the Indianapolis Colts earned against the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football to begin Week 5.
The Colts beat the Broncos, 12-9, despite not leading at any point during regulation. Indianapolis forced overtime with a last-second field goal, kicked a field goal to begin the extra session and then held Denver without any points in overtime.
Indianapolis won despite averaging 4.2 yards per play, throwing 2 interceptions and failing to score a touchdown. The Colts also committed 8 penalties, allowed 6 sacks and converted only 4 of 16 third-down attempts.
The Colts defense played well to keep the team in the game, but the offense isn’t progressing under new quarterback Matt Ryan. So despite the victory, Indianapolis offensive players such as left guard Quenton Nelson ripped their performance in Denver.
“That was disgusting,” Nelson told the media after the game.
Nelson, Pittman Critical of Performance Against Broncos
In addition to Nelson, wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. wasn’t exactly thrilled about the way the Colts offense performed in Denver.
“Well, we feel good now, but we’re gonna go watch the film, and I’m probably gonna feel bad about it,” Pittman told the media after the victory.
Although honest like Nelson, at least Pittman seemed to be in a bit better mood.
Pittman finished second on the team with 5 receptions and 59 receiving yards on 8 targets. His longest catch went for 19 yards.
Searching for answers up front, the Colts reshuffled their offensive line for Week 5. Rookie Bernhard Raimann made his first start at left tackle while Matt Pryor switched sides to right tackle and Branden Smith kicked inside to right guard.
Those changes helped some in the ground game. Deon Jackson averaged 4.8 yards per carry, as the Colts rushed for 106 yards despite not having Jonathan Taylor or Nyheim Hines, who left early in the first quarter.
But Raimann also committed 3 accepted penalties in the first half, and the Colts gave up 6 sacks. It was clearly not a banner day for Nelson and the Indianapolis offensive line.
National Media Blasts Colts-Broncos Performance on Thursday Night
As previously stated, the Indianapolis defense played well to keep the Colts in the game. But another way to look at it was the Broncos offense was just as bad, if not worse, than the Colts.
The 2 teams playing poorly on offense was the loudest reaction from the national media.
Coming into Week 5, the Broncos and Colts were both in the bottom 3 in scoring. Both offenses lived up to that poor reputation, failing to tally even 1 touchdown in the contest. The 2 teams combined for only 6 third-down conversions on 31 tries and went 0-for-6 scoring touchdowns in the red zone.
They also combined for 4 turnovers, 10 sacks and 12 punts.
Even Amazon Prime commentators Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit had some fun ripping the offenses from the Colts and Broncos on October 6.
Fortunately for NFL fans, and perhaps the Colts, Indianapolis won’t play again in primetime until the Monday after Thanksgiving. Hopefully by then, Ryan and the Colts offense has some things figured out.