Thursday Night Football Recap: Colts topple Broncos 12-9 in touchdown-free struggle

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Zalubowski/AP/Shutterstock (13444461ar) Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) fumbles on a hit against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half of an NFL football game, in Denver. Wilson recovered the ball Colts Broncos Football, Denver, United States – 06 Oct 2022

Thursday Night Football Recap: Colts topple Broncos 12-9 in touchdown-free struggle

Colts 12, Broncos 9 (OT)

The Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts both entered Thursday night’s game looking for more from their new franchise quarterbacks, each of whom were acquired this offseason after long, successful careers elsewhere. Denver entered the game 30th in the NFL in points scored, while Indianapolis entered dead last – and with both teams missing their starting running backs, expectations were low for offensive output entering the game. 

Things started off on an unfortunate note on the Colts’ opening drive, as running back Nyheim Hines exited the game following a hit that left him stumbling on the field. The game was even uglier than advertised in the early going, with neither offense gaining much traction before halftime. Indianapolis combined for four punts and an interception over their first five offensive drives, falling behind 6-0 as Denver settled for two Brandon McManus field goals. Matt Ryan was sacked four times in the first half, one of which resulted in his tenth fumble of the season through just four and a half games. Indianapolis would finally score in the first half’s closing seconds on a 52-yard field goal by Chase McLaughlin, pulling their deficit to 6-3 in a dull first half without a touchdown by either team. 

McLaughlin would add a 51-yard field goal to continue the excitement midway through the third quarter, tying the game at six. The Broncos finally got something going on the ensuing drive, setting up the first “goal to go” opportunity for either team after a long pass from Russell Wilson to Courtland Sutton. The offense would disintegrate again moments later, and boos would rain down from the Denver crowd as Brandon McManus’ go-ahead field goal was blocked. Given another opportunity following Matt Ryan’s second interception of the night, McManus converted from 45 yards out to give the Broncos back the lead 9-6. 

After a moderately successful Broncos drive moved them into field goal range again, Russell Wilson threw a moonball interception back to the Colts, leaving the audience dumbfounded as to who his target actually was on the play. The punt-a-thon would continue for several more minutes before the next scoring threat, a plodding Denver drive deep into Colts’ territory that would end in Russell Wilson’s second interception of the second half. Still trailing 9-6, Matt Ryan and the punchless Colts offense would take back over just before the two minute warning. Ryan would fumble for a second time when he was sacked for the sixth time of the night, but recovered it himself to keep Indianapolis’ scoring chance alive.

The Colts suddenly found something in the final two minutes, as Matt Ryan repetitively found Alec Pierce and Deon Jackson for completions downfield. Indianapolis found themselves at the Denver seven yard line with 13 seconds to go, but immediately made things more difficult on themselves with a delay of game penalty. After Matt Ryan’s third and goal throw sailed through the goalposts, Chase McLaughlin converted a 31-yard field goal to force overtime at 9-9.

After hordes of Denver fans decided they could handle no more and headed to the exits, Indianapolis took the ball first in the overtime period. Matt Ryan would lead the Colts into Broncos’ territory once again, setting up Chase McLaughlin for his fourth field goal of the night.

Russell Wilson and the Broncos took over with a chance to tie or win, and responded quickly with a drive into the red zone on big passes to Melvin Gordon and Jerry Jeudy. Indianapolis’ defense would force Denver into a 4th-and-1 at the five yard line, and Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore would come up huge with a pass deflection to preserve the 12-9 win.

By the time this Thursday night thriller ended, fans were treated to four turnovers, ten sacks, seven field goals, and zero touchdowns. Broncos fans continued their booing as they headed for the exits, falling one more step behind Kansas City in the tough AFC West.

Next Week: Broncos: at Chargers, Colts: vs Jaguars

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