Oct 16, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) looks to pass as Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris (95) applies pressure during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Pass-happy Colts exact revenge on Jaguars

Matt Ryan set a franchise record for completions with 42, including a game-winning 32-yard touchdown pass to rookie Alec Pierce with 17 seconds left Sunday as the host Indianapolis Colts rallied for a 34-27 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ryan, who attempted 58 passes and threw for 389 yards with three scores, hit Pierce for his first NFL touchdown and prevented the Colts (3-2-1) from needing to attempt a long field goal for the win.

Jacksonville (2-4) took a 27-26 lead with 2:44 remaining when Trevor Lawrence found Christian Kirk for a 4-yard scoring strike. Lawrence enjoyed an efficient if not huge statistical day, hitting 20 of 22 attempts for 163 yards and adding a pair of short touchdown runs.

The Jaguars led most of the game behind a big-play rushing attack that gashed Indianapolis for 243 yards on 33 carries. At one point late in the third quarter, they were averaging more than 12 yards per carry.

Michael Pittman caught 13 passes for 134 yards for Indianapolis, which finished with 434 total yards and a season-high point total.

As it did when it blanked Indianapolis 24-0 in Week 2, Jacksonville got off to a fast start. It took a 7-0 lead with 3:48 left in the first quarter as Lawrence scored on a 1-yard run, capping a 56-yard drive.

The Colts got on the board 1:04 into the second quarter on Chase McLaughlin’s 28-yard field goal, but the Jaguars made it 14-3 when JaMycal Hasty sprinted 61 yards for a touchdown with 11:27 remaining in the half.

Unlike the first matchup, Indianapolis fought back and made a game of it at halftime. Ryan found Parris Campbell for a 4-yard scoring strike at the 2:06 mark to pull the Colts within 14-10, followed by McLaughlin’s 42-yard field goal 21 seconds before intermission.

With running backs Jonathan Taylor (ankle) and Nyheim Hines (concussion) on the shelf, Ryan threw a whopping 37 passes in the first half, completing 26 for 232 yards.

–Field Level Media

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass that's intercepted Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Titans dominate early, topple Colts 24-17

Derrick Henry rushed for 114 yards and one touchdown to help the Tennessee Titans produce a 24-17 victory over the host Indianapolis Colts in an AFC South battle on Sunday.

Ryan Tannehill completed 17 of 21 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns for Tennessee (2-2). Robert Woods and Chigoziem Okonkwo had scoring receptions and Kristian Fulton made a key fumble recovery.

Matt Ryan was 27-of-37 passing for 356 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the Colts (1-2-1). Mo Alie-Cox caught two touchdown passes for Indianapolis.

Colts star Jonathan Taylor gained just 42 yards on 20 carries and lost the fumble in the fourth quarter that Fulton recovered.

Indianapolis linebacker Shaquille Leonard departed with a concussion sustained midway through the second quarter. He was making his season debut after offseason back surgery.

Indianapolis recovered from a 21-point second-quarter deficit and was driving toward a tying score in the fourth quarter.

But on third-and-1 from the Titans’ 24-yard line, Taylor received the handoff and Tennessee’s Joe Schobert forced him to fumble with Fulton recovering at the 22 with 8:40 left.

Later in the period, Indianapolis reached the Titans’ 22 before ending up with fourth-and-21. The Colts came up empty when Chase McLaughlin was wide left on a 51-yard field goal with 1:58 left and Tennessee ran out the clock.

The Titans scored the first two touchdowns while starting fast.

Denico Autry’s strip-sack of Ryan and Bud Dupree’s ensuing fumble recovery set up the first score, a 7-yard pass from Tannehill to Woods with eight minutes left in the opening quarter.

Tennessee increased the lead to 14-0 when Henry galloped 19 yards around right end for a touchdown with 3:46 left in the period.

McLaughlin booted a 27-yard field goal to get the Colts on the board with 13:25 left in the first half. Randy Bullock got those points back for the Titans with a 39-yard yard goal less than four minutes later.

Disaster struck for the Colts on the next offensive play when Teair Tart deflected Ryan’s pass and then intercepted it at the Colts’ 28-yard line. Five plays later, Tannehill tossed an 8-yard scoring pass to Okonkwo to make it 24-3 with 7:40 left.

Leonard collided with teammate Zaire Franklin on the play and wouldn’t return.

Indianapolis narrowed its deficit to 24-10 on Ryan’s 14-yard scoring pass to Alie-Cox.

–Field Level Media

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Arkansas linebacker Tre Williams (LB37) goes through drills during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL combine to stay in Indianapolis through 2024

The NFL scouting combine will remain in Indianapolis through at least 2024.

The NFL made the announcement on Tuesday during the spring league meetings in Atlanta.

Peter O’Reilly, the NFL executive vice president of club business and league events, said the decision was made after a “close review.”

Indianapolis has hosted the event since 1987, but there have been rumblings that the combine could move to other cities, similar to the NFL draft traveling from city to city.

“Indy is a city built to host major sporting events, and I’m proud the Combine will continue to stay in our city,” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday in a news release.

Dallas and Los Angeles also reportedly made pitches to host the combine the next two years.

“We know many cities want to host the NFL Combine, and we’re incredibly appreciative the NFL continues to put its faith in Indy,” said Leonard Hoops, president & CEO of Visit Indy. “We are proud so many media, agents, scouts, coaches, and athletes organically called to keep the event here. And after more than three decades of hosting the Combine, our excitement has only grown when it comes to continuing our work with the NFL and the National Invitational Camp to make the event better every year for all those stakeholders as well as the growing number of fans who want to experience it in person.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes (12) reacts to making a play against the Mississippi Rebels in the third quarter of the 2022 Sugar Bowl at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

CB Kalon Barnes runs near-record time in 40 at NFL combine

Blink and you might have missed it, but cornerbacks Kalon Barnes and Tariq Woolen ran two of the fastest 40-yard dashes in the history of the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Barnes, who made 10 starts for Baylor in his senior season, posted a blistering 4.23. It was fastest ever for a defensive player, and within a whisker of the 4.22 by wide receiver John Ross in 2017.

Woolen, who was listed as a mid-to-late second-round selection by one draft analyst, ran a 4.26. He spent his college career at UTSA, the first three seasons as a wide receiver and the last two at cornerback.

More than half of the NFL’s 32 teams have a primary need for a cornerback, according to the Draft Network website.

–Field Level Media

Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL backs off bubble plan for scouting combine

The NFL will not go forward with plans to restrict draft prospects to a “bubble” environment during next month’s scouting combine after reported pressure from agents.

Combine organizers informed participants Monday that they will be free to leave the so-called secure areas in Indianapolis while in town for the combine.

Multiple reports Sunday said many draft prospects were discussing plans to boycott the annual pre-draft event. Pro Football Talk pinned the number at 155 players, represented by 13 agencies, out of the 324 prospects invited.

A memo sent to the prospects Saturday — less than two weeks before the combine is set to begin — outlined plans to restrict the participants to combine venues “during their entire time in Indianapolis for their protection” against COVID-19. They would have only been allowed one “medical support” person, such as a trainer, for the duration of their stay.

Players who violated the rules ran the risk of being sent home.

Monday’s update sent to participants, obtained by multiple outlets, said that organizers “continue to evolve our Combine policies” in consultation with health experts.

“We encourage all players to remain within the secure Combine areas at all times for your safety,” the update read in part. “However, if you would like to leave the secure areas during free time in your schedule, you are now permitted to do so at your own risk.”

Combine participants also will be allowed more than one support personnel to enter the secure areas.

The combine is scheduled for March 1-7.

–Field Level Media

Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; LSU Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Prospects eye combine boycott over ‘bubble’ restrictions

In response to plans to enact heavy restrictions at the NFL Scouting Combine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 150 draft prospects are planning to announce a boycott of the annual pre-draft event, NFL Network and Pro Football Talk reported Sunday night.

Pro Football Talk pinned the number at 155 players, represented by 13 agencies. The league invited 324 prospects to participate.

The boycott would extend to all testing, on-field workouts and interviews with teams.

In a memo sent to prospects Saturday, the NFL outlined its intent to restrict them only to combine venues “during their entire time in Indianapolis for their protection.” Among the other restrictions: being limited to bringing one medical support person, such as a trainer, for the duration of their time in Indianapolis.

If a player violates the NFL’s rules, he runs the risk of being sent home from the combine.

The NFL Players Association wrote a letter to agents involved in boycott organization efforts in support of the move.

“The combination of the NFL’s proposed ‘bubble’ and fact that we still have an antiquated system of every team doctor examining players and having them perform yet again needs serious modification or elimination,” the letter said in part. “While we do not represent these players, we have advocated for their rights to fair treatment.”

The combine is scheduled to run March 1-7.

–Field Level Media

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) warms up on the field before facing the Texans on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Indianapolis Colts Versus Houston Texans On Sunday Dec 5 2021 At Nrg Stadium In Houston Texas

Carson Wentz’s status may determine Raiders-Colts winner

Will he, or won’t he?

That’s the question regarding Carson Wentz and a whole lot of Indianapolis Colts as they aim to clinch a playoff spot Sunday at home against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Wentz, whose mostly mistake-free play at quarterback has helped Indianapolis rebound from an 0-3 start to pull within a game of the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South, was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday. The team has put 15 players on the list in the last week.

If he emerges from protocol by kickoff, Wentz could still play. With the Colts holding all meetings virtually this week, Wentz can still prepare for the game as though he’s going to play.

Should Wentz not get clearance, rookie Sam Ehlinger will make his first career start in a pressurized situation against a team making its own playoff push. Not optimal by any means, but coach Frank Reich has confidence Ehlinger can get the job done if his number is called.

It will help that Ehlinger will take all the practice reps this week with Wentz isolating at home.

“It’s a great opportunity for Sam,” Reich said. “He’s been getting his share of reps and a lot of scout-team reps and all the fundamental and technique work. So, this will be a good opportunity for him to get the team reps.”

Reich confirmed on Wednesday that he talked to 17-year NFL quarterback Philip Rivers, who retired after playing for Indianapolis last year, about coming out of retirement. But Rivers, now a high school football coach in Alabama, is not planning to return to action.

Whoever runs the offense, Indianapolis’ goal will stay the same. It will build its attack around running back Jonathan Taylor, the NFL’s leading rusher, and then try to sting Las Vegas with play-action throws down the field.

Taylor and his 1,626 yards have been a prime reason why the Colts (9-6) are considered dangerous if they make the postseason. He compiled 108 yards on 27 carries on Christmas night in a 22-16 win at Arizona.

That the Raiders (8-7) are still in contention might be surprising to some who thought their chances were toast after losing five of six games. But consecutive wins over fellow playoff hopefuls Cleveland and Denver have revived their chances.

Las Vegas’ defense, which has been middle-of-the-pack in terms of yards allowed per game, saved its best game for last week’s 17-13 decision over the Broncos. It limited Denver to 18 yards on the ground and 158 yards total, permitting only eight first downs.

Interim coach Rich Bisaccia praised his team’s approach to preparing for games as though things were normal in a period where the pandemic is rearranging rosters and depth charts daily.

“We haven’t been exempt from it, what happened to us last week, and we’re certainly expecting things to happen as the week goes on,” he said. “The mentality we’re going to have right now is everybody practices to play.”

The Raiders lead the all-time series 9-8, although Indianapolis routed them 44-27 on Dec. 13, 2020 in Las Vegas.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) in the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots look to continue playoff push vs. Colts

New England won its last game while attempting just three passes, so Mac Jones’ arm figures to get more work when the Patriots visit the Indianapolis Colts in an AFC showdown on Saturday night.

Jones doesn’t quibble with workloads and is more focused on trying to help New England (9-4) win its eighth consecutive game. The Patriots can clinch a playoff spot this weekend with a win and a combination of losses by multiple AFC contenders.

Still, a quarterback going 2-for-3 passing for 19 yards in the 14-10 win over the Buffalo Bills in frigid conditions on Dec. 6 seems more like something from the 1940s version of the NFL.

“I’m just trying to win,” Jones said. “It was good that we scored more than the other team, and we did a great job on offense.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you run it or throw it. As long as you win, everyone’s going to be happy.”

The Patriots racked up 222 yards on the ground in the key victory that preceded a bye. New England holds a two-game lead over the Bills in the AFC East race with four games to play.

Jones, a first-round pick (15th overall) in the 2021 draft, has been solid with a 70.3 percent completion rate to go with 2,869 yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The Colts (7-6), who have won four of their past five games, are excelling on the ground behind NFL-rushing leader Jonathan Taylor.

Taylor has 1,348 rushing yards and also leads the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns. He has topped 100 yards in all seven of Indianapolis’ victories.

Taylor has 18 total touchdowns, two shy of the franchise mark set by Baltimore Colts legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lenny Moore in 1964.

Taylor said he isn’t worrying about records, accolades or stats.

“It’s not like track and field where I’m lining up, it’s just me and I’m racing the other guys next to me,” Taylor said. “It takes all 11 guys on the field in order to have a play go. All it takes is one guy to not be on for a play to crumble.

“That’s why I try and go out there every single play and make sure that I’m on, because I trust and truly believe that every single guy on that field, all 10 other guys are doing their job to a ‘T.’”

The Patriots rank 19th against the run, allowing 114.5 yards per game, so limiting Taylor will be a mighty challenge.

“Taylor’s a home run hitter, he’s a guy that’s not afraid of contact,” New England safety Adrian Phillips said. “You can see as the game keeps going he just gets more physical and if people don’t want to hit when it comes to the third or fourth quarter … he’s going to attack you.”

Taylor’s rise has helped quarterback Carson Wentz, who is having a strong season with 2,948 yards, 22 touchdowns and just five interceptions.

The Colts also feature one of the NFL’s top defensive players in linebacker Darius Leonard, who has 97 tackles, five forced fumbles and two interceptions.

Indianapolis allowed just 141 total yards (84 rushing, 57 passing) last Sunday while rolling to a 31-0 road win over the Houston Texans.

The Colts will be looking to end an eight-game losing skid against New England, a streak that includes playoff losses in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

“I don’t want our players to get too caught up in the past,” Indianapolis coach Frank Reich said. “I do want them to understand that it is a big deal here.”

The Colts will get two-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly back. Kelly missed the game with Houston after being placed on the COVID-19 list. He was removed from that list on Tuesday and was a full practice participant on Wednesday while being listed with a knee injury.

Tight end Jack Doyle (ankle) was limited while linebacker Bobby Okereke (illness) sat out for Indianapolis.

Jones (left thumb) practiced in full for New England, while Phillips (knee), center David Andrews (shoulder) and running back Damien Harris (hamstring) were among players who were limited.

–Field Level Media

Dec 5, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Ashton Dulin (16) celebrates a touchdown against the Houston Texans in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Taylor, Colts run over Texans

Jonathan Taylor posted his seventh 100-yard rushing game this season and matched the franchise record for single-season rushing touchdowns, lifting the visiting Indianapolis Colts to a 31-0 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The Colts’ previous road shutout was a 6-0 win over the New England Patriots on Dec. 6, 1992.

Taylor had 32 attempts for 143 yards plus scoring runs of 1 and 3 yards, bumping his season total to 16 rushing touchdowns and matching the number Hall of Famer Lenny Moore produced in 1964. The Colts (7-6) remained unbeaten when Taylor has rushed for at least 100 yards.

Defensively the Colts dominated, allowing 141 yards while forcing a pair of turnovers. The Texans (2-10) failed to complete a pass to a wide receiver until late in the third quarter and crossed midfield for the first time that same drive, the first with rookie Davis Mills at quarterback.

Mills supplanted veteran Tyrod Taylor, who finished 5 of 13 for 45 yards with an interception. The Colts sacked Taylor twice and battered him repeatedly, sending Taylor to the medical tent after his last possession. Taylor was evaluated for an injury and cleared to return but did not.

Colts nickel back Kenny Moore II had a hand in both Houston turnovers. He picked off Taylor on the Texans’ first offensive snap of the game, and the Colts covered the subsequent 29 yards in six plays. Jonathan Taylor took a direct snap before converting his first score for a 7-0 lead.

Moore forced a fumble on the ensuing Texans possession, punching the ball free from Houston tight end Pharaoh Brown that Xavier Rhodes recovered for Indianapolis. However, the Colts failed to convert that takeaway into points when Michael Badgley missed a 35-yard field goal.

The Colts struggled offensively until their final drive of the first half.

Carson Wentz converted on fourth down with a quarterback sneak and later completed a third-down pass to tight end Jack Doyle that moved the chains again. Wentz capped that march with a 2-yard pass to Ashton Dulin for a 14-0 lead with 43 seconds left in the half, one in which Houston managed just 48 yards on 23 plays.

The Colts covered 75 yards in nine plays on their opening possession of the third quarter, one capped by the second touchdown run for Jonathan Taylor.

–Field Level Media

Nov 28, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette (7) runs the ball while Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth (95) defends  in the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Leonard Fournette’s fourth TD completes Bucs’ comeback over Colts

Leonard Fournette’s fourth touchdown of the game, a 28-yard run with 20 seconds left, lifted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 38-31 win over the host Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Fournette, who rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries, plowed off the left tackle with Tampa Bay (8-3) trying to set up Ryan Succop for a potential game-winning field goal. He ran through a couple of arm tackles and tumbled into the end zone to complete his huge game.

The Colts (6-6) had a final chance after Isaiah Rodgers returned the kickoff 72 yards to the Buccaneers’ 32-yard line. But Carson Wentz’s pass on the final play was intercepted by Pierre Desir at the 2 to end it.

Wentz completed 27 of 44 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns, but also threw a pair of interceptions and lost a fumble early in the third quarter as Indianapolis was driving for a potential three-score lead.

Tom Brady hit on 25 of 34 passes for 226 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Tampa Bay. Rob Gronkowski caught seven passes for 123 yards.

NFL rushing leader Jonathan Taylor gained 83 yards on 16 carries, tying the game at 31 with a 4-yard run at the 3:29 mark. But the Colts stayed two games behind Tennessee in the AFC South.

The first half was controlled by Indianapolis, but not in the way it normally gets business done. Instead, the Colts went to the air in order to counter a Tampa Bay defense keying on Taylor.

After the Bucs took a 7-3 second-quarter lead when Fournette scored his first touchdown on a 1-yard run, Wentz answered with a 62-yard bomb to Ashton Dulin at the 11:44 mark. On Indianapolis’ next possession, Wentz finished a 90-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle.

Fournette brought Tampa Bay within 17-14 on a 4-yard scoring reception from Brady, but Wentz led a 14-play drive in the final 1:56 that he concluded with a 4-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton. That gave the Colts a 24-14 halftime lead.

A 4-yard run by Fournette and 1-yarder by Ronald Jones in the third quarter put Tampa Bay ahead, 28-24.

–Field Level Media