INDIANAPOLIS – Despite the Colts’ most complete performance of 2016, the team’s playoff chances did not improve on Sunday.
In the Colts’ 34-6 win over the Vikings, they complemented stifling defense with ball control offense in getting their fourth straight road victory.
The Colts (7-7) will have one final road trip in 2016, heading out west to take on the Raiders (10-3) next Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET.
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
OFFENSIVE LINE SHINES – Going up against one of the NFL’s best defensive fronts on Sunday, the Indy offensive line was also missing three of its top six guys. Yet, despite starting three rookies, the line play was outstanding. Andrew Luck wasn’t sacked for the first time all year (hit just twice) and the line carved out holes for 40 carries and 161 rushing yards.
OTHERS DO THEIR PART – With the Vikings shelving out plenty of attention to T.Y. Hilton (3 catches for 45 yards), the other skill players helped carry the load, sans Donte Moncrief. The trio of tight ends had eight catches, in nine targets, for 95 yards. Phillip Dorsett scored on a 50-yard touchdown and Chester Rogers added three receptions.
POPS LEADS DEFENSE – Amidst the defensive struggles for the Colts this season has been the lack of game-changing plays. They got a lot of them Sunday. Veteran safety Mike Adams forced two turnovers. Robert Mathis added a strip/sack, one of the season-high five sacks the Colts had against Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford.
LUCK LOOKS JUST FINE – Appearance wise, Andrew Luck looked different on Sunday. He had his right elbow wrapped (after injuring it against the Texans). He also rocked a glove on his throwing hand in the second half (due to some bleeding). Play wise, Luck was pretty Luck-like. He completed 21-of-28 passes for 250 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
LOTS OF HELP NEEDED – In the fourth quarter on Sunday, the playoff hopes for the Colts looked to be improving quite a bit with the Texans and Titans losing. But both AFC South leaders came back and won. What does it mean? Over the final two weeks of the regular season, all five games involving these three teams must fall the Colts’ way in order to make the playoffs. All of them.
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