INDIANAPOLIS – On the verge of a victory on Monday Night Football, the Colts could not hold on to a 14-point second-half lead against the Eagles.
The Colts put together one of their finest rushing outputs in a long time but it wasn't enough to fend off the high-powered attack of the Eagles.
Here's a notebook run down of the Colts falling to Eagles, 30-27.
First Half Blueprint Can't Carry Colts To Victory
The first half blueprint for the Colts went just about according to plan on Monday night.
All week long, the talk for the Colts centered on how they would defend one of the league's most innovative offensive attacks.
That was accomplished, for a half.
"Obviously very disappointing to say the least," head coach Chuck Pagano said following the 30-27 loss." They made the plays that they had to down the stretch. We came out and we played the exact type of game we wanted to play in the first half. We had scoring drives, we got off the field on defense, we held them in the red zone. We bottled up the run game. We gave up a few big plays, but again they stiffened their neck in the red zone and held them to two field goals.
"The second half, it was just we didn't play a 60-minute ball game. Turnovers killed us, long runs, big plays in the pass game, the screen game, just killed us
The Indianapolis defense definitely weathered the early storm, holding the Eagles to just six points at halftime.
A 17-6 halftime lead grew to 20-6, midway through the third quarter, before the tide began to turn towards the visiting sideline.
Following an Adam Vinatieri field goal to push the lead to 14 points, the Eagles struck back with an 80-yard drive in just 2:11.
With the lead cut to seven, a Trent Richardson fumble would give the Eagles the ball back with a short field.
Philadelphia once again took advantage with Darren Sproles scoring from 19 yards out to tie the game at 20, with 2:44 to go in the third quarter.
All the momentum appeared to be with the defending NFC East Champions but the Colts would answer.
A 12-play, 80-yard drive was capped by Ahmad Bradshaw scoring from seven yards out to give the Colts the lead back at 27-20.
After a three-and-out forced by the Colts defense, it was time for the offense to milk a fourth quarter clock towards the waning minutes.
The game changed for good with the Colts facing a third-and-nine with 5:15 to go. An Andrew Luck pass sailed high over T.Y. Hilton, who had fallen to the ground, and Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins picked off the pass.
With some late life, the Eagles once again went to work. Thanks to a 51-yard screen pass to Sproles, the Eagles scored in just 1:43 to tie the game at 27.
A Colts three-and-out would follow and the Eagles took over at their own 40-yard line with 1:56 to go.
Philadelphia tight end Zach Ertz led off the drive with a 24-yard gain. Three plays later kicker Cody Parkey knocked home a 36-yard field goal to complete the Eagles comeback.
The Colts will now turn their attention to the AFC South and a trip to Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon with both teams looking for their first win of 2014.
"It stinks. It's not good," Luck said of the Colts 0-2 record.
"We realize it's not the end of the season by any means. Our minds are now, 'Hey, onto the next one.' Whoever that is, we know we've got to get in the win column and get moving in the right direction."
Ground Game Provides Early Production
The plan on Monday night was to chew up yardage via the ground and that's exactly what the Colts accomplished.
Getting off to a faster start was also a priority all week long and the Colts did that behind 69 first quarter rushing yards, the largest opening frame output for the team since 2007.
With the Colts facing an early third-and-one, the running game took off on a 29-yard run from Ahmad Bradshaw.
It was another productive evening for Bradshaw as he finished the game with 13 carries for 70 yards (also chipped in with 5 catches for 26 yards).
"When you've got a player like Ahmad, running hard, catching the ball, doing good on third-down, scoring touchdowns, that's always been AB," Trent Richardson said after the game.
"When you've got a player like Ahmad that is an older guy and still moving like he's moving, you are blessed to have a person on a team like that."
Richardson turned in his best game as a Colt, with 21 carries for 79 yards.
What Richardson couldn't shake though was a late third quarter fumble, which set up the Eagles with a short field to eventually tie the score at 20.
"That last series we shouldn't have been in that situation," Richardson said of his fumble that erased the Colts lead.
"It's on me. My fumble should have never happened. I made a poor decision. I don't fumble. That's not my identity."
The friendly fire of the Colts offense plagued what was otherwise an ideal night for the team's rushing output.
A 38-carry, 169-yard evening for the Colts rushing offense was the team's highest total since their Week Three victory last year in San Francisco.
In the Eagles previous six games, they had held opponents to an average of 72.7 rushing yards per game.
"It felt great," Bradshaw said of the Colts run game. "We all dedicated ourselves this week to run the football."
A Look At The Colts Snap Counts Against Philadelphia
-The five Colts offensive linemen and Andrew Luck played all 72 offensive snaps on Monday night.
-The tight end snaps were divided up with Dwayne Allen playing 58 snaps, Coby Fleener 52 and Jack Doyle 36.
-At running back, Ahmad Bradshaw played 44 snaps and Trent Richardson logged 30.
-Reggie Wayne paced the receivers with 58 snaps. T.Y. Hilton had 49 and Hakeem Nicks had 29.
-D'Qwell Jackson, Mike Adams, Vontae Davis and Greg Toler played all 68 of the team's defensive snaps on Monday night.
-Nickel back Darius Butler played 63 of the team's 68 defensive snaps. In his first career NFL start, Josh McNary logged 62 of the 68 defensive snaps.
-With Art Jones leaving the game after 13 snaps, the defensive line saw their snaps divided up as followed: Cory Redding (49), Ricky Jean Francois (35), Josh Chapman (31), Montori Hughes (27) and Zach Kerr (20).