The Indianapolis Colts didn’t meet much resistance when it counted as they moved to 4-5 on the season after defeating the New York Jets on “Thursday Night Football” 45-30. While that final score may not suggest a blowout, New York’s points largely came in garbage time with the game out of reach in the second half. From the jump, Indy was able to put points on the board, going on an 88-yard touchdown drive on the club’s opening possession. At first, the Jets were able to hold serve with the Colts as Mike White responded to that touchdown drive with one of his own as he connected with rookie Elijah Moore on a 19-yard score. However, White suffered a forearm injury in the midst of that drive and did not return for the rest of the night.
It was at that point where New York was left in the dust. The Colts would find the end zone on all four of their offensive possessions in the first half to go up by double-digits at the break. They only continued to pour it on in the second half and finished with 532 yards of offense.
Jonathan Taylor led the Colts backfield in what was a dominating night on the ground as he finished with 172 yards and two touchdowns. Carson Wentz completed 22 of his 30 passes on the night for 272 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, White completed seven of his 11 throws for the Jets for 95 yards and a touchdown before departing. With White on the shelf, Josh Johnson came in under duress and completed 27 of 41 for 317 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception in the losing effort.
To read more about how this game unfolded, check out our main takeaways below.
Why the Colts won
It was all gas, no brakes for the Colts for roughly three quarters in this game. That was enough offensive firepower to negate any late rally by the Jets (outside of sweating out the 10-point spread). Indianapolis was hot right out of the gate and scored a touchdown on every single one of its possessions in the first half. At halftime, the Colts had nearly a 100-yard advantage in total offense and a lot of that was thanks to a highly efficient Wentz, who completed 15 of 18 over the first two quarters for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Indy was able to carry that momentum into the third quarter where it tacked on even more points and got out to a massive 42-10 lead at one point.
Of course, a large part of that was also thanks to the ground game. As a team, the Colts ran for 260 yards, which is the highest total rushing yards by a team this season. That unit averaged 8.7 yards per carry and also found the end zone three times.
Defensively, the Colts started to falter late and allowed the Jets to score 20 points in the second half, but they were largely stout early. In the early minutes of the second quarter, linebacker Darius Leonard also was able to punch the ball loose from Ty Johnson’s arms, which helped spark a 21-3 run by the Colts heading into halftime.
Why the Jets lost
The wind was cut out of their sails in the aftermath of White’s injury. Once he was lost, it was a tall ask for backup Josh Johnson to try to keep pace with a Colts offense that was scoring at will when it was truly zeroed in. While the first half did set the stage for a rough showing for the Jets in the Week 9 opener, the second half is where they were truly left in the rear-view mirror. Coming out of halftime and already in an 18-point hole, New York’s offense would log back-to-back three-and-outs to begin the third quarter. Over that stretch, Indianapolis would add 14 more points to its lead and make any realistic thought of an upset obsolete.
Even in the loss, however, you do have to give Robert Saleh’s team credit for continuing to fight. After those two punts, the Jets scored 20 points on their next three possessions and nearly tacked on another score, but Johnson was picked off at the Colts’ 7-yard line, which ultimately iced the game. One other positive storyline that came out of Thursday’s loss for the Jets was rookie receiver Elijah Moore, who caught seven of his eight targets for a team-high 84 yards and two touchdowns.
White’s injury really changed the complexion of this game. Early on, the Jets quarterback looked like he was poised to pick up where he left off during his jaw-dropping performance last week in the upset against Cincinnati. After a punt on New York’s opening drive of the game, White responded well to Indy’s initial touchdown drive by completing four of his six passes for 72 yards, which included a 19-yard touchdown to Moore. Unfortunately for the Jets, that was the last we’d see of White as he suffered a forearm injury that sidelined him for the rest of the night.
On top of the White injury throwing a wrench in New York’s plans, the Colts kept the scoring going and were able to go up 28-10 by halftime as Johnson attempted to get his feet under him after coming in under duress.
Play of the game
There were a number of plays worthy of consideration (Michael Pittman’s impressive touchdown catch over the middle of the end zone and offensive lineman Danny Pinter’s touchdown grab to name a few). However, Taylor’s 78-yard touchdown run was the cherry on top of what was already a dominating display for the second-year running back who showed off some blazing speed as he galloped in for six.
According to Next Gen Stats, Taylor reached a top speed of 22.05 mph on that touchdown run. That is the fastest speed by a ball carrier this season. Who did Taylor beat out? Himself! Back in Week 8, he reached a top speed of 21.83 mph.
From here, the Jets will head back to East Rutherford and await the Buffalo Bills, who’ll be taking on the Jaguars down in Jacksonville on Sunday. As for the Colts, they’ll stick around Lucas Oil Stadium and see those Jaguars come to town in Week 10.