A fourth-down stop midway through the final quarter of a one-sided game was enough. Fans started heading for the exits. The Colts had stifled the Bengals all day. No reason to think it wasn’t going to continue in the final minutes. The Colts ran their win streak to five games against the AFC North Division leaders.
The Colts’ defense didn’t allow a first down until the final minute of the first half. A Bengals offense missing wide receivers A.J. Green and Marvin Jones, didn’t convert a third down until the fourth quarter after failing on 11 consecutive chances.
While the Colts sputtered at times on offense, fumbling the ball away to squander two scoring chances, running back Ahmad Bradshaw continued to do what he’s done best this season — score touchdowns. He ran for one and caught a pass for another as the Colts eventually pulled away.
Tight end Dwayne Allen also scored on a 32-yard TD reception.
The Bengals (3-2-1) finished with just 135 yards total offense. They tied a dubious team record with 11 punts. Another unflattering streak of failed third-down conversions on the road reached 20 until the visitors finally converted one in the final quarter.
When the Bengals reached the Colts’ 4-yard line midway through the final quarter, a few fans shouted “Shutout!” Bengals passer Andy Dalton tried to connect with tight end Jermaine Gresham, who couldn’t come down with the short pass and got drilled anyway.
The Colts (5-2) will take their win streak on the road with a trip to Pittsburgh next Sunday.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.