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Indianapolis Colts Show Cincinnati Bengals What ‘Elite’ Looks Like


Oct 19, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts free safety Sergio Brown (38) and cornerback Vontae Davis (21) defend a pass intended for Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham (84) during the fourth quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts defeated the Bengals 27-0. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Cast your memory back to Week 3 of the 2014 NFL season, when the Cincinnati Bengals stood 3-0 and were making teams look silly.  At that point, you might recall, pundits were ready to install the Bengals as Super Bowl favorites in the AFC and were even whispering the “E” word – elite.  On Sunday, the Bengals traveled to Naptown and found out what an elite team really looks like, falling to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 27-0 and getting dominated all over the field.

No matter what metric or heuristic you choose to evaluate this game, the Colts had the upper hand.

Quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 344 yards and two TDs (no interceptions), while Cincinnati signal-caller Andy Dalton struggled to 126 yards with no touchdowns (or picks).

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Indianapolis ran the ball 34 times for 171 yards, while Cincinnati managed just 32 yards on 12 carries.  Even much-maligned Indy back Trent Richardson showed that he might just be an NFL runner, gaining 77 yards on 14 carries and adding 41 more on 4 catches.

About the only place that Cincinnati held the upper hand was in turnovers, as the Colts coughed up two fumbles on the day.

If you’re looking for another bright spot from this afternoon, it just might be tight end Jermaine Gresham, vilified in recent weeks for his drops.  Today, Gresham hauled in a career-high 10 catches for 48 yards, which doesn’t necessarily mean he is a solution to the Bengals’ receiving woes. The “breakout” does come at an opportune time, though, as Cincinnati is apparently ready to shop the TE before next week’s trade deadline.

The Bengals must now head back to the Riverfront and try to figure out how to piece their broken season back together.  That task is made all the more difficult by the prospect of facing the division-leading Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium next Sunday.

Indianapolis, meanwhile, has reeled off five straight victories and looks to be gathering steam heading into the cold weather.

What a difference a few weeks make in the NFL!