Rivers, Colts seek redemption vs. Bengals
It’s been an up and down first season with the Indianapolis Colts for veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who was signed for $25 million to get a team with high expectations back to the playoffs.
Coming off a poor outing in last week’s 32-23 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Rivers vowed he’ll be better this week when the Colts (3-2) host the Bengals (1-3-1) at Lucas Oil Stadium.
At 38, Rivers has passed for 1,227 yards and completed 70.8 percent in five games. But he’s also posted a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 4-to-5 and has driven the Colts to just two touchdowns in their last 22 offensive possessions over the past two games.
In the Browns’ loss, Rivers threw a pick-six and was called for an intentional grounding penalty in his own end zone for a safety, leading directly to nine Cleveland points.
“I do think that’s an important message that we are 3-2 and there is no panic here,” Rivers said. “Certainly disappointing the way the game went and certainly individually not playing as well as I would have liked. But we are still in position to accomplish everything we wanted to and have an opportunity this week to get back on track.”
Colts coach Frank Reich said there are no plans to pull Rivers for backup Jacoby Brissett, who started 15 games for the Colts last season.
“Philip is our quarterback,” Reich said.
Like Rivers, Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow is coming off a tough outing.
Burrow was held to 183 yards passing with no touchdowns and an interception in Cincinnati’s 27-3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Overall, though, it has been a successful rookie season so far for Burrow, who was taken No. 1 in the NFL draft last April after leading LSU to a national championship and winning the Heisman Trophy. Burrow has passed for 1,304 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
Burrow said he expects the Bengals’ offense to bounce back against the Colts on Sunday.
“We just got off of three straight weeks of 300 yards passing,” Burrow said. “We’ve been moving the ball up and down the field and we had a bad game. That’s going to happen in the NFL, but you have a short memory as an offense and a quarterback, and you are going to go out there and execute the next week.”
Burrow is still trying to establish chemistry with Bengals veteran wideout A.J. Green, as the 32-year-old, seven-time All-Pro has managed just 14 catches for 119 yards with no TDs on the season.
“We need to get him going,” Burrow said. “He’s a big part of this offense.”
Green (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday.
After facing the NFL’s top scoring defense last week, the Ravens, it won’t get any easier for Burrow. The Colts rank second in the league in points allowed, giving up just 17.6 points per game.
“They play three or four coverages and they do it really, really well,” Burrow said. “They are very well coached and all their guys play really hard. That’s what jumps out on film. They don’t put guys out there that don’t play hard. So we are going to have to match their intensity.”
The Colts had five players miss practice Wednesday with injuries: tight end Mo Alie-Cox (knee), linebacker Darius Leonard (groin), defensive ends Denico Autry (ankle/knee) and Justin Houston (hip), and safety Julian Blackmon (groin).
Offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo (ribs) was upgraded to limited after missing Week 5.
For the Bengals, cornerback Mackensie Alexander (hamstring) and running back Giovani Bernard (groin) were limited Wednesday, while wide receiver Auden Tate (shoulder), defensive end Sam Hubbard (elbow) and cornerback Darius Phillips (shoulder) missed practice.
–Field Level Media