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Head coach Shane Steichen: Colts' 10-point outing vs. Falcons 'wasn't us'

The Colts fell victim to the NFL's week-to-week nature on Sunday.

Indianapolis traveled to Atlanta riding high on five wins in its last six, but after a promising first drive, the team fell flat against a better-prepared Falcons squad in a 29-10 loss.

"It wasn't us," Colts head coach Shane Steichen said about the outing, per the team’s website. "It wasn't us, you know what I mean? You don't want to see it. You got to stop the bleeding and again, that starts with myself going forward. So, we got to get that corrected."

The 10 points scored tied a season low for Indy, which entered Week 16 ranked eighth in scoring and has now put up 20-plus in all but three contests.

Steichen's team has seamlessly dealt with plenty of tumult at a variety of offensive positions this year. Gardner Minshew has stood in for promising rookie Anthony Richardson since mid-October admirably, and the backfield has seen a rotating door with Jonathan Taylor, Zack Moss and other pieces carrying the load for different stretches.

Moss was out Sunday, as was wide receiver Michael Pittman, who is in concussion protocol. Whether missing them was the difference maker or not, something was certainly too far off to recover from.

Minshew and Co. initially appeared primed to keep things rolling from a 30-13 demolition of the Steelers a week before. They took the opening kick and immediately went 75 yards on 13 plays for an eventual Taylor touchdown run.

Then the wheels fell off, as the Colts scored just a field goal the rest of the way. They punted four straight times in the first half and finished with two turnovers on downs and an interception in the fourth quarter.

Atlanta's offense, meanwhile, benefitted from a quarterback change to Taylor Heinicke following Desmond Ridder's loss to the previously one-win Panthers in Week 15.

Heinicke was safe and efficient, completing 23 of 33 passes for 229 yards and a TD.

Bijan Robinson came alive to shred a defense that had improved of late, leading both teams in receptions with seven for 50 yards, and averaging six yards per carry for 72 on 12 totes.

The Falcons' 406 total yards were the most the Colts have allowed since Week 8.

It was shocking turnaround for the 7-8 Falcons, whose upset loss greatly damaged their playoff dreams last week. And it was an abrupt about-face for the 8-7 Colts, who might have gone in thinking they were above dropping such a game.

"I think you start looking at opportunities like this and you start counting wins," Minshew said. "You start doing schedule math and you look around, it's like well, (Atlanta) lost to Carolina, well, we beat the Steelers. Well, you know what, you got to go earn it right now. If you take this lightly you might not end up with another one.

"Everybody thinks you got all this time and you're gonna have all these chances to make playoff runs, and it doesn't work like that. We have to take advantage when we got them. And I'm excited to see how we respond and bring it next week."

The Colts' loss didn't sink them. They still own the AFC’s No. 7 seed, plus the Jaguars and Texans both faltered to keep the AFC South knotted at the top three ways.

But it did shrink their margin for error considerably -- something they'll will be more wary of with two games left to play.

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