Veteran members of the Cincinnati Bengals know what it's like to endure a losing streak. But don't expect them to be in a sympathetic mood come Sunday afternoon when the 0-5 Indianapolis Colts come to Paul Brown Stadium. Instead, they'll be focused on winning their third consecutive game and continuing their early season momentum.
Banged up doesn't even begin to describe the Colts' injury situation. Everyone knows about Peyton Manning and his neck, but Indianapolis is hurting all over. Starting running back Joseph Addai didn't travel with the team, leaving third year back Donald Brown and rookie Delone Carter to carry the load. Brown has been a disappointment thus far and Carter shows promise, but still has a lot to learn.
First round draft pick and starting tackle Anthony Castonzo also remains back in Indy. Guard Ryan Diem returns from injury and will most likely slide over to Castonzo's spot. That upsets the balance of an already porous offensive line that has struggled to protect the quarterback. Facing the Bengals ferocious defensive line is a tall task.
On defense the Colts are without Jerraud Powers, their best cornerback. That leaves Jacob Lacey, who's been picked on like a kindergartner on the playground so far this year, and Chris Rucker to try to contain AJ Green and Jerome Simpson. Defensive lineman Drake Nevis is likely out as well. The Colts brought back DT Dan Muir who may even start despite just being re-signed on Monday.
When you look at the Colts, they look an awful lot like the beat up Denver Broncos the Bengals faced earlier. The Bengals lost that game 24-22, but there are some differences. Andy Dalton isn't coming off an injury. Even so, he threw for over 300 yards in Denver. Curtis Painter is no Kyle Orton (that's not a compliment) and Brown and Carter don't run like Willis McGahee.
To this point, the Bengals have needed three fourth quarter comebacks to get their wins. Today they won't need one. The Bengals will take a major step forward and lead a game from start to finish, sending the Colts back to Indianapolis 0-6. Bengals 27, Colts 10.
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