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Week 16: What happened in Falcons home win over Colts

The Falcons move to 7-8 on the season after their Week 16 contest against the Colts. 

ATLANTA — Merry Christmas to the Atlanta Falcons, who won their regular-season home finale Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a 29-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts for their Week 16 matchup.

Below is how every game recap this 2023 season will be broken down by quarter for right-at-the-buzzer consumption, starting with a note that Atlanta won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Indianapolis started with the ball.


The Colts used the first possession of the game to put the first points on the board. Running back Jonathan Taylor scored on 1-yard run to cap off a 13-play, 62-yard opening drive. The Colts were able to come within a yard of the end zone after Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell was called for defensive pass interference, giving the Colts 13 yards and a fresh set of downs. The Falcons were able to stop Taylor on back-to-back plays, but he pushed through on the third-down attempt.

(NOTE: That was the first rushing touchdown the Falcons have allowed to a running back. The other five rushing touchdowns were done by a quarterback.)

The Falcons answered with one of their most efficient series this season. They compiled a quick five-play, 75-yard scoring drive that finished with a 24-yard pass from quarterback Taylor Heinicke to tight end Kyle Pitts in the end zone. Running back Bijan Robinson had a 32-yard run that moved the Falcons from their own territory into enemy ground.

Defense was then able to do its job, preventing the Colts from reclaiming the lead. The Colts were stopped at the Falcons 41-yard line and had to punt. Falcons linebacker Zach Harrison had an solo sack and linebacker Arnold Ebiketie and defensive lineman Calais Campbell combined for another sack on Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew.

The Falcons were at their own 31-yard line when the first quarter ended. But they had just failed to convert on a third-and-1, so Bradley Pinion was set to punt to start the second quarter.

Scoring plays:

Colts: Jonathan Taylor 1-yard run; Matt Gay PAT … 7-0, IND
Falcons: Taylor Heinicke 24-yard pass to Kyle Pitts; Younghoe Koo PAT … 7-7, TIE

End Q1: 7-7, TIE


For a while there, neither team could  keep rolling offensively. Both the Falcons and Colts had back-to-back drives where they punted. With their third drive of the second quarter, the Falcons broke that pattern.

The series started at the Atlanta 14-yard line and ended at the Indianapolis 4-yard line. Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo made a 23-yard field goal to push the Falcons ahead with three minutes and change remaining until halftime. That 14-play, 82-yard drive was rather dramatic, too.

Koo first came out for a 49-yard field-goal attempt but missed. Thankfully for the Falcons, there was a flag on the play. The Colts were called offsides, giving the Falcons 4 yards and a fourth-and-1 opportunity rather than fourth-and-5. So, Falcons head coach Arthur Smith sent the offense back out on the field. Six plays later, including a close but incomplete pass to Robinson in the end zone, Koo returned for the successful field goal. That gave the Falcons the lead for this first time.

Atlanta's defense then stepped up to the plate and forced Indianapolis to go three-and-out. Falcons linebacker Kaden Elliss had a big third-down sack on Minshew. Offense didn't have much time (1:46, to be specific), but the unit was able to get far enough downfield to have Koo paid the Falcons' lead a bit more before halftime. Koo made a 47-yard field goal this time.

Scoring plays:

Falcons: Younghoe Koo 23-yard field goal … 10-7, ATL
Falcons: Younghoe Koo 47-yard field goal … 13-7, ATL

Halftime: 13-7, ATL


A sketchy start turned into a flashy finish for the Falcons out of the locker room. Heinicke fumbled the opening snap but did not lose the ball, so no harm, no foul. It was just the first play of an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive. That eighth and final play was a 31-yard touchdown run by running back Tyler Allgeier.

(NOTE: Falcons linebacker Lorenzo Carter is being evaluated for a potential concussion. His return around the 6:13 mark is questionable.)

The Colts partially responded. They pulled together a 12-play, 60-yard drive that fell short at the Falcons' 15-yard line. Colts kicker Matt Gay made a 33-yard field goal. Campbell had a solo sack on Minshew during that series.

(NOTE: Carter cleared concussion protocol but remains questionable to return with a neck injury. Announced around the 2:20 mark.)

The Falcons were knocking on the Colts' door as time expired for the third quarter. Allgeier had just ran 11 yards for a first down, bringing the Falcons to the Colts' 24-yard line.

Scoring plays:

Falcons: Tyler Allgeier 31-yard run; Younghoe Koo PAT … 20-7, ATL
Colts: Matt Gay 33-yard field goal … 20-10, ATL

End Q3: 20-10, ATL


Well, the Falcons stayed knocking but didn't fully enter once the fourth quarter began. Instead, they came 23 yards short of the end zone. Koo settled for a 41-yard field goal.

(NOTE: Falcons offensive lineman Chris Lindstrom was evaluated for a potential concussion but was clear to return shortly after.)

There wasn't much going on for a bit afterward, with the Colts turning to ball over on downs and the Falcons going three-and-out. But then, as the Colts had the ball at their own 16-yard line, Minshew tried to go deep with a pass. He was looking for Colts wide receiver Alec Pierce but instead found Falcons safety Jessie Bates III. Pick, with a little less than eight minutes remaining.

(NOTE: That marks Bates' sixth interception this season, the 20th of his career. Six in a season ties the Falcons' second-best single-season mark since 2000.)

The Falcons were able to capitalize on Bates' interception, just not fully. Koo's 35-yard field goal topped off a six-play, 33-yard drive that began at the 50-yard line and ended at the Indianapolis 17-yard line. Robinson had a 26-yard run that made up most of that distance.

(NOTE: Falcons offensive lineman Jake Matthews has a knee injury and is questionable to return, it was announced with 5:46 left.)

The Colts then turned the ball over on downs again, highlighted by a Falcons safety Richie Grant sack. The Falcons took over at the Colts' 18-yard line. In the spirit of draining the clock, Atlanta ran the ball five consecutive times before Koo ultimately was called on for a 25-yard field goal.

Scoring plays:

Falcons: Younghoe Koo 41-yard field goal … 23-10, ATL
Falcons: Younghoe Koo 35-yard field goal … 26-10, ATL
Falcons: Younghoe Koo 25-yard field goal … 29-10, ATL

Final: 29-10, ATL

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the Indianapolis Colts during Week 16.

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