Playing games on three days of rest is bad enough as it is, but the Colts were doing so following a grueling battle in a blizzard that went deep into overtime. They came out of the tunnel with lots of energy, leading for most of the opening half, but they wilted down following intermission, scoring just three points after the break.
While this wasn't surprising, Brock Osweiler's performance certainly was. Osweiler took over for Trevor Siemian in the first half after Siemian injured his hand. Siemian banged it while hitting the turf, and he had to be carted into the locker room for some reason. Siemian wasn't heard from again, but the Broncos wouldn't have re-inserted him into the lineup even if he were cleared to play. Osweiler was that good. He ran in a touchdown in the second quarter, and his best plays occurred after halftime. Osweiler made several brilliant throws, including a terrific 54-yard pass to tight end Jeff Heuerman to give the Broncos a nine-point lead, thanks to a two-point conversion that should've never counted.
Osweiler finished 12-of-17 for 194 yards and three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). He made just one poor throw where he was almost intercepted on a deep shot to Emmanuel Sanders, but two Indianapolis defenders collided with each other. Osweiler was excellent otherwise, and he may have won himself an opportunity to start next week. This might be false hope, however, given how horrible Indianapolis' secondary is. The Colts are missing numerous starters in the secondary and are playing guys who wouldn't even be on other NFL rosters, so sudden Osweiler fanatics need to remain skeptical.
Siemian, by the way, went 5-of-9 for 67 yards and a horrible interception thrown into double coverage. I have the Broncos beginning anew at quarterback in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft, selecting Baker Mayfield.
Indianapolis' fatigue was obvious when the team couldn't bring down C.J. Anderson in the second half. Anderson gashed the Colts for 158 yards on 30 carries, with most of his yardage coming after halftime. Anderson didn't even have 50 yards by intermission! Indianapolis simply looked too exhausted to deal with Anderson, and also Devontae Booker (11-39), who drew a ridiculous penalty from the Colts on a third-and-21. An Indianapolis player gave Denver a free first down because of a face mask on a short run on such a long down-and-distance situation.
Despite Osweiler's great performance, neither Demaryius Thomas (5-69) nor Emmanuel Sanders (7-68) caught touchdowns. The recipients were Cody Latimer (3-60) and Heuerman, who scored on his sole reception. Thomas drew a defensive hold on a fourth-down try, while Sanders dropped a pass on the first play of the evening, but made up for it with a great 26-yard reception on a back-shoulder play.
As for the Colts, they couldn't run the ball very well with Frank Gore, who mustered only 31 yards on 10 carries. Gore was a monster on Sunday, but with three days of rest, Gore couldn't really do much, and it didn't seem like Indianapolis didn't want that to be the case, as indicated by Marlon Mack's six carries, which he turned into 14 yards. I have Indianapolis selecting Gore's replacement, Saquon Barkley, in my mock.
Jacoby Brissett, meanwhile, went 17-of-30 for only 158 yards. He also rushed for a touchdown. Brissett did well early, going 7-of-11 for 82 yards in the opening half, but barely completed half of his passes following intermission. Denver's defense, which was sleepy early, seemed to feed off Osweiler's inexplicable energy.
Indianapolis' leading receiver was Jack Doyle, who caught seven passes for 47 yards. T.Y. Hilton was next with five grabs for 41 yards. Hilton got hurt in the second quarter when he collided with Aqib Talib. He remained in the game, but caught only one ball following halftime.
Lions XX, Bears XX
Chargers XX, Chiefs XX
Bills XX, Dolphins XX
Bills XX, Dolphins XX
Eagles XX, Giants XX
Redskins XX, Cardinals XX
Vikings XX, Bengals XX
Saints XX, Jets XX
Panthers XX, Packers XX
Ravens XX, Browns XX
Jaguars XX, Texans XX
Seahawks XX, Rams XX
Patriots XX, Steelers XX
49ers XX, Titans XX
Cowboys XX, Raiders XX
Falcons XX, Buccaneers XX
For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.