INDIANAPOLIS – No Colts game in 2014 concluded with a more complete effort from the AFC South champions than a Week Seven matchup with the Bengals.
The defense set the tone early, dialing up three-and-out after three-and-out and keeping the Bengals out of Colts territory for nearly the entire afternoon.
Andrew Luck had another 300-yard outing but it was the 171 rushing yards, which led to Chuck Pagano calling the offensive performance a "blueprint for success."
Here's a look back on five keys from the Week Seven meeting between the Colts/Bengals and how they have evolved heading into the playoffs:
Coming into Week Seven, the Bengals were averaging 6.34 yards per play. The Colts held them to just 2.5 yards per play in the 27-0 victory. The Bengals didn't even reach the Colts side of the field until the fourth quarter. The Bengals were 1-of-13 on third down with Pro Bowl punter Kevin Huber being called upon 11 times in 14 drives.BALANCED COLTS ATTACK
The Colts 171 rushing yards in the mid-October contest was the most the team has had in more than a year. Trent Richardson had his best game in a Colts uniform with 118 total yards (77 rushing yards) before exiting late with a hamstring injury. The only thing that held the offense back from making this even more of a rout were two first half turnovers in Cincinnati territory.**
A NEW BENGALS LEAD BACK**
Bengals rookie running back Jeremy Hill had just four carries for 15 yards back in Week Seven. Hill has been a load for opposing defenses since then. The 238-pound LSU product has 929 rushing yards since Week Eight, which is 105 more rushing yards than any other player during that span. Hill is the lead back now for the Bengals with the electric Giovanni Bernard resorting to more of a third-down option.THE STATUS OF A.J. GREEN
While the Colts deal with their number of injuries on the list, the status of Bengals wideout A.J. Green is the one to watch this week. Green, who is under the concussion protocol after leaving the Bengals regular season finale on Sunday night, did not play in the meeting earlier this year and his presence was sorely missed. With Green in the lineup, that makes the Colts think twice about committing extra bodies to stopping the Bengals productive ground attack.COLTS PERSONNEL CHANGES
The injuries to Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen will be the focuses at the skill group this week for the Colts. Wayne's triceps injury occurred in that Bengals meeting. Ahmad Bradshaw, who had two touchdowns back in Week Seven, is now on injured reserve with Boom Herron evolving from mop-up man in mid-October to starter heading into January. The Colts will have Arthur Jones and Darius Butler in the lineup this weekend after both missed the regular season contest with the Bengals.
Some of the top photos from the Colts win over the Bengals!