INDIANAPOLIS –The Colts captured a grind-it-out victory on Sunday.
Quarterback Andrew Luck ran for a pair of touchdowns in the first half. He passed for 186 yards without an interception. And the Colts' running attack totaled 148 yards in a 17-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Bruce Arians, the Colts' interim head coach, liked what he saw as Indy used crisp passing and tough-minded running to produce the team's third triumph of 2012.
"That was a better balanced football team for us today," Arians said. "We have to stay that way. We can't be one-dimensional. And we don't want to be."
Luck turned out to be a significant part of the running game. He went three yards for a touchdown on the game's opening drive. That was after he completed four passes for 67 yards.
On the Colts' second possession, he swept around right end on a naked bootleg for a five-yard score.
The Colts averaged 4.0 yards per rushing play, and that seemed to please Luck the most.
"The guys up front have worked hard all year," Luck said. "And it's nice to see the backs bust some of those runs. We got some good momentum."
The Colts' defense did its part, too, holding Cleveland to 55 rushing yards. The Browns scored on the opening drive of the second half, pulling within a point of Indy. But the Colts forced Cleveland into punts on the next four possessions.
Then came one of Indy's biggest defensive plays. The Browns marched to the Colts' 39-yard line near the two-minute warning. Just after the warning, on fourth down, Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden threw a pass over the middle for Josh Cooper. Colts cornerback Jerraud Powers broke it up.
Weeden completed 25-of-41 passes for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Browns dropped to 1-6.
FIRST QUARTER (7:23 remaining)
The Colts received the opening kickoff and went right to work. Multiple players were productive. Running back Vick Ballard collected 37 yards running and receiving on the march. Quarterback Andrew Luck completed all four of his passes for 67 yards and ran three yards for the touchdown. The drive consumed 7:37, going 11 plays and 80 yards. Adam Vinatieri hit the extra point.Colts 7, Browns 0
SECOND QUARTER (14:01 remaining)
Quarterback Brandon Weeden completed 5-of-7 passes for 55 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown to Greg Little. The Cleveland receiver bobbled the ball slightly but gained control as he fell backward near the back line of the end zone. The Colts retained a one-point lead when Browns holder Reggie Hodges mishandled the snap and his team failed to get off an extra-point attempt.Colts 7, Browns 6
SECOND QUARTER (7:41 remaining)
Luck ran for his second touchdown of the game, going five yards on a naked bootleg to the right. He also hit third-down passes of 16, 10 and nine yards, all resulting in first downs. The march went 14 plays and 76 yards. Vinatieri booted the extra point. Colts 14, Browns 6
THIRD QUARTER (11:53 remaining)
The Browns opened the second half with a successful six-play, 80-yard drive. Big plays were registered by Weeden, who threw completions of 14, 25 and 33 yards. The 33-yarder went to Josh Gordon for the touchdown. Phil Dawson hit the extra point.Colts 14, Browns 13
THIRD QUARTER (3:19 remaining)
The Colts strung together 17 plays for a methodical drive that pushed them into field goal range. The drive's biggest gainer, a 13-yard completion from Luck to Donnie Avery, brought Vinatieri onto the field for a 38-yard field goal that extended the Colts' lead. Colts 17, Browns 13