BALTIMORE – The Indianapolis Colts needed a win.
There’s no other way to put it because the start of their season has been filled with injuries and a brutal schedule against three teams that should be in playoff contention.
The Colts knew it, too.
They played like a desperate team for more than three quarters, but then Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson did away with running the ball and showed any remaining doubters that he’s a legitimate NFL passer.
The Colts went from looking to turn their season around to having it spiral downward when they blew a 19-point lead in their 31-25 overtime loss to the Ravens. The Colts were 120-0 when leading by 16 in the fourth quarter since the franchise moved to Indianapolis.
Indianapolis got its first victory of the season against the Miami Dolphins in Week 4, but it was nothing to get overly excited about, beyond it simply being a win, because the Dolphins are struggling. The real test to end what was a brutal schedule to begin the season came on Monday, on national television and against a playoff contender.
The Colts led 22-3 with a little more than three minutes remaining when things went from promising to disastrous.
Quarterback Carson Wentz had a chance to have his first impressive win with his new team when he lead the Colts 46 yards down the field in the final 39 seconds to put them in position for a winning 46-yard field goal by injured kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. Blankenship pushed his kick to the left.
“We’re making progress, but it’s not good enough in this league,” coach Frank Reich said. “I know we have the right players in there and the right coaches in there. So have to keep fighting to get better. Learn how to finish games. We’re all in it together. We all have to do it together.”
Now, the Colts are 1-4. About the only thing they have going in their favor is the schedule -- if you want to call it that -- as four of their next five games are against teams with losing records, starting at home against the Houston Texans (1-4) on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
Promising trend: Second-year player Jonathan Taylor showed he’s more than a running back when he caught three passes for a career-high 116 yards. Taylor got it going offensively when he took a screen pass and went 76 yards untouched on the first series of the game for the Colts. That was the Colts’ longest play since Week 9 of the 2017 season. The 116 receiving yards by Taylor were the most by a Colts running back since Marshall Faulk had 119 yards against the New England Patriots on Nov. 1, 1998.
Troubling trend: The Colts might have to figure out what to do at kicker because Blankenship is dealing with a hip injury. Blankenship wasn’t on the field during a drive in the final seconds of the first half. Punter Rigoberto Sanchez ran out for the field goal with running back Nyheim Hines as the holder. Luckily for the Colts, the Ravens were called for an offsides penalty. Blankenship then came on the field and made a 37-yard field goal to end the half. But the Colts wouldn't have lost the game had Blankenship not missed an extra point, had a field goal blocked and missed the 46-yard attempt as time expired in regulation.
Wentz breaks out: It won't be talked about -- and rightfully so -- but Wentz had his best game as a Colt, going 25-of-35 for 402 yards and two touchdowns. The 402 yards were a career high for Wentz and the most he has thrown since he threw for 359 against the New York Giants on Oct. 22, 2020, when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles.