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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Cody Felger

Studs and duds from Colts’ 39-38 loss to Browns

The Indianapolis Colts (3-4) lost their second straight game in heartbreaking fashion against the Cleveland Browns (4-2) on Sunday at home by a 39-38 score.

Despite dominating the game in just about every category, Indianapolis could not overcome turnovers and some controversial penalties on the Browns’ final drive of the game.

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Here are the studs and duds from the Colts’ loss in Week 7:

STUD: WR Josh Downs

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Rookie Josh Downs continued his stellar rookie campaign with another strong game.

Downs posted a career-high 125 receiving yards on five receptions highlighted by his 59-yard score in the first quarter.

I was tempted to put all of the receivers on this list, especially Michael Pittman Jr. who hauled in a massive 75-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, as they had a very good day as a unit, but Downs was clearly the standout of the day.

Downs currently has 401 receiving yards and is on pace for 973 yards, the second most as a rookie in Indianapolis Colts’ history.

DUD: Gardner Minshew's turnovers

Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The biggest reason the Colts lost this game was the untimely turnovers.

Gardner Minshew turned the ball over four times in the game and gifted the Browns points off turnovers that ultimately helped Cleveland keep the game competitive.

Despite the fact that the Colts defense did its part in creating turnovers, four turnovers ultimately were too much to overcome in this game.

Minshew has now committed four turnovers in back-to-back games and must be better at protecting the football moving forward.

STUD: Secondary

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of two Darell Baker Jr. penalties, both of which were questionable, the secondary for Indianapolis played one of its best games all season.

Kenny Moore and Julian Blackmon led the way with their best performances of the season. Moore recorded 10 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks and currently leads all defensive backs in the NFL in tackles for loss.

Blackmon recorded his second interception of the season, two passes defended and two tackles for loss.

Free safety Rodney Thomas also snagged his first interception of the season.

The defense held Browns’ quarterback PJ Walker to 178 passing yards, 47% completion percentage and nabbed an interception leading to a 51.3 rating.

STUD: Running game

Bob Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis rushing attack had a strong day against a very stout Cleveland rushing defense, rushing for 168 yards on 40 carries.

Jonathan Taylor led the way with 75 rushing yards on 18 carries as well as his first rushing touchdown of the season.  Zack Moss added 57 yards on the ground on 18 carries.

Gardener Minshew added 29 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown as well.

All in all, it was a very encouraging day from the Indianapolis rushing attack all day long and will be interesting to see how Shane Steichen divides up the carries moving forward.

DUD: CB Darrell Baker Jr.


To be fair to Baker, he got thrown into the game when rookie Julius Brents left the game with a quad injury.

While the stats weren’t necessarily an indicator, the Browns really began to test and target Baker, especially on the final drive of the game. Then, came the two killer penalties.

First was the illegal contact penalty, which negated what would have been a game-winning fumble. Though that call was a bit questionable, Baker bit hard on the inside sell from Amari Cooper, which initiated the contact.

Then came the pass interference call on an uncatchable pass, which truly was a terrible call from the officials. We shouldn’t blame that one on him.

Baker was benched earlier in the season and the Colts may want to consider bringing in another cornerback if Brents is forced to miss any time.

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