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Carson Wentz, Jonathan Taylor Lead Colts Past Kyler Murray, Cardinals on Christmas

Erin WalshDecember 26, 2021

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) looks to pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

The Indianapolis Colts extended their winning streak to three games with a 22-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night at State Farm Stadium. They are now 9-6. 

Indy hadn't beaten Arizona since 2009. Before Saturday, the Colts and Cardinals last met in 2017, a game Arizona won 16-13 in overtime. Indianapolis has won six of its last seven games and is still in contention for the AFC South title.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, dropped to 10-5 and have lost three of their last five games following an impressive 7-0 start. 


Notable Stats

Carson Wentz, QB, IND: 18/28 for 225 YDS, 2 TD

Kyler Murray, QB, ARI: 27/43 for 245 YDS, 1 TD

Jonathan Taylor, RB, IND: 27 CAR for 108 YDS

Chase Edmonds, RB, ARI: 16 CAR for 56 YDS, 1 TD

T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND: 4 REC for 51 YDS, 1 TD

Zach Ertz, TE, ARI: 8 REC for 54 YDS


Colts Rely Heavily on Jonathan Taylor, But Carson Wentz Prevails

Sure, Taylor will likely be an MVP candidate, but the Colts relied on the star running back far too much against the Cardinals. The Arizona defense mostly contained Taylor and held him scoreless for the first time since Week 3. 

Taylor finished with 27 carries for 108 yards. For comparison, Wentz attempted 28 passes, which highlights how much the Colts continue to rely on Taylor.  

The 22-year-old has been a focal point of the Colts' offense all season and entered Saturday's contest with two straight 100-plus rushing yard games. He recorded his ninth game of 2021 with at least 100 yards and a score on the ground against Arizona.

NFL @NFL

On the <a href="https://twitter.com/Colts?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Colts</a> first play... Watch Jonathan Taylor GO. <a href="https://twitter.com/JayT23?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JayT23</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheShoe?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheShoe</a><br><br>๐Ÿ“บ: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/INDvsAZ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#INDvsAZ</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ: <a href="https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR">https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR</a> <a href="https://t.co/HbWzFgMLtO">pic.twitter.com/HbWzFgMLtO</a>

NFL @NFL

The complete package ๐Ÿ’ช <a href="https://twitter.com/JayT23?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JayT23</a><br><br>๐Ÿ“บ: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/INDvsAZ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#INDvsAZ</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ: <a href="https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR">https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR</a> <a href="https://t.co/iAxsepongx">pic.twitter.com/iAxsepongx</a>

But while the Colts did rely heavily on Taylor against the Cardinals, Wentz and his receivers got the job done when it mattered most. Maybe it's a sign Frank Reich can turn to his passing game more often. 

Wentz completed 18-of-28 passes for 225 yards and two scores, including a late touchdown pass to Dezmon Patmon, which sealed the win for Indianapolis. 

NFL @NFL

INCREDIBLE THROW.<a href="https://twitter.com/cj_wentz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cj_wentz</a> puts the <a href="https://twitter.com/Colts?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Colts</a> up 22-13! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheShoe?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheShoe</a><br><br>๐Ÿ“บ: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/INDvsAZ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#INDvsAZ</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ: <a href="https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR">https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR</a> <a href="https://t.co/kmDbfvswoc">pic.twitter.com/kmDbfvswoc</a>

NFL @NFL

Carson's dropping dimes tonight.<a href="https://twitter.com/cj_wentz?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cj_wentz</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheShoe?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheShoe</a><br><br>๐Ÿ“บ: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/INDvsAZ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#INDvsAZ</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ: <a href="https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR">https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR</a> <a href="https://t.co/G6m0jHtZU4">pic.twitter.com/G6m0jHtZU4</a>

NFL @NFL

A 37-yard gain has the <a href="https://twitter.com/Colts?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Colts</a> in AZ territory.<br><br>๐Ÿ“บ: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/INDvsAZ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#INDvsAZ</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ: <a href="https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR">https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR</a> <a href="https://t.co/xrdOw5W5pl">pic.twitter.com/xrdOw5W5pl</a>

NFL @NFL

Wentz delivers a gift to T.Y. Hilton for SIX! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheShoe?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheShoe</a><br><br>๐Ÿ“บ: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/INDvsAZ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#INDvsAZ</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ: <a href="https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR">https://t.co/WOTaxHv8uR</a> <a href="https://t.co/6UH2YGVGxX">pic.twitter.com/6UH2YGVGxX</a>

The Colts entered Saturday's game with the 22nd-ranked passing offense, averaging 204.4 yards per game, per Pro Football Reference. Wentz and Co. surpassed that mark against Arizona in one of Indy's more well-rounded games of the season.

Saturday's win was even more impressive as the Colts were down several starters, including three offensive linemen in All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson, Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly and right guard Mark Glowinski.


Kyler Murray Delivers Another Underwhelming Performance

Murray struggled for the third consecutive game, and while he didn't throw any picks, he completed just 27-of-43 passes for 245 yards and one touchdown, in addition to running for 74 yards.

Murray led the Cardinals to a 7-1 record before suffering an ankle injury and missing three games. He has not been the same player since returning from that injury in Week 13. 

From Weeks 1-8, the 24-year-old completed 72.6 percent of his passes for 2,276 yards and 17 touchdowns against seven interceptions, in addition to rushing for 147 yards and three scores. He had a 110.4 quarterback rating through the first eight weeks of the season, per Pro Football Reference

From Weeks 13-15, Murray saw a dip in production as he completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 763 yards and three touchdowns against three interceptions. He also ran for 123 yards and two scores and had an 82.4 quarterback rating. 

Put those numbers together with his performance on Saturday night against the Colts, and things don't look great for the Cardinals. 

However, it should be noted Arizona was without two of its top receivers in DeAndre Hopkins (knee, IR) and Rondale Moore (ankle) because of injuries. Hopkins leads the team with eight touchdowns, while Moore has served as a key supplemental piece to the team's top trio of Hopkins, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green.  


What's Next?

The Cardinals will travel to face the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 2, while the Colts will host the Las Vegas Raiders.