INDIANAPOLIS – The playoff chances for the Indianapolis Colts were extinguished on Saturday in California.
A 33-25 victory for the Raiders (12-3) saw Oakland dial up some big turnovers, while finding effective offensive balance over the Colts.
The Colts (7-8) will conclude the 2016 season next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST in a New Year’s Day contest against the Jaguars (2-13) at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Here are FIVE THINGS LEARNED.
POSTSEASON WATCHERS – For a second straight season, the Indianapolis Colts will be watching the postseason. Saturday’s loss for the Colts ended any hope they had at winning the AFC South. Back-to-back years of missing the postseason is the first time this franchise has experienced that since 1997-98.
OAKLAND’S LETHAL BALANCE – You give an MVP-caliber quarterback a ground game of more than 200 rushing yards and it’s going to be a long afternoon. Oakland came into Sunday ranking 6th in both passing and rushing offense. It was on display against the Colts, too, with the Raiders scoring touchdowns on five straight drives during the second and third quarters.
MORE COSTLY TURNOVERS – Things were competitive early on, but two first-half turnovers from the Colts were devastating blows. Andrew Luck’s two interceptions (both when throwing at T.Y. Hilton) led directly to 13 points for the Raiders. Luck’s second pick just before half was especially crushing. With the Colts on the verge of cutting Oakland’s lead to 13-10 at halftime, Luck’s end-zone INT turned into a late-half touchdown the Raiders.
NO PRESSURE ON CARR – Oakland entered Week 16 as the NFL’s top pass protecting group. The Colts did not sack Carr, and hardly pressured him, on his first 29 pass attempts. That led to 33 Oakland points. The 30th pass attempt for Carr was a major blow though. Trent Cole’s sack of Carr fractured the right fibula of the MVP candidate, seriously jeopardizing the rest of the season for Oakland’s young star.
WHAT TO PLAY FOR? – Having no chance at the postseason in Week 17 is very foreign to the Colts. That’s the reality though this season. The Colts will host the Jaguars next week in a matchup having no postseason impact. Individually, T.Y. Hilton (the NFL’s receiving title) and Frank Gore (a 1,000-yard season) do have significant milestones in reach.
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