The Indianapolis Colts proved that they can win even when they are not sharp, as evidence by their 23-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in which Peyton Manning threw for his lowest output this season.
“That’s the way it has been with this team over the years,” remarked Colts’ defensive end Dwight Freeney in a post-game interview. “We find ways to win games like this. We needed to do that today, and we did.”
Indianapolis (6-3) was dealing with an array of injury issues, but with the win take over sole possession of first place in the AFC South Division. For Cincinnati (2-7), they have now dropped six-straight games, and while not yet mathematically out of the playoffs, they face a near impossible climb out of the bottom of the AFC North Division.
Manning complete 20 of 36 passes for just 185 yards and no touchdowns. Of course, even Manning might suffer a game like this when he has to continue to incorporate new players into the offensive system.
“We had chances to put the game possibly out of reach and we did not do that,” Manning said. “Fortunately our defense was able to hang on there at the end.”
The Colts jumped out in the first half of this one, controlling a 20-10 lead at the end of the first half. That was basically it for the Colts on offense in this one though, as they managed only a fourth quarter field goal.
Fortunately for the Colt’s offense, the defensive side of the ball played well, intercepting Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer three times on the afternoon.
“We just have to keep working and find a way to score more points and keep our defense out of those pressure situations,” Manning said in a post-game interview. “They came up big all day and we have to try and do our part.”
Entering the game, Indianapolis was established as a 6.5-point favorite in this one by NFL Betting Lines, failing to cover by a half-point. The over/under was set at 41 points, with the game taking the under.