The receiving corps made it look like every pass thrown belonged to them -- and only them.
Just one turnover was surrendered while none of the five penalties dealt a fatal blow.
And there was some serious popping going on by a defense that got to play their game for a change as the opponent took to the air in hopes of cutting their rapidly mounting scoring deficit.
Guess what, folks. The Colts remembered who they were on Monday night in
front of a national audience.
|Colts WR Marvin Harrison catches a TD pass in front of Deltha O'Neal (AP/Daron Cummings)|
At the half, the Colts had just 22 yards rushing.
And you know what? They didn't care because they were being true to themselves and taking advantage of their talent and their matchups.
With a 17-10 lead at the half, they were clearly in rhythm throwing the ball while the Bengals were badly out of sync.
Earlier in the week, Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson mocked the Colts run defense by saying, "We might not even need no receivers this week. I might sit this one out."
Well, after the first 30 minutes of action, that pretty much appeared to be the case. But it's unlikely it played out in the manner that Johnson was imagining at the time of his remark. Cincinnati completed just three passes in the first half despite the fact that Indianapolis had their fifth and sixth safeties on their depth chart defending against the deep ball due to injuries. By the end of the game, quarterback Carson Palmer finished with his second-worst completion percentage of the year (50%) and was held to just 176 yards passing, his lowest total since opening day against the Chiefs.
And after week-long speculation that Rudi Johnson would have a huge day against a Colts defense that gave up 375 yards rushing to the Jaguars, he posted just 79 yards and a 3.6 yards per carry average. Big deal.
The Colts dodged an early disaster though when punt returner Terrence Wilkins tried to catch a punt in traffic and muffed it, handing the ball to the Bengals at the Indy 25-yard line. Cincinnati converted the opportunity into a touchdown, tying the score at ten each. But it would be the last time that they would keep pace with the Colts. Indianapolis reeled off 24 points while limiting the Bengals to just two measly field goals the rest of the way.
With the win, the Colts hold onto the No. 2 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye. They also helped the Ravens clinch the AFC North with the victory, rounding out the division winners field to the Colts, Chargers, Ravens and Patriots. Indianapolis travels to Houston this weekend to take on the 4-10 Texans before returning home for their regular season finale against the Dolphins.