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NFL: Colts grind out win over Broncos in injury-filled game

Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas II and linebacker Zaire Franklin celebrate after a game against the Denver Broncos.
Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney Thomas II (25) and linebacker Zaire Franklin (44) celebrate after beating the Denver Broncos on Thursday in Denver.
(Jack Dempsey / Associated Press)

Stephon Gilmore batted away Russell Wilson’s pass to Courtland Sutton in the end zone on fourth and one from the five to give the Indianapolis Colts a 12-9 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.

Gilmore also intercepted Wilson’s pass in the fourth quarter to help set up Chase McLaughlin’s tying field goal.

McLaughlin connected from 47 yards 4:10 into overtime to give the Colts (2-2-1) the lead in the first game in NFL history that pitted quarterbacks with at least four Pro Bowl appearances each, but it featured zero touchdowns.

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The Broncos (2-3) decided against a tying chip-shot field goal by Brandon McManus, and Wilson lined up in the shotgun next to running back Melvin Gordon, then threw incomplete over the middle.

Matt Ryan grinded out the victory despite throwing two interceptions into the hands of safety Caden Sterns, fumbling for the 10th time this season and getting sacked six times, giving him 21.

McLaughlin sent it to overtime with a 31-yarder with five seconds left in regulation after Gilmore intercepted Wilson’s pass to Jerry Jeudy in the end zone on third and four from the 13.

That kick capped the Colts’ longest drive of the night, 68 yards in 10 plays.

The Colts won the overtime coin toss and Ryan drove them into field-goal range again.

Many fans were wondering if this game would be one of revenge — Phillip Lindsay returning to his hometown to beat the Broncos — or redemption — Gordon atoning for his big fumble Sunday that was returned 68 yards for a touchdown by the Raiders.

It turned out to be neither.

Lindsay ran for 40 yards in 11 carries ad Gordon had 54 yards in 15 carries, but he was flipped by safety Rodney McLoyd Jr. on his way to the end zone when it appeared he had an open path to the winning touchdown.

Sterns picked off two of Ryan’s passes, the second one leading to a 45-yard field goal and a 9-6 lead with 3:19 left in the third quarter. But the boobirds were out again at Empower Field after Andrew Beck dropped a touchdown pass two plays after Sterns’ second interception.

The prime-time game was a streaming snooze-fest pitting veteran quarterbacks struggling with their new teams, both of whom were missing their best running back and several key defenders.

The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes each matchup and predicts the winners in NFL Week 5. The Eagles will remain undefeated while the Rams will beat the Cowboys.

It looked like neither team practiced much during the week because neither team did as they worked in new running backs and replaced key defenders on a short work week.

And as is common on Thursday nights, there was a rash of injuries with the most serious to Indy’s Kwity Payne (leg) and Denver’s Garett Bolles (right knee), both of whom were carted off.

The only scoring before halftime came on field goals of 33 and 44 yards by McManus and a 52-yarder by McLaughlin with 12 seconds left before the break.

McLaughlin’s 51-yarder tied it in the third quarter, and Grover Stewart preserved the tie by blocking McManus’ attempt from 34 yards after Courtland Sutton’s 51-yard catch in which he wrested the ball from teammate Montrell Washington.

With reigning NFL champion Jonathan Taylor (ankle, toe) out for Indianapolis and the Broncos lamenting the loss of Javonte Williams to a shredded right knee, the grind-it-out nature of the game was expected.

The Colts came in averaging 14.3 points, the lowest in Ryan’s 16-year career, and the Broncos entered the night averaging 16.5 points, the worst in Wilson’s 11-year career.

Nyheim Hines got the start for the Colts, but he went out with a head injury after his third snap when D.J. Jones knocked him down and Hines’ helmet bounced on the ground. He wobbled as he tried to leave the field on his own and had to be guided to the sideline, where he was evaluated for a concussion.


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