2015 AFC Wildcard 04.01 Indianapolis Colts vs Cincinnati Bengals
Missing their starting two receivers (Marvin Jones and A. J. Green), their top two tight ends (Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham), and their starting right tackle (Andre Smith), the Bengals’ injury-depleted offense could only muster 254 yards, while Indianapolis racked up 484 yards and 26 points.
The Colts scored on their opening drive, advancing the ball 71 yards in 9 plays, including a 27-yard burst by Dan Herron, on the way to Herron’s 2-yard touchdown run. After an exchange of punts, an 18-yard run by Bengals running back Jeremy Hill and Andy Dalton’s 26-yard completion to Rex Burkhead sparked a 74-yard, 9-play drive that tied the game with Hill’s 1-yard score.
In the second quarter, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck completed a 30-yard pass to T. Y. Hilton that set up Adam Vinatieri’s 38-yard field goal, putting the team back in front at 10–7. Then after a punt, Luck completed a 45-yard pass to Hakeem Nicks, leading to another Vinatieri field goal that made the score 13–7. The Bengals were subsequently forced to punt again, but with just under two minutes left in the half, defensive back Darqueze Dennard forced a fumble from Herron that safety Reggie Nelson recovered and returned 6 yards to the Cincinnati 41-yard line. Dalton then led the team to the Colts’ 39-yard line, where Mike Nugent made a 57-yard field goal, the second longest kick in NFL playoff history, cutting the score to 13–10 going into halftime.
The Colts’ defense dominated the Bengals in the second half, forcing them to a three-and-out on their first four drives. On the opposing side, Luck threw a 36-yard touchdown to rookie receiver Donte Moncrief with 7:48 left in the third quarter. Then after a punt, the Colts drove 57 yards and scored on Vinatieri’s 22-yard field goal, bringing the score to 23–10. On their next possession, Vinatieri made his 4th field goal of the day, a franchise playoff record 53-yard kick, giving the Colts a 26–10. Meanwhile, the Bengals’ following three possessions would result in another punt, a lost fumble by Dalton, and time expiring in the game.
Dalton finished the game 18-for-35 for 155 yards, along with 34 yards on the ground. Luck completed 31 of 44 passes for 376 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for 18 yards. Hilton was his top target, with 6 catches for 103 yards. Herron had 56 rushing yards and 10 receptions for 85 yards.
The game marked another round of dismal postseason milestones for the Bengals, who have not won a playoff game since the 1990 season, the longest active streak in the NFL. They became the first team in NFL history to lose in the opening round of the playoffs for four consecutive seasons, while coach Marvin Lewis tied Jim E. Mora for the worst coaching record in playoff history (0–6). The Bengals have now lost 7 consecutive playoff games, the second highest total ever behind the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs’ record of 8