Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts 10/20/13 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Final Score: Indianapolis Colts 39, Denver Broncos 33
October 20, 2013
If the Week 7 edition of “Sunday Night Football” wasn’t the year’s most anticipated matchup thus far, it certainly was up there. Peyton Manning made his return to Indianapolis, leading the undefeated Denver Broncos against his positional heir Andrew Luck and the Colts. Indianapolis came into this one off a limp primetime performance against the Chargers in Week 6, while Denver remained spotless with a win over the floundering Jaguars. This one was bound to be a high-flying game with all sorts of storylines mixed in, and that’s exactly what we got.
Let’s take a closer look at the numbers and the key players from the game so that we can determine why things turned out the way they did. We’ll then turn our attention toward Week 8 and see what’s in store for both teams.
What Happened: Manning entered Lucas Oil Stadium to a touching ovation from his former home crowd, then the love stopped after the game began. The Broncos started things off, with a quick scoring drive ending in an Eric Decker TD catch. Indianapolis responded with a field goal and TD pass of their own to take a 10-7 lead after the first quarter. In the second, things really got interesting, as Manning was the victim of a strip sack in his own end zone, leading to a safety. Two more Andrew Luck TD passes later, the Colts had built a 26-14 halftime lead.
Indianapolis kept the pressure on in the third, posting another TD on a Luck run while Denver could only muster a field goal. Manning did lead his team to a couple of touchdowns and a field goal in the fourth, but it was too little, too late. The final score was a surprising 39-33 Colts victory.
The loss takes the Broncos down to 6-1, while the Colts improve to 5-2.
Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
The Stars: The Colts’ defense really stepped up here. The constant pressure in the Broncos backfield harassed the team into making hurried decisions and mistakes. They came up with an interception, two fumble recoveries and four sacks in a big night. Robert Mathis alone accounted for two sacks, a forced fumble, five tackles and four QB hits.
Luck showed why Indianapolis drafted him to replace Manning with a 228-yard, three-touchdown evening. He stood tall against the Denver defense, easily holding his own in the passing duel.
Darrius Heyward-Bey (74 total yards, one touchdown) and Coby Fleener (five receptions, 38 yards and a TD) both had big nights.
The big standout for the Broncos was Eric Decker, who managed eight receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown.
The Goats: Manning and company were uncharacteristically flustered in the face of the Indianapolis defense. They were just 5-for-16 on third downs, and 3-for-5 in red-zone efficiency. Making matters worse, the team also had 12 penalties for 103 total yards, which killed drives and prevented their defense from getting off the field at times. There’s really no one player to single out here (unless you want to call out the O-line); it was a group effort.
Injuries: Veteran CB Champ Bailey had to leave the game with a foot injury, which could account for some of the Colts’ passing success.
Meanwhile, the Colts have a trio of new injury situations to deal with today: WR Reggie Wayne, DB Josh Gordy and S Delano Howell all were forced out.
Outlook: The Colts have a bye in Week 8, so they’ll head into the off-time on a high note and be able to focus on getting their injured players right. Meanwhile, the Broncos will try to get their mojo back against the Redskins in a Sunday afternoon home game.
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