Colts ride historic tie with odd share of AFC South lead

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts’ Day 1 losing streak is over. Their winless streak remains intact.

Less than 24 hours after settling for the franchise’s first tie in 40 years, the Colts went home with a share of the division lead – and a weird feeling about a 0-0 record – 1.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” wide receiver Parris Campbell said Monday. “At the beginning, you don’t know how to feel. It’s a kind of bitterness because…

READ MORE

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts’ Day 1 losing streak is over. Their winless streak remains intact.

Less than 24 hours after settling for the franchise’s first tie in 40 years, the Colts went home with a share of the division lead – and a weird feeling about a 0-0 record – 1.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” wide receiver Parris Campbell said Monday. “At the beginning, you don’t know how to feel. It’s kind of a bitter feeling because you’ve been preparing all week for a win and you’re not getting a win. But it’s not all sour because you didn’t lose and there are positives you can take from that.

How unusual is this scenario for the Colts?

Their most recent tie before Sunday came in the strike-shortened 1982 season when the team played in Baltimore and went 0-8-1. The second most recent tie came in their Super Bowl-winning season in 1970. And since the franchise’s inception in 1953, the Colts had never opened the season with a tie.

Even quarterback Matt Ryan, a 15-year veteran who played in a Super Bowl and won the 2016 MVP title, didn’t know what to make of it.

“It’s the first time for a tie in the NFL, so it’s strange,” he said Sunday. “You are disappointed not to come out of here with a victory. At the same time, we did not lose.

The Colts saw encouraging signs from Sunday’s 20-20 result.

With two-time defending division champions Tennessee and Jacksonville both losing on Sunday, the Colts sit atop the AFC South after Week 1 for the first time since 2013.

WHAT WORKS

During the fourth quarter and overtime, the Colts rallied and showed their potential.

Jonathan Taylor notched the Texans with solid runs. Michael Pittman Jr. made some key holds and nifty moves afterwards. Ryan showed why he’s nicknamed Matty Ice and the Indy defense came up with stoppage after stoppage.

It was enough to erase a 17-point deficit and force overtime and it looked good enough to win before Rodrigo Blankenship hit a field goal attempt from 42 yards to the right.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Locating a specific area is nearly impossible.

As Taylor and the offensive line worked out their timing issues as the game progressed, Ryan threw an interception and struggled with several snaps. Nyheim Hines missed a punt near the Colts 10-yard line. Alec Pierce dropped a pass in the end zone and Ashton Dulin had another potential loose catch.

Additionally, one of the least penalized teams in the league in recent years drew seven flags, including a collision with the kicker penalty that allowed Houston to burn the final 4 1/2 minutes of the third quarter.

STORE

Taylor. How does the reigning league running champion improve his stock? By opening the season with 161 yards and a touchdown. But it wasn’t just about numbers. Despite being down three points, coach Frank Reich repeatedly repeated his workhorse in the fourth quarter and overtime and Taylor responded with physical and clutch runs.

SOLD OUT

Empty. The kicker first lost his job last season due to a hip injury. Then he was forced to fend off a training camp challenge from free agent Jake Verity. Sunday’s mistake with 2 minutes remaining in extra time and two late kick-offs out of bounds could prompt another search for a replacement. Reich said the discussion with general manager Chris Ballard would take place on Monday evening.

INJURED

Reich didn’t have a lengthy injured list on Monday, which means the big question this week will again be about All-Pro three-time linebacker Shaquille Leonard. He was restricted to training Thursday and Friday and sat out Sunday after undergoing back surgery in June to relieve ankle pain.

KEY FIGURES

521 and 20. While the Colts drove in for 521 total yards, they only scored 20 points. Reich knows his team can’t have that many yards and so few points if they’re going to win many games — or win more ties — this season.

NEXT STEPS

Now that Indy is past the Day One streak, it can face another slip-up: seven straight losses in Jacksonville.

The streak includes a Day 1 loss in 2020, which turned out to be the Jags’ only win that season, and last year’s shock playoff loss in the season finale. Indy will need to play much cleaner and more efficiently to retain its division lead after Week 2.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and Https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © 2022 . All rights reserved. This website is not intended for users located in the European Economic Area.