The Colts fall to the Bengals in their season opener, 34-23. Indianapolis was in control for much of this football game, leading 23-10 after a T.Y. Hilton score in the third. The Bengals went on to score 24 unanswered, stunning the Colts. Andrew Luck was in the middle of a game-winning drive before it all went awry. Luck seemed to have converted a third and 15 on a pass to Jack Doyle, who proceeded to fumble the ball. Clayton Fejdelem, who replaced the ejected Shawn Williams, scooped the fumble and scored. The Colts lose another season opener, making it five straight.
Andrew Luck had a stellar return to the football field. After a dumb interception on his first possession, Luck was surgical. He finished the day 39-53 with 319 yards and two touchdowns following the pick. His decision making and ball placement were excellent for the most part, and he routinely took big hits and got up afterward. Jordan Wilkins carried the ball 14 times for 40 yards and accrued 21 receiving yards. Nyheim Hines looked much improved, touching the ball 12 times for 52 total yards.
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T.Y. Hilton caught five balls for 46 yards and a third-quarter touchdown. Ryan Grant seems to have put his poor preseason behind him, recording eight catches for 59 yards. Eric Ebron looked dominant, with four catches for 51 yards and a 26-yard touchdown. Aside from the fumble, Jack Doyle had a solid day, snagging seven passes for 60 yards. The offensive line looked solid early but struggled late without Anthony Castonzo. The unit allowed two sacks and nine QB hits. Overall, the offense played a solid game against a really good Bengals defensive unit.
The Colts’ defense looked excellent in the first half, perfectly executing the “bend don’t break” formula. They held the Bengals to 10 points and forced two turnovers: an interception by Kenny Moore and a fumble forced by Matthias Farley. Unfortunately, the defense lost all of its momenta, surrendering 17 second-half points. Joe Mixon ran for 95 yards and a touchdown, adding 54 yards in the air. A.J. Green proved to be a major problem for the Colts’ secondary, as he torched the defense for 92 yards and a touchdown on six catches. Margus Hunt played well against his former team, racking up two sacks and three tackles for loss.
The Colts looked great in the first half but seemed to have reverted to their 2017 ways in the second. The Colts were the worst second-half team in the NFL last season, as they led in over half of their games at the break last year, including the Bengals. Unfortunately, this team looked undisciplined, allowing seven penalties for 91 yards, swinging the game in Cincinnati’s favor. All in all, there is plenty of positive to take away from this game. The Colts had a good showing without Marlon Mack and Anthony Castonzo. They will look to bounce back against the Redskins next Sunday.
Ben Pfeifer is the Managing Editor of the Colts for Full Press Coverage, the AFC South Division Editor, and head NBA editor. Want to continue the discussion? Contact Ben Pfeifer on Twitter @Ben_Pfeifer_, @FPC_NBA and @FPC_Colts.