Both the Cleveland Browns (1-6) and the Indianapolis Colts (3-3) went into their game at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday, in need of a win. For two teams that have struggled this season, a loss would almost put them out if the AFC playoff picture, but a win would keep hopes alive.
In my preview article, (“Indianapolis Colts Prepare for Cleveland Browns”) I mentioned that this game could possibly be a high-scoring barn burner, or a sloppy mess. The Colts and Browns have both been hot and cold during this season so far. At the end of the day, this game was a little bit smooth, but a whole lot of sloppy.
Both teams came out swinging on offense in the first half, with the Colts leading the Browns 14-6. In the second half of the game, mistakes and needless penalties changed the focus and slowed the pace. Only 10 total points were scored by both teams after halftime. The Colts held tight in a sloppy second half, but may have been in trouble, if a few plays had gone the other way.
This game truly came down to the final seconds, with Cleveland having to make a last-ditch effort at the end to attempt a winning score. Neither team looked polished, but the Colts pushed on regardless. Indianapolis won the game 17-13, and in the end, the Browns were the Browns.
Cleveland muffed an extra point after their first touchdown, and suffered a 3rd-and-1 dropped pass on a deep play attempt that may have won the game. The decisions of both plays will be called into question over and over. If the calls are complete, then they are the work of genius. If the calls come short, then they are considered foolish. Either way, the Colts held on to defeat a team who was quite similar and evenly matched to them. Both teams will have a lot to work on, but they can still put on a show.