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Raiders vs. Colts score: Indianapolis moves closer to playoff bid behind strong rushing attack

The Indianapolis Colts used a potent ground attack and a few well-timed interceptions to knock off the Las Vegas Raiders 44-27 on Sunday. Indianapolis secured a red zone interception just before halftime and later returned an interception for a touchdown to salt away Las Vegas' chance at a comeback. 

After a standout first half passing the football, Philip Rivers played a supporting role to close the game. The Colts could not be stopped on the ground as they rushed to the tune of 212 yards on 31 carries. The victory moves Indianapolis closer to a berth in the AFC playoffs by defeating one of its most prominent obstacles.

Why the Colts won

Indianapolis played a cleaner game and Las Vegas was unable to slow down the run game in the second half. Big gains from Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines set the Colts up for critical second-half scores as the team pulled away from its counterpart. The rookie totaled 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. 

In the first half, Rivers continued his recent on-field relationship with wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who had two touchdown receptions in the first half, marking his third consecutive game with at least one score. The Colts took care of the football, made enough big plays, and allowed Las Vegas to defeat itself. 

Why the Raiders lost

Three turnovers from Las Vegas were the difference in this game. As laid out in the introduction, the Raiders missed out on scoring points and directly contributed to Indianapolis' scoring. When the defense is having zero luck stopping the run and getting off the field, the offense has to keep pace. Instead, they shot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions. Indianapolis converted 8-of-11 third-down attempts. Seven of eight meaningful offensive possessions from Indianapolis ended in points. 

Play of the game

With Indianapolis clinging to a one-point lead with 3:35 remaining in the first half, Derek Carr dropped back to pass looking for tight end Darren Waller in the end zone. Waller was open but the ball needed to be more towards the back pylon. Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II jumped into the air and made a one-handed interception in the end zone to preserve a lead.

It was Moore's fourth interception of the season and the tenth of his four-year career. Indianapolis would go down and kick a field goal just before halftime to extend its lead.

What's next

Indianapolis has three games remaining against the Texans, Steelers, and Jaguars. There is a realistic path to 11 or even 12 wins if the Colts continue to take care of business. They have battled injuries down the stretch, much like other teams; left tackle Anthony Castonzo and linebacker Darius Leonard left the contest with injuries. Indianapolis currently possesses the No. 6 seed in the AFC Playoffs

Las Vegas has three games remaining against the Chargers, Dolphins, and Broncos. To have a reasonable chance of making the playoffs, the Raiders would need to win all three of those games. Even in that event, they may need some help from other teams. 

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