FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Jonathan Taylor ran for a first-quarter touchdown and Mac Jones threw a crucial interception in the fourth quarter and the Indianapolis Colts held on for a 10-6 win over New England Patriots in Germany on Sunday.
Indianapolis had not scored fewer than 20 points in any of its first nine games this season. Half of that total was still enough to beat the Patriots' misfiring offense.
The NFL’s 50th regular-season game outside the United States, and last of this season, was dominated by defense and Taylor’s first-quarter touchdown was the only one of the game. It was the lowest-scoring game in the league this season.
Colts coach Shane Steichen praised his team's “phenomenal” defense to limit the Patriots to two field goals.
“Our defense stepped up. We moved the ball offensively, but we didn’t finish our drives like we normally do, but it was good to get the win," he said.
Jones was sacked five times in the first half and was replaced with backup Bailey Zappe late in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 10-6 late in the fourth quarter, Jones drove the Patriots inside the red zone but was intercepted by Julian Blackmon on a pass intended for tight end Mike Gesicki at the 1-yard line.
Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew threw a 28-yard pass to Josh Downs for a first down that forced the Patriots to start using their timeouts. Minshew was 18 for 28 for 194 yards and Taylor had 69 yards on 23 carries. Michael Pittman had eight receptions for 84 yards. Dayo Odeyingbo had three of the sacks for the Colts.
After eventually forcing the Colts to punt, Zappe replaced Jones with 1:52 remaining in the game. After converting on a fourth down, Zappe attempted a fake spike, but threw into triple coverage and was picked off by Rodney Thomas to seal the game.
Jones was 15 for 20 for 170 yards and his league-leading 10th interception. Zappe, who replaced Jones for the third time this season, was 3 for 7 for 25 yards on the final drive. Rhamondre Stevenson had 20 carries for 88 yards and Ezekiel Elliott added 13 carries for 54 yards.
The Patriots dropped to 2-8 on the season, matching the worst since Bill Belichick’s first year as coach in 2000 and the Colts improved to 5-5. The Patriots have not won a game outside of the AFC East this season.
The Patriots have failed to score a touchdown in at least three games in their first 10 games of a season for the first time since 1995.
“Obviously it was a disappointing game. Similar theme that we’ve had to other games this year," Belichick said.
"Just too many missed opportunities in all three phases of the game. Just got to play better situational football and do a better job taking advantage of the opportunities that we have. We just didn’t do a good enough job today.”
Chad Ryland's 37-yard field goal gave the Patriots an early lead, Taylor rushed for a 1-yard touchdown on fourth down after twice gaining first downs on third-and-1 earlier in the drive.
Matt Gay missed a 57-yard field-goal attempt for the Colts at the end of the second quarter to leave the score 7-3 at the half.
Ryland, who missed a 35-yard attempt early in the third quarter, had a 24-yarder early in the fourth quarter to reduce the Colts' lead to 7-6.
Gay then added 51-yard field goal restored the Colts' four-point lead on a drive that was aided by Isaiah McKenzie's 42-yard kickoff return.
The Patriots are rivaling Kansas City for the title of the most popular team in Germany, which is widely viewed as the NFL's most promising international market.
Patriots support in Germany grew in the 2010s during the team's Super Bowl titles and the appeal of German offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, but the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs have caught up fast.
The Colts won an international game for the first time, moving to 1-1, and the Patriots lost a regular-season game outside the U.S. for the first time after winning their previous three.
It was the second regular-season NFL game at Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt after the Chiefs beat the Dolphins 21-14 last week.
Colts defensive end Kwity Paye was evaluated for a hamstring injury in the first quarter but returned. ... Colts defensive end Tyquan Lewis was evaluated with a calf injury in the first quarter but returned. ... Indianapolis center Ryan Kelly left the game with a concussion, his second of the season. ... New England running back Rhamondre Stevenson had treatment for a back injury in the fourth quarter but returned. ... Patriots defensive tackle Christian Barmore left the field for treatment in the fourth quarter ... Patriots offensive tackle Conor McDermott, who was promoted from the practice squad Saturday, left the field for treatment in the fourth quarter.
Colts: Bye week and then host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 26.
Patriots: Bye week and then play at the New York Giants on Nov. 26.
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