INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jonathan Taylor ran for two scores, Gardner Minshew added another and the Indianapolis Colts defense came up with a late turnover Sunday to preserve a 27-20 victory over Tampa Bay.
Indy (6-5) won its third straight and climbed above .500 for the first time since the end of September with its second home victory of the season.
The two-time defending NFC South champion Bucs (4-7) have lost four straight road games, this one in uncharacteristic fashion.
Indy gashed the usually stingy Tampa Bay run defense for 155 yards and 5.7 yards per carry — numbers that would have been even higher if Taylor had not slid down inbounds to keep the clock running late before the Colts started kneeling down.
Taylor had 15 carries for 91 yards and his first multiple score game of the season. Zack Moss ran eight times for 55 yards.
The Colts took control early and never allowed the Bucs to completely recover after Baker Mayfield injured his right ankle on the game’s opening series, an injury that forced Tampa Bay to settle for a field goal after having first-and-goal from the Indy 1-yard line.
Matt Gay tied the score with his first field goal and the Colts converted Ronnie Harrison Jr.'s interception into Taylor’s powerful 4-yard run to make it 10-3.
Minshew extended the margin to 17-3 with a nifty sidestep of Bucs linebacker Devin White en route to a 2-yard TD run early in the second quarter.
Tampa Bay finally answered after Carlton Davis III’s interception led to an easy 1-yard TD lob from Mayfield to a wide-open Mike Evans late in the first half.
The Bucs pulled within 20-17 on Evans’ second score, a 23-yard TD pass early in the fourth, but the Colts converted a fourth-and-1 with a 30-yard completion and Taylor scored from 1 yard three plays later.
That made 27-17 with 7:30 to play and the Bucs didn’t get in the end zone again.
Mayfield was 20 of 30 with 199 yards, two TDs, one interception and a game-sealing fumble that he lost.
Evans had six catches for 70 yards and Rachaad White ran 15 times for 100 yards.
Buccaneers: Tampa Bay was down three defensive players to start the game — LB Lavonte David (groin), CB Jamal Dean (ankle and foot) and DL Mike Greene (calf). Mayfield missed the final two plays of the Bucs’ first drive but returned on the next series.
Colts: C Ryan Kelly (concussion protocol), CB JuJu Brents (quad) and DT Grover Stewart (suspension), all starters, sat out. Brents and Stewart have missed five consecutive games and Stewart can return to the team after next week’s game.
BY THE NUMBERS
Buccaneers: The defense had allowed four TD runs in its first 10 games before giving up three to the Colts. ... Backup QB Kyle Trask took two snaps in the game, one more than he had previously this season. ... Tampa Bay gave up only 20 sacks prior to this game, but the Colts had six Sunday.
Colts: Receiver Michael Pittman Jr. had 10 receptions for 107 yards against one of his father’s former teams. ... Indy has scored 20 or more points in all 10 games it has played on American soil this season. ... Indy only has two wins in its past 12 home games.
LEONARD STILL AROUND
Three-time All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard no longer has a roster spot in Indy after being waived Tuesday. He still couldn’t stay away from Sunday’s game, watching it from one of the suites.
Outside the stadium, the poster of Indy’s former defensive leader remains on the front facade with a new message “thanks for the memories.” Inside the stadium, though, the Colts also remembered Leonard, playing a brief highlight package during a break in the first quarter as the crowd roared.
Indy quarterback Anthony Richardson has returned to the team complex and was back at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, too, after suffering a season-ending injury to his throwing shoulder.
Richardson, the fourth overall draft pick in April, had surgery to repair a sprained AC joint last month in Los Angeles. He initially stayed there to rehab but came back to Indy. He had a sling protecting his shoulder during pregame warmups and waved to the fans with his left arm in his first appearance at the stadium since getting hurt Oct. 8 against Tennessee.
Buccaneers: Host Carolina and top overall draft pick Bryce Young next Sunday.
Colts: Visit the Titans next Sunday, seeking a season sweep.