GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts have beaten some teams with Jonathan Taylor’s legs, some with Carson Wentz’s arm and a few with stellar defense. They added another formula for a victory Saturday night: sheer grit.
Wentz threw two touchdown passes, Taylor ran for 108 yards and the banged-up Colts continued their late-season surge with a hard-earned 22-16 win over the fading Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.
The Colts (9-6) have won three straight and six of seven. They got the road win despite missing 2020 All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard — who was put on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier Saturday — and four starting offensive linemen.
Wentz made the game’s biggest play midway through the fourth quarter, when he bounced around in the pocket for a few seconds before hitting Dezmon Patmon for a 14-yard touchdown on a perfectly placed ball in the back of the end zone. That gave the Colts a 22-13 lead.
The Cardinals (10-5) failed to clinch a playoff spot for a third straight week and are 3-5 since starting the season 7-0. Kyler Murray threw for 245 yards and a touchdown while also running for 74 yards.
The Colts got off to a great start when Taylor broke free for a 43-yard run on the team’s first offensive play. The 226-pound back sliced through the middle of the line before bouncing to the outside and rumbling down the right sideline. Five plays later, Wentz had plenty of time to find T.Y. Hilton for a 1-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Taylor came into the game as the NFL’s leading rusher by a wide margin with 1,518 yards on the ground. That’s more than 400 yards ahead of Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon, who sits at No. 2.
The Cardinals bounced back quickly after the Colts scored. Murray faked a handoff to Jonathan Ward, made a nice cut and ran 57 yards before being knocked down at the Indy 2. Two plays later, Chase Edmonds burst through the line for a 2-yard touchdown. Prater missed the extra point and the Colts kept a 7-6 lead.
The Colts added a safety late in the second quarter when Murray couldn’t handle a low snap. The quarterback picked up the ball and flung it out of the end zone and was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, which is an automatic safety.
Colts: host the Raiders on Jan. 2.
Cardinals: travel to the Cowboys on Jan. 2.