The Indianapolis Colts (9-6) were dealt a rough hand all week leading up to this Christmas match-up with the Arizona Cardinals (10-5).
Many of the Colts’ best players, unfortunately, ended up on the reserve/COVID list, some even just hours before kick-off. Many of these names, including Pro-Bowlers Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson, alongside most of the starting offensive line and other key starters on both sides of the ball would be out for this game and perhaps even the next in a very close playoff race.
It was looking grim for Carson Wentz, Jonathan Taylor, and company to be able to pull off a win in such a difficult spot and missing so many players, but as the team loves to say it’s simply “Next Man Up” and those men had big shoes to fill. For the most part, the guys did just that, and fought hard all game in a sloppy, back and forth brawl that saw Indianapolis narrowly come out on top and keep hopes of a playoff berth, and perhaps a division title alive.
Here’s our instant analysis from this Christmas night victory:
What Went Right
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri
This was the game where somebody had to step up and make big plays to give the team a chance, and multiple players were up to that challenge. With multiple starters missing in the secondary, two guys that really stuck out were safety George Odum and cornerback Isaiah Rodgers. Both provided key pass break-ups to kill momentum that was swinging in Arizona’s favor. They provided rock-solid coverage all night long and played a big part in the Cardinals failing to generate many big plays.
This was also a game where Arizona seemed desperate to limit Jonathan Taylor, and they found success doing it more than most teams Indianapolis has faced. That mindset meant that Carson Wentz was going to have to lead this Colts team to victory this week and put everything on his shoulders. Wentz playing behind a patchwork offensive line that lost even more starters to injury as the game went on, delivered just that as he…