Colts blank lifeless Bengals for 5th straight win

Indianapolis, IN ( - Andrew Luck's two touchdown passes and a smothering defensive display carried the Indianapolis Colts to a fifth consecutive win, a 27-0 demolition of the struggling Cincinnati Bengals at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Luck recorded his fifth straight 300-yard effort, finishing with 344 through the air on a 27-of-42 completion rate, and the Colts rendered a stagnant Cincinnati offense to 135 total yards to post their first shutout since a 23-0 blanking of Tennessee in the 2008 regular season finale.

"Unbelievable job," said Colts head coach Chuck Pagano of the defense's play. "I don't care (what) level, to shut someone out is extremely difficult in the National Football League."

Ahmad Bradshaw had both a rushing and receiving touchdown in the rout, with T.Y. Hilton adding 107 yards on seven catches for Indianapolis (5-2).

Without star wide receiver A.J. Green for a second straight week due to a toe injury, Cincinnati (3-2-1) mustered a paltry eight first downs in having its winless streak reach three games. Andy Dalton threw for just 126 yards on 18- of-38 passing while under heavy pressure for much of the day.

"When you don't have one of your better players, it's a difficult thing when you don't score points, but you can't use that as an excuse," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis. "We didn't play well enough across the board."

Jermaine Gresham came up with a career-best 10 catches for 48 yards in the lopsided loss, but Giovani Bernard was held to a mere 17 yards on seven carries.

Cincinnati went three-and-out on each of its first eight drives and didn't make a first down until under a minute left in the half -- and that came as a result of Colts linebacker Erik Walden drawing a personal foul penalty and ejection for making contact with an official.

"They played well and we didn't execute. I think that's what it comes down to," said Dalton. "We got beat in every part of it offensively."

The Colts were more effective moving the ball in the first half, though their initial points didn't come until Adam Vinatieri knocked through a 23-yard field goal with 33 seconds to go in the opening quarter. The kick finished off a 10-play, 68-yard series highlighted by a 23-yard connection from Luck to Coby Fleener.

Indianapolis had gotten into the red zone on its previous possession, but came up empty when Bradshaw had the football ripped out by Carlos Dunlap and the Bengals recovered at their own 11.

Luck found Hilton open down the right side for a 46-yard gain on the Colts' first drive of the second quarter, and Bradshaw followed with a 15-yard run to the 2-yard line before powering in from a yard out two plays later to extend the lead to 10-0.

"They forced us into some stuff, but thankfully we sort of broke through, put some points on the board," said Luck. "You feel like you don't have to do much when you're playing with a defense like (ours)."

It was more of the same for Cincinnati in the third quarter, which began with another Bengals' three-and-out before the Colts moved ahead further by churning out 85 yards in eight plays.

Luck had three big completions on the trek, including a 26-yarder to Fleener on third down and a strike to Dwayne Allen in which the tight end shook off a tackle and raced down the sideline prior to diving into the end zone for a 32- yard score just over five minutes into the second half.

As the Bengals' offensive ineptitude continued, Indianapolis put the game completely out of reach with a 13-play, 85-yard march that consumed nearly eight minutes off the clock.

Luck went 5-for-5 on that trek, which Bradshaw capped with a determined 10- yard catch-and-run that put the Colts up 24-0 with just over 12 minutes to go.

Cincinnati finally generated a sustained drive after Bradshaw's second score, getting down to the Indianapolis four before being stopped on downs after three straight Dalton incompletions.

The Colts then got in range for Vinatieri to hit a 50-yard field goal that concluded the scoring.

Game Notes

Luck's five straight 300-yard passing game tied Peyton Manning's franchise record set in 2009 ... The Bengals were shut out for the first time since a 37-0 loss to the Jets in Week 17 of the 2009 season ... Cincinnati converted only 1-of-13 third-down opportunities ... Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (neck) and cornerback Leon Hall (back) both exited the contest in the first half for Cincinnati ... Colts running back Trent Richardson compiled 118 yards from scrimmage, rushing 14 times for 77 yards and adding 41 on four receptions.