The Indianapolis Colts passing attack was nearly unstoppable in its match-up against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday; as the Colts picked up a 26-10 victory in the first round of the NFL playoffs. Colts’ quarterback Andrew Luck put together one of the best performances of his young career in the playoffs.
Cincinnati’s offense was unable to over come the injuries to its top two targets — wide receiver AJ Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham — as the offense struggled to break big plays and score. Quarterback Andy Dalton had a lot of time in the pocket, because the Colts pass rush struggled to generate pressure, but he was unable to find holes down field as the Indianapolis secondary provided iron tight coverage. Despite the tight down field coverage, Dalton didn’t throw an interception…or a touchdown.
The Colts broke the game wide open when quarterback Andrew Luck hit wide receiver Donte Moncrief on a 36-yard touchdown pass. Moncrief was running a deep corner route and was a couple of steps ahead of his defender. It was a crucial score for the Colts, as it gave them a two possession lead over the Bengals and their struggling offense.
Indianapolis’ offense had no problem moving into field goal range, but the offense did struggle with punching it into the end zone. Fortunately for the Colts, kicker Adam Vinatieri is one of the more reliable kickers in the NFL; and he hit both of the field goals — a 22-yard attempt, and a 53-yard attempt — that he was asked to kick.
Luck was the biggest offensive star of the game as he completed 31 of his 44 pass attempts for 376 yards (8.6 yards per completion) and one touchdown — he also threw zero interceptions. The third-year quarterback’s passes were consistently on target throughout the game, including several passes that he tossed into tight windows. This performance was thanks to an impressive performance by the Colts’ offensive line, as they managed to keep the pocket clean.
Next up for Indianapolis is a trip to Denver, Colo. to take on the No. 2 seed Denver Broncos and quarterback Peyton Manning.