INDIANAPOLIS — The boxscore will show a six-play, 57-yard drive taking 3:52 off the clock that culminated in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Luck to Jack Doyle.
But let’s take a closer look at the Indianapolis Colts’ Week 8 Drive of the Game, presented by Hays + Sons:
Sunday’s Week 8 matchup between the Colts and the Oakland Raiders was one of those classic back-and-forth battles in which Indy had clear control at the start and at the end — but the rest was far from such a sure thing.
The Colts came into the game hoping to fly home with a second straight win and head into their bye week, at 3-5, feeling good and still very much in the AFC South Division race. The Raiders, meanwhile, have struggled so far in 2018, but were wanting to earn their second victory of the season heading into a short week.
Indy would set the tone by jumping out to a 10-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, but Oakland showed it wasn’t going to go down without a fight, scoring touchdowns on four straight possessions after going three-and-out to open the game, and eventually taking an eight-point lead, 21-13, with 9:49 left in the third quarter.
The two teams would trade touchdowns once again, and with the score now 28-28 after a four-yard touchdown run by Marlon Mack — who put in a career-best performance for a second straight week — the Colts’ defense finally put the clamps down, forcing a three-and-out on the Raiders’ ensuing drive and forcing a punt.
That punt would only travel 25 yards, however, and Indy was set up with prime position, at its own 43-yard line, with 9:20 left in the game and an opportunity to take the lead for the first time since about midway through the second quarter.
This eventual go-ahead drive, as we would learn, would belong to Jack Doyle.
The Pro Bowl tight end had missed the team’s last five games after suffering a hip injury Week 2 against the Washington Redskins, but was able to get in enough practice last week to satisfy head coach Frank Reich.
After a six-yard run by Mack to open the drive, Andrew Luck found Doyle: 14 yards, first down.
The next play: 11 yards, Luck to Doyle, first down.
Two plays later, with Indy facing a 2nd and 16 from the Oakland 32 after a holding call: Luck, Doyle, 17 yards, first down.
Perhaps it was fitting that two plays later, facing 1st and 5 from the Raiders’ 10-yard line, the theme would continue.
Luck, lined up in the shotgun formation with Mack to his left, faked a handoff to the back, drawing in the defense. Doyle, who initially lined up off the left side of the offensive line, was able to get free running a little swing route to the numbers on the left side of the field. The only defender in the area, cornerback Gareon Conley, was pre-occupied with wide receiver T.Y. Hilton.
Luck found Doyle in stride. The rest was all No. 84.
Doyle ran over safety Marcus Gilchrist — who had a massive running head start — at the 5-yard line, and then beat Conley to the corner of the end zone, diving for the pylon to get his first touchdown reception of the season.
Colts 35, Raiders 28.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Darius Leonard would knock the ball out of Raiders running back Doug Martin’s grip on the very next Oakland play from scrimmage, and fellow rookie linebacker Matthew Adams would fall on it at the Raiders’ 27. Five plays later, Mack hit paydirt, this time from one-yard out, and the Colts are heading into their bye week with a little momentum.