As far as Super Bowl dark horses go, this one is 5:30 p.m. after daylight savings time. They are a .500 team that is currently the sixth seed after a 38-31 loss to the Buccaneers at home. They have also been battling injuries all season. Linebacker Darius Leonard has been dealing with an ankle injury all year, offensive linemen have missed games, and quarterback Carson Wentz suffered two ankle sprains in late September after missing all of preseason with a foot injury. They started the season 0-3, losing two of those by multiple scores.
Since their six-point, Week 5 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the Colts have gone 5-2. Their offensive line is healthy and showing what it can do to some of the best competition in this league.
The Colts tallied a 45-15 win last week against the Football Outsiders’ top-overall defense, the Bills, on the road. Running back Jonathan Taylor ran for 185 yards and four touchdowns, and as a team the Colts rushed for 264 yards.
Against the Buccaneers on Sunday, they went with a more balanced approach. Wentz threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns while the team rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown. The Colts were up 24-14 at the half, scored three touchdowns in the second quarter and received the kickoff coming out of the locker room.
How did the Buccaneers get the lead back? Strip sack, tough 37-yard pass interference penalty on the Colts, a gorgeous interception by Buccaneers cornerback Antoine Winfield Jr., another pass interference penalty. Result? A 28-24 Bucs lead.
The Colts would have to overcome another terrible turnover, a Nyheim Hines’ muffed punt that put the Buccaneers in the red zone. However, they held the Buccaneers to a field goal and eventually took the lead. Then there was Tom Brady, three minutes to go, yada yada yada, Colts are 6-6.
Still, it took five total turnovers and some fortunately timed, for the Buccaneers, penalties to take down a Colts team that pushed them all game on both sides of the ball. If the Week 11 and 12 Colts are the team that takes the field the rest of this season, they are capable of beating anyone, especially in the wacky AFC.