INDIANAPOLIS — The Cleveland Browns beat the Colts, 39-38, in a game that seemingly had it all at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Running back Kareem Hunt scored from one yard out with 15 seconds left in the game to put Cleveland on top one final time in a back-and-forth game.
Gardner Minshew finished 15-of-23 for 305 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his first start since the Colts announced rookie QB Anthony Richardson will miss the remainder of the 2023 season with a shoulder injury. Minshew also ran for two TDs on Sunday.
The game started with an explosive play from each team. Cleveland running back Jerome Ford broke free for a 69-yard touchdown run on the third play from scrimmage. The Colts answered right back with a Minshew 59-yard TD pass to wideout Josh Downs to tie the game just four minutes into the action.
The Colts took their first lead of the game at the end of the first quarter on a Minshew 17-yard touchdown run.
Indianapolis appeared to seize momentum on a Kenny Moore interception of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, but replay review showed the ball hit the turf. Watson, who was playing for the first time since he injured his shoulder in week 3, suffered another injury on the play and left the game. Former Colts’ backup, PJ Walker, replaced Watson.
Cleveland punted after the review, but defensive end Myles Garrett forced a Minshew fumble, which was recovered by former Colts’ linebacker Anthony Walker. The strip-sack was just the beginning of a huge day for Garrett. The turnover led to a Hunt 2-yard TD run to tie the game at 14.
Matt Gay tried a 60-yard field goal to give the Colts the lead again, but Garrett hurdled the line and blocked the attempt. The miss led to a Dustin Hopkins 44-yard field goal to give the Browns a 17-14 advantage.
The big plays didn’t stop there. Minshew ran for his second score, a 4-yard touchdown, to make it 21-17. Minshew, however, gave six points back to Cleveland, fumbling in the end zone as Garrett sacked him. Tony Fields fell on the loose ball to put Cleveland back on top.
Hopkins made a 54-yard field goal as time expired to end a frenetic first half with the Browns on top, 27-21.
Cleveland extended its lead to 30-21 on another Hopkins 54-yard field goal.
The Colts responded with an eight-play, 75 yard touchdown drive behind Jonathan Taylor. He ran six times for 30 yards and caught one pass for 20 yards. He capped the drive with a 5-yard TD — his first since signing his contract extension.
Gay and Hopkins exchanged field goals before Minshew hit Michael Pittman Jr. for a 75-yard touchdown with just over five minutes left in the game to put the Colts on top, 38-33.
Rookie cornerback JuJu Brents left the game in the second quarter with a quad injury.
The Colts are now 3-4 and host the New Orleans Saints next week at 1:00 p.m. on CBS4’s broadcast partner, FOX59.