Well, it wasn't the prettiest game for the Indianapolis Colts' powerhouse offense, but at least they got the job done and helped give Indianapolis a win today over the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-17.
This victory was extremely important for the Colts as they were recently coming off a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, 26-24, falling to 5-3 and possibly losing the division lead in the AFC South.
But thanks to this win and a loss by the Tennessee Titans, the Colts now have taken full advantage over the AFC South, clinging on to a 6-3 record, one game ahead by the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Titans.
But, boy, what a game for the Colts' defense. Indianapolis forced five turnovers on the Bengals offense.
The first turnover began when the Colts already had a 3-0 lead when Manning helped start a drive where he was hooking up with tight end Jacob Tamme many times. Tamme would end up seven catches for 73 yards. It was a good drive, but the Colts couldn't get it done in the red zone.
However, the defense got it done.
Dropping back, Carson Palmer threw and it fell right into cornerback Kelvin Hayden's hands, as he took it all the way back for a touchdown to bring the Colts up 10-0.
That interception was a lot like what happened about two weeks ago when Indianapolis killed the Houston Texans at home on Monday night, 30-17. Matt Schaub threw right to Hayden as he took it back for a touchdown. It was a lot similar.
It's about time Hayden is starting to make plays this year. Ever since his screw-up versus the Jacksonville Jaguars when dropping a potential game-winning interception, he has definitely improved himself since then. Great bounce-back for No. 26! Proud of him!
However, the Colts came coming back again on the Bengals offense. Cedric Benson took the handoff and fumbled. It just slipped right out of his hands. He took the handoff and ran for a couple of yards, almost fell, but then the ball just suddenly slipped out of his hands. It was then recovered by defensive tackle Antonio Johnson.
The Bengals possibly had the worst 88 seconds in a football game. In those 88 seconds, they allowed an interception for a touchdown, then a fumble, and then a lost challenge.
The challenge was if Jacob Tamme had a first down on the Colts ensuing drive. The Colts would succeed on that drive, allowing Javarris James to score for a touchdown to put the Colts up 17-0. James showed a bit of signs of his cousin, Edgerrin. As we all know, Edgerrin James is one of the best running backs, maybe the best, to play for the Colts.
This also brings James one of the highest touchdowns-per-carry ratio.
But after that 17-0 lead, the Cincinnati Bengals would come marching back. They would have a field goal after making to the red zone. After the 17-0 deficit, quarterback Carson Palmer went on a roll and was just hot, completing passes everywhere. This would lead to a field goal, 17-3.
But on the next drive for the Bengals, Palmer would lead Cincinnati down the field and throw a long touchdown to Chad Ochocinco. But it was later counted off as No. 85 made a penalty. But the Bengals would drive down the field even more. In the red zone, Palmer would find Ochocinco again and for a touchdown. 17-10.
Ochocinco would finally have a good game after a while, catching seven passes for 86 yards and a touchdown.
But the Colts would get themselves together, and end up with a field goal as halftime came. The Colts were up, 20-10.
In the third quarter, nothing really exciting happened and the score stayed the same at 20-10. But as the fourth quarter came up, that is when all the exciting things came.
Palmer would throw yet another interception, which was to Tyjuan Hagler. Hagler would end up with a touchdown, but it would later be called back. The Colts would end up with a field goal, putting themselves up, 23-10.
Palmer would throw another interception, though, as it sailed right towards Aaron Francisco. And that is when I noticed that Terrell Owens started to quit. He could have easily made a catch but he stopped as the ball sailed right past him and into Francisco's hands. The Colts wouldn't come up with anything on that drive after the interception.
The Bengals would come back, thanks to Jermaine Gresham. Gresham was on a roll in the fourth quarter, and all his stats were from there, having nine catches for 85 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown would leave the Bengals down by six points, 23-17.
The Bengals would go for an onside kick with 2:35 remaining in the game. They would surprisingly recover. On the ensuing drive, Palmer would find Gresham open again. He was getting taken over by literally five guys. He broke a tackle and gave a second effort, but then the ball would pop out of his hands and it would lead to the fifth, and final turnover of the game.
The Colts would take a lot off the clock. However, they ran three straight times and ended up at a fourth-and-two. Manning would rush the offense, but would be called with a false start. That was really risky. And it screwed a lot of things up.
Instead of the clock going down to like 30 seconds, it was now at 53 seconds! Cincinnati had a bunch of time to score and win the game.
Palmer took the snap, but got sacked by Robert Mathis, leading to his seventh sack of the season.
As the line was hurrying, Terrell Owens wasn't. Owens walked back to the line of scrimmage. The CBS announcers were literally quoted saying that what T.O. was doing was just simply pathetic. I couldn't agree more. With 30 seconds left, the Bengals had a chance, but here is Owens already thinking the game is over.
Palmer would get sacked again by three Colts, or even more. With no time-outs, everyone hurried back to the line of scrimmage. Owens didn't. Cincinnati managed to get the snap in.
Palmer threw to Ochocinco to about a ten-yard fade, but Ochocinco dropped it.
Game over, Colts win.
The Colts should have destroyed in this one, but it's fine. Everyone knows Indy destroyed in here. The defense came up big. If it weren't for the strong support of the defense, the Colts could have lost in a close one.
Carson Palmer would finish going 31-of-42 for 292 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He finished with a 78.7 rating. Peyton Manning was 20-of-36 for 185 yards and a 69.8 rating.
This was Manning's second game this year without throwing a single touchdown pass. This was his first game this year not throwing 200 yards or more.
The Colts held the Bengals to 66 yards rushing. Brian Leonard had one carry for 42 yards when he fooled the Colts on a trick play. But the big key was stopping Cedric Benson, and they did. He was held to 24 yards on 14 carries.
Donald Brown played well, having twelve carries for 50 yards. Javarris James had ten carries for 26 yards and a touchdown. Pierre Garcon caught five passes for 37 yards in the victory.
Next up are the New England Patriots. That is going to be a good one!
Looking forward to it!