Defensive teams ran the show on both accounts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon as the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts both struggled to get an offensive momentum going – or at least that’s what respective defensive coaches Dean Pees and Greg Manusky will tell you.
In the opening minutes Baltimore’s Steve Smith gave up a fumble eventually allowing the Colts to score the first of two first half field goals in the resulting drive.
And after receiving the ball back the Ravens had quickly given up more ground as Cory Redding battled through the Baltimore blockers to become only the second player to sack Joe Flacco this season.
But after the Colts received the ball on the punt Andrew Luck was immediately picked off by Haloti Ngata after CJ Mosely got through to get a big hit on the quarterback.
And in the very next play Colts’ defensive end Cory Redding continued to cause more problems for the Ravens offense allowing Bjorn Werner to sack Joe Flacco immediately back.
What followed was a nine and a half minute long drive that saw some outstanding defensive coverage from the Ravens and it wasn’t until the final few minutes of the second quarter that the Colts found themselves within range of the end zone.
Linebackers C.J. Mosley and Elvis Dumervil then teamed up to sack Luck for a loss of 7 back to the 25 for the fourth down.
The resulting field goal was converted but a rare holding penalty by Pernell McPhee saw the Colts scrap their field goal for an automatic first down on the Ravens 20 yard line.
Trent Richardson ran 15 yards to make it first and goal at the 5 yard line before Luck threw to Colts 13 for the touchdown.
But pass interference on the offense by Reggie Wayne blocking off Asa Jackson reset play to the Ravens’ 16 yard line.
Great defensive coverage from Mosley in particular saw Luck overshoot his receivers two downs in a row. And so after an extended period in the red zone Colts ended up with a field goal anyway.
Baltimore then rounded off a lively second quarter as Justin Tucker converted a hopeful 52 yard field goal with 3 seconds to go. After virtually no possession in the second quarter Jim Harbaugh was happy his side only trailed by three points at the break.
Second half pressure
Defensive pressure continued to have a massive affect on the game early in the second half as Joe Flacco was intercepted by Vontae Davis who returned the ball for 28 yards.
Coverage from Mike Adams at safety enabled Davis to sneak back inside the throw and catch it early to secure the Ravens third turnover of the match.
And moments later Dwayne Allen scored a touchdown in one of the few times all afternoon that Baltimore rookie C.J. Mosley’s defensive coverage was left wanting.
Another second half interception saw CJ Mosley pick off Luck in a possession which resulted in a second field goal for the Ravens – still unable to penetrate the Colts defence.
Fine margins win out
And the game continued to slip from the Ravens’ reach as Andrew Luck scored a 13 yard touchdown with 8:56 left on the clock to make it 20-6.
But Colts fourth turnover of the game saw Ravens running back Justin Forsett finally break through the Indianapolis defence running for 11 yards to bring the score to 13-20 one minute of clock time later.
Steve Smith had a chance on 4th and long to set the Ravens up for a late chance at a second touchdown but was unable to reach Joe Flacco’s pass and the Colts secured a closely fought home victory ending the Ravens three game winning streak.
The Colts have now won three on the bounce and sit level with the Texans on 3-2 after Houston lost in Dallas.