INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Jacoby Brissett threw two touchdown passes in the first half Sunday, and Marlon Mack scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter to lead the Indianapolis Colts past Atlanta 27-24.
Indianapolis (2-1) has won two straight overall and seven in a row at home.
The Falcons (1-2) rallied from a 20-3 halftime deficit to get within three on Matt Ryan’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones with 4:11 to play. But the Falcons opted to kick deep and never got the ball back.
Brissett closed it out with an 11-yard pass to Jack Doyle on third-and-4. He finished 28 of 37 with 310 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. T.Y. Hilton caught eight passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but missed the second half after aggravating a quad injury that slowed him in practice this week.
“We had a lot of confidence in him (Brissett) from Day 1, but he’s still got to prove it and he’s doing that,” Colts coach Frank Reich said. “He’s doing that. This is what we expected and he delivered.”
Ryan was 29 of 34 with 340 yards with three touchdowns. He passed John Elway for ninth on the league’s career completion list and broke a tie with Elway for No. 11 on the career TD passes list. Ryan now has 4,143 completions and 303 touchdown passes.
Brissett played brilliantly, completing his first 16 passes and leading the Colts to scores on all four of their first-half possessions, including two 90-plus yard drives.
But the Falcons flipped the script in the second half.
“That was a hard one. We didn’t get what we came here to do,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “We didn’t have very many plays early on. We’ve got work to do. We have to get our road mentality right.”
They certainly had plenty of mistakes.
Ryan was picked off once, ending an early scoring chance at the Colts 3-yard line, and the Falcons committed 16 penalties for 128 yards, some extending Colts’ scoring drives.
Still, they nearly came back.
Ryan capped a 75-yard drive to open the third quarter with a 13-yard pass to Austin Hooper, making it 20-10. Then, after the Falcons forced a three-and-out and Indy’s only punt of the game, Ryan led Atlanta on a 16-play drive that consumed nearly 10 minutes. It ended with a 2-yard TD pass to Hooper to get the Falcons within 20-17.
Brissett answered by capitalizing on two Atlanta defensive penalties, ending the drive by watching Mack’s score extend the lead to 27-14.
Ryan TD pass to Jones made it 27-24, but Atlanta never got a chance to force a tie or take the lead.
Jones had eight catches for 128 yards.
After missing five of his first eight kicks and dealing with two weeks of questions, 46-year-old Adam Vinatieri reverted to his traditional form.
The Colts kicker drew gasps then cheers when he banked in a 49-yard field goal off the left upright to start the game. But the NFL’s oldest player later added a 21-yard field goal and made all three extra points without any problems.
Falcons: face a second straight AFC South foe, Tennessee, next Sunday in Atlanta.
Colts: stay home to face Oakland next Sunday.