ATLANTA – The Colts were unable to further solidify their place in the AFC playoff picture in losing, 29-10, to the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.
The Colts took an early lead when running back Jonathan Taylor punched in a one-yard touchdown to cap a 13-play, 75-yard game-opening drive. The offense struggled to re-gain its footing after that drive, though, and didn't score again until the 4:23 mark in the third quarter, when kicker Matt Gay connected on a 33-yard field goal.
Atlanta put up 20 unanswered points in between those two Colts scores, with the Falcons averaging 7.6 yards per play in that stretch and scoring touchdowns of 24 yards (a Taylor Heinicke pass to tight end Kyle Pitts) and 31 yards (a Tyler Allgeier rush). An offsides penalty on cornerback Ameer Speed negated a Younghoe Koo field goal that doinked off the right upright. The Falcons turned it into a first down and ultimately Koo connected on a 23-yard field goal a few plays later.
While putting up those 20 unanswered points, Heinicke completed passes of 10 or more yards to eight different players, while four different players had a rush of 10 or more yards.
The Falcons, though, responded to the Colts' three points with a field goal of their own. A third-and-14 catch-and-run by tight end Jonnu Smith sparked the drive, which ended with Koo connecting on a 41-yard field goal to put the Falcons up by 13 early in the fourth quarter.
The Colts' ensuing drive ended with Minshew throwing incomplete on fourth and four, and the Falcons were able to whittle the game away for the rest of the fourth quarter.
The Colts on Saturday did get an important result to break their way in the AFC wild card race with the Cincinnati Bengals falling to 8-7 with a 34-11 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Colts still hold a tiebreaker over the rest of the AFC's 8-7 teams thanks to their 6-4 conference record, which remained unchanged on Sunday. However, if the Colts and Bengals finish with the same record – and no other wild card teams have that same record – the Bengals would be seeded higher than the Colts based on Week 14's Colts loss in Cincinnati.
View in-game highlights from the Colts matchup versus the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Christmas Eve.