How Colts used roster depth to overcome COVID on Christmas, defeat Cardinals

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NFL 2021, in Omicronland:

Last Friday, a robotic NFL Films camera in the Indianapolis Colts quarterback room caught the unvarnished real of this NFL season. NFL Films for the first time is doing an in-season “Hard Knocks” show on HBO every Wednesday night, and this debut series is with the Colts. Last Friday, a few hours before the team’s charter left for the Saturday game at Arizona, offensive coordinator Marcus Brady got some unsettling news about one of the most important players on the team and relayed the information to head coach Frank Reich.

Brady: “It is a Covid thing, Frank.”
Reich: “Excuse me?”
Brady: “It is Covid.”
Reich: “Is it? What is it?”
Brady: “Q.”
Reich: “Who?”
Brady: “Q.”
Reich: “Who?!”
Brady: “Q. Quenton.” [All-pro guard Quenton Nelson.]
Reich: (Long pause) “Okay. (Pause.) We’re good.”
Minutes later…
Reich: “Moments like this … I’m not happy about Q testing positive, but I love overcoming those things.”

Full video here, exclusively:

The Colts, in a dogfight for the playoffs, flew to Phoenix around 4 p.m. Friday, busing to the team hotel, the posh Phoenician resort, for an odd football Christmas Eve.

On Christmas morning, three players tested positive for Covid-19. One was the best defensive player on the team, linebacker Darius Leonard, and the other two were starters: safety Khari Willis and receiver Zach Pascal. Leonard, Willis and Pascal were isolated from the team when the results were known by mid-day. They were dispatched back to Indianapolis on owner Jim Irsay’s private plane before the game. Merry Christmas. You’ve got to play the 10-4 Cardinals with most of your boldface names in quarantine or hurt … and that was only about half the drama.

This wasn’t the most dramatic NFL weekend, but it had its moments. The Colts turned out to be a fortuitous pick by NFL Films and HBO for lots of the action in Week 16.

Imagine the angst inside the Colts when told three starters were out before an important game with major playoff implications. Even more, by midway through the second quarter against Arizona on Saturday night, four of Indy’s five starting offensive linemen and excellent blocking tight end Jack Doyle were all out with injuries, Covid or personal reasons. And the Colts still outscored the Cardinals 15-10 over the last 35 minutes in a game that, on the surface, the Colts had no business winning. Against a desperate Arizona team that had lost two in a row, Indy triumphed 22-16.

Leonard was replaced by E.J. Speed, making his first career start. Speed led the Colts in tackles with nine.

Willis was replaced by Jahleel Addae, while Andrew Sendejo, out with a concussion, was replaced by George Odum, starting his eighth game in four years. In the fourth quarter, with the Colts nursing a 15-13 lead, Odum tipped a deep ball from the grasp of Cards receiver Christian Kirk, saving a big gain. Odum was second on the Colts with eight tackles.

Pascal was replaced by several players. One of them, T.Y. Hilton, scored the first touchdown of the game for the Colts. Another, Dezmon Patmon, scored the eventual game-winning TD, the first scoring pass of his NFL career, on a great throw from quarterback Carson Wentz.

Talking to his team in the locker room post-game, coach Frank Reich said, “We got a roster full of winning football players.” Depth won Saturday night for the Colts. Depth will determine a lot as this suddenly strange season lurches toward a conclusion. That’s a big reason why Coach Reich gave a game ball Saturday night to GM Chris Ballard. “When you have a day like this, and you need everyone on the roster, you thank the man who put it together,” Reich said.

The postscript: “Hard Knocks” (Wednesday, 10 p.m. ET on HBO, or streaming on HBO Max) got either very lucky or very smart. Maybe it was a bit of both. Ballard and Reich don’t mind opening their world to the outside. Ballard has done it consistently with an excellent video department, figuring it’s not going to give away trade secrets, and figuring he wants the Indy fans to see for themselves the kinds of people the franchise has and the way the franchise works. He’s not scared of holding up a mirror (albeit a mirror that has some editing control) to the way the Colts work and operate. We’re the beneficiaries. In a week like this, we see how an NFL team handled and overcame the Omicron variant that’s sweeping the country.

I don’t look for rose-colored lessons. I look for how people like Reich, who I’d call an honest and optimistic realist, handle the things that chop some people down. And in this show, I like what I see.

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column

What channel, time is the NFL game tonight? TV, kickoff, live stream for Colts vs Cowboys

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It’s the Indianapolis Colts vs Dallas Cowboys tonight on NBC and Peacock. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America before the game gets underway.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

NBC has got you covered with all you need to know about the game including the TV channel, start time, live stream information, and more.

RELATED: FMIA Week 12 – Josh Jacobs Takes Heckling Personally, And A Banner Week For Two-Point Conversion Risks

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: How to watch Colts vs Cowboys  – TV/Live Stream info for tonight’s game

What channel is tonight’s Sunday Night Football game on?

  • Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
  • When: Sunday, December 4
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

          RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

Where to live stream Indianapolis Colts vs Dallas Cowboys online tonight

Tonight’s game between the Indianapolis Colts vs Dallas Cowboys can be streamed live on multiple platforms tonight including NBCsports.com, the NBC Sports App, and Peacock.

This NFL season, Peacock will stream all of NBC’s NFL games including regular season and playoff games. More from Peacock’s website:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football with a Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here.

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

Week 13 Schedule

WEEK 13
Thursday, Dec. 1
Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots, 8:15 p.m., Prime Video
Sunday, Dec. 4
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m., CBS
Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m., CBS
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears, 1 p.m., FOX
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions, 1 p.m., FOX
Cleveland Browns vs. Houston Texans, 1 p.m., CBS
New York Jets vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., CBS
Washington Commanders vs. New York Giants, 1 p.m., FOX
Tennessee Titans vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m., FOX
Seattle Seahawks vs. Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m., FOX
Miami Dolphins vs. San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m., FOX
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m., NBC/Peacock
Monday, Dec. 5
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

RELATED: See the 2022 NFL Sunday Night Football schedule here

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

How to watch Indianapolis Colts vs Dallas Cowboys: TV, live stream info for tonight’s game

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It’s the Indianapolis Colts vs Dallas Cowboys this Sunday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock with Football Night in America. See below for additional information on how to watch tonight’s game.

RELATED: FMIA Week 12 – Josh Jacobs Takes Heckling Personally, And A Banner Week For Two-Point Conversion Risks

Indianapolis Colts

Matt Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts fell 24-17 to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night in their 7th loss of the season and 2nd loss under interim head coach Jeff Saturday. Saturday, a former Colts center with no professional or college coaching experience prior to this season, took over after the Colts fired Frank Reich ahead of Week 10. Reich spent 5 seasons with the Colts, reaching the playoffs just twice (2018, 2020) and finishing with a 40-33-1 record in the regular season. Indianapolis’ offensive struggles have continued this season after ranking 10th in scoring last season at 26.5 points per game. Entering Week 13, the Colts are averaging 15.8 points per game–they’re tied with the Texans who are ranked 31st in the league. Ryan went 22-of-34 for 199 yards with a touchdown and an interception in Monday night’s loss. RB Jonathan Taylor rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

RELATED: Jeff Saturday on not using timeouts – “I thought we had plenty of time”

Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys completed the season series sweep with a 28-20 win over the New York Giants last Thursday evening. Prescott finished 21-of-30 for 261 passing yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. RB Ezekiel Elliot, who was playing in his second game since returning from a knee injury, rushed for a season-high 92 yards and ignited the Cowboys’ offense scoring the first touchdown of the game. On defense, the Cowboys had 3 sacks–two of them were from OLB Micah Parsons who ranks 2nd in the league with 12 sacks this season. Dallas currently has one of the best defenses in the NFL and leads all teams with 45 sacks this season. The Cowboys have won 4 of their last 5 games and enter Week 13 just two games behind Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East lead.

RELATED: Dak Prescott – I am as confident as I can be in this team


How to watch the Indianapolis Colts vs Dallas Cowboys:

  • Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
  • When: Sunday, December 4
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Indianapolis Colts vs Dallas Cowboys Game

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your tailgating needs for the 2022 Fall season, click here!

Football Night in America will feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Playoff Picture Week 13 – Standings, clinching scenarios ahead of Colts vs Cowboys on SNF


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!