On the Board! Colts Vanquish Vikings (Tossing Horseshoes)


“There’s nothing like home-field advantage, even in COVID times.” (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lucas_Oil_Stadium_preseason_Colts_game.jpg#globalusage) (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Ashwin Prasad

After an industrious weekend tending to college applications and other busywork, I needed an escape. Thankfully, we’re at that time of year where the week steadily builds up to Colts football. At 1:00 p.m. sharp, Dad and I settled into our customary seats and watched the Colts kick off against the Minnesota Vikings.

Now, the Vikings are a pretty talented team. They have a stud running back in Dalvin Cook (who’s on my fantasy team), a versatile defense, and plenty of big-game experience. Unfortunately for them, they have a quarterback who is even more volatile than Philip Rivers: Kirk Cousins. As I told Dad before the game, Cousins’ stats always seem to exaggerate his true performance on the field. He doesn’t throw many interceptions, but he fumbles the ball a ton and is especially unreliable in big moments. Dad, for his part, was content to remember how Cousins singlehandedly lost him his fantasy football championship when he threw a crucial interception on the last drive of the 2016-17 season.

With that bracing thought in mind, we watched Cousins and Cook slice up the Colts defense on the opening drive to set up an early field goal. Rivers led a strong drive of his own, but 11 yards from pay dirt, he rifled one into tight coverage. Mo Alie-Cox, the tight end, bobbled the ball right into the hands of the Vikings defender. A backbreaking interception.

“At least we’re getting our turnovers out of the way early,” I offered hopefully. Dad was already dreading the prospect of an 0-2 start.

The Vikings, however, are masters of giving away momentum. They went three-and-out, and their punt traveled a measly 36 yards. The Colts gratefully seized on the opportunity, punching in a five yard touchdown on the ground. After an exchange of punts, the Vikings were backed up at their own two yard line. “We’ll get a safety here,” Dad predicted confidently. Lo and behold, he was right! Cousins let himself get swallowed up in his own end zone, and the Colts were up by the rare score of 9-3.

The Colts added three more points to attain the even-rarer score of 12-3. Then, with less than two minutes to go before the half, the Vikings completely imploded. Cousins rolled right and chucked the ball to his left, deep into double coverage. A gimme interception, and a 40 yard return to boot. We happily watched as the Colts scored yet another field goal to reach a 15-3 lead. Cousins tossed a Hail Mary interception to end the first half, adding a cherry on top.

Dad worried that the Colts would repeat last week’s debacle, where the Colts let the Jaguars hang around for far too long. However, Cousins proved him wrong yet again, slinging a pass behind his receiver and throwing his third consecutive interception. The Colts never looked back from there, sandwiching two field goals around a touchdown to reach the infamous 28-3 lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Unlike the Atlanta Falcons, there was no chance we would blow this one (the Falcons, ironically, blew a 39-20 lead in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter while the Colts wrapped up this easy victory).

At least for this weekend, the Colts gave me a reason to be optimistic about their season. As Dad said, “The first win is always the most important.”