Carson Wentz, Jonathan Taylor power Colts past Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Carson Wentz threw a pair of touchdown passes, Jonathan Taylor ran for 108 yards and the banged-up Indianapolis Colts continued their late-season surge with a gritty 22-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.

The Colts (9-6) have won three straight and six of their past seven. They earned 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.

Carson Wentz throws a 14-yard touchdown pass to Dezmon Patmon in the fourth quarter of the Colts’ 22-16 win over the Cardinals.
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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.

Arizona’s Matt Prater missed two field goals, including a potential go-ahead try early in the fourth quarter, and an extra point.

The Cardinals grabbed a 13-12 lead early in the third quarter when Murray hit Antoine Wesley for a 24-yard touchdown, which was the first of Wesley’s NFL career.

Suddenly, the onus was on the Colts’ patchwork offense to produce. That wasn’t easy for a unit that came into the game missing three starting offensive lineman. By the end of the first half, left tackle Eric Fisher and tight end Jack Doyle were also on the sideline with injuries.

Jonathan Taylor finished with 108 rushing yards.
Jonathan Taylor finished with 108 rushing yards.
AP

The Colts managed to cobble together a drive late in the third quarter capped by a 37-yard field goal for a 15-13 lead. Indianapolis caught a break a few minutes later in the fourth quarter when Prater’s 41-yard field goal bounced off the right upright.

That set up a seven-play, 69-yard Indianapolis drive that ended with Wentz — who completed 18 of 28 passes for 225 yards — connecting with Patmon.

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.

Kyler Murray commits intentional grounding in the second quarter of the Cardinals 22-16 loss to the Colts.
Kyler Murray commits intentional grounding in the second quarter of the Cardinals 22-16 loss to the Colts.
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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.