It’s the worst lost lead in NFL history. In 102 years of NFL football, no team had ever come from behind when trailing by 33 points — until Saturday. The Minnesota Vikings trailed the Indianapolis Colts at halftime 33-0 and somehow managed to come away with a 39-36 overtime win.
COLTS BREAK LARGEST LEAD IN NFL HISTORY AFTER 33 POINT LEAD
Yes, that subhead you’re reading is 100 percent real. The Colts were actually up at halftime 33-0. Everything went their way. Indy had played by far its best half of the season. Each unit contributed in a key way and helped the Colts climb to such a massive lead. Cornerback Dallis Flowers started the game with a 49-yard kick return, which would turn into an opening field goal for Indy. The next three possessions resulted in scores for Indy. The first was a blocked punt, the second was a fumble and final score by running back Deon Jackson, and the third was a field goal after Minnesota turned it over on downs.
The mistakes for Viking just kept coming. Down 20-0, Minnesota attempted a fake punt that was unsuccessful and led to another field goal. A few possessions later, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a pick-six to safety Julian Blackmon. Before you could blink, the Colts finally went up 33-0.
The Colts were poised to come away with their biggest upset win of the season. But the Vikings had other ideas. After the Colts went on a 36-0 run early in the third quarter, Minnesota slowly chipped away at Indianapolis’ lead and went on three straight touchdown drives to get back into the game. The Colts would not score a single point in the fourth quarter and were outscored 39-3 in the second half. Just as quickly as they went up 33-0, Indy found itself tied at 36 with 2:15 left in regulation.
The Vikings would eventually (somehow) find a way to win in overtime 39 to 36, officially erasing a 33-point deficit and crushing what little glimmer of playoff hope the Colts might have left. Just two weeks after Indianapolis collapsed in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys and was outscored 33-0 in the fourth quarter in prime time, they collapsed again against the Minnesota Vikings and now not only are eliminated from the playoffs for a second straight season, but on the wrong side of NFL history.
ALL THREE PHASES START STRONG TO HELP HELER JUMP OUT TO 33-0 LEAD
As horrific a collapse as Saturday’s game is for the Indianapolis Colts, let’s briefly focus on how they were able to jump out to a 33-0 lead. Each unit played a huge role in Indy’s hot start. The special teams unit started off strong with a 49-yard kickoff return to set the Colts up with huge field position. Bubba Ventrone’s unit blocked and returned a punt for a touchdown by JoJo Domann on the Vikings’ ensuing possession, giving the Colts a 10–0 lead.
On the very next drive, cornerback Isaiah Rodgers had a fumble forced by linebacker Zaire Franklin. Indy’s fumble recovery eventually led to another touchdown by running back Deon Jackson and a 17-0 lead early in the first half. Back came Ventrone’s special teams unit with another key stop on a fake punt attempt, leading to three more points and 20-0 for Indy. Later in the second quarter, safety Julian Blackmon intercepted quarterback Kirk Cousins for a touchdown and gave the Colts a 30–0 lead.
It’s a shame Saturday’s game won’t be remembered for the Colts being in full control early and putting together their best performance in all three phases all season. Instead, this game will be remembered as an embarrassing loss and a historic collapse for the franchise as a whole. This is the story of the Indianapolis 2022 season. A season that will be remembered for all the collapses and inability to finish games that ultimately cost them a chance to make the playoffs for the second straight year.
At this point, the next three games don’t mean much to the fans, not after Saturday’s awful finish to another game. The 4-9-1 Indianapolis Colts will be sitting at home watching the playoffs from their couches, which is where they deserve to be after such a disappointing season.