Colts Shutout Cowboys, First Colts Shutout Since 2014
INDIANAPOLIS – This win was December football.
When the month of December arrives, coaches always preach about being able to win games with your defense and a run game is an absolute must.
That’s exactly how the Colts (8-6) shutout the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) on Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Sunday was certainly a day to remember for the defense of the Indianapolis Colts.
In shutting out the Cowboys for their first goose egg in 15 years (and the first for the Colts since October 2014), the Colts carried out the defensive blueprint for what this system is all about.
Bend, but don’t break.
“We were still a bend but don’t break defense,” should be Defensive Rookie of the Year Darius Leonard said of the Colts blanking the Cowboys, despite all 7 drives for Dallas taking snaps on Indianapolis’ side of the field.
“I thought we played well. Shutout means the most. When you don’t score, you can’t win, so that means a lot for a defense.”
It’s an amazing feat to think about, all 7 drives for the Cowboys reaching the Colts’ side of the field, yet not one finished with any points.
Whether it was a blocked field goal by Denico Autry, or a big 4th down run stuff by Margus Hunt or a timely play from Leonard, the Colts found necessary playmaking on the game’s most critical downs.
“It was incredible,” Frank Reich said of the Colts’ defense pitching a shutout. “It seemed liked whenever we needed to make a play, every time it came down to making a play to stop a drive, we made it. We gave up a few yards here or there, but we made the plays when we needed to make them.”
For a second straight week, the Colts did their job in limiting the opposing team’s best skill players.
The extremely talented Ezekiel Elliott had ‘just’ 128 total yards, which is more than 30 yards short of a normal day for Zeke.
In the passing game, Amari Cooper’s recent terror ended on Sunday, with just 4 catches for 32 yards on 7 targets.
Taking away the other team’s best players has been executed tremendously by the Colts in back-to-back wins over the Texans and Cowboys.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts rushed 36 times for 181 yards (taking out their 3 kneel downs), which was good for more than 5 yards per carry.
That effort came against the NFL’s best rushing defense in yards per carry allowed entering Week 15.
“We really wanted to get the run game going,” Frank Reich said after the big day on the ground. “This was a difficult week to get to do that, because they led the league in fewest yards per attempt rushing, but the guys up front played great football. They played physically dominant football.”
Marlon Mack had a career-high 139 yards on 27 carries, becoming just the second 100-yard rusher allowed by the Cowboys this season.
Mack did his part with yards after contact, while the returns of Ryan Kelly and Mo Alie-Cox were more than noticeable.
“Ryan is a master mind,” Eric Ebron said after the Colts won their 7th game in their last 8 contests. “Him and Andrew are on the same page. That comes with years of experience. They kind of share the same mind when it comes down to football. It’s good to have him back and we were able to accomplish a nice little rushing feat for the day.”
“Mo is a damn statue. It’s hard to move somebody that big and that strong. It’s crazy that he’s a basketball player. It’s good to have him back. He was out there moving people. He did a great job.”
Stifling defense when the field was shrinking and a run game that hasn’t been seen in over a month.
That is how the Colts ended the NFL’s longest winning streak for a second straight week.
(PHOTO: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)