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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

NFL Locals: Colts defense steps up, Gardner Minshew does enough to beat Patriots in Germany

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew throws a pass in the fourth quarter during the NFL match between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots at Deutsche Bank Park on Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany.  (Getty Images)
By Taylor Newquist The Spokesman-Review

Gardner Minshew (Washington State) didn’t have to do much to be the best quarterback in Germany.

Frankly, most NFL-caliber QBs could’ve led the Indianapolis Colts past the New England Patriots in Frankfurt on Sunday.

Minshew completed 18 of 28 attempts for 194 yards and an interception during the Colts’ 10-6 win over the Patriots.

Minshew did most of his work on the Colts’ opening drive. He hit Isaiah McKenzie for a 30-yard pass to convert a third-and-6, and found Michael Pittman on a 10-yard completion down to the Patriots’ 1, where Johnathan Taylor eventually scored on fourth down.

That was the only score the Colts (5-5) would need, given the way their defense played.

After surrendering a field goal drive on the Patriots’ first possession, Samson Ebukam (Eastern Washington) and the Colts held New England (2-8) to four straight punts in the first half.

New England cut the lead to 7-6 with a field goal early in the fourth quarter. The Patriots had two more drives to try to take the lead, both led by different quarterbacks and both ending in interceptions.

Mac Jones threw a pass well short of his intended target, which was intercepted by Justin Blackmon in the red zone. He was promptly benched for Bailey Zappe, who came in and threw a game-clinching interception with 36 seconds left.

Ebukam finished with three tackles.

The Colts go into their bye week in third place in the AFC South, a 1/2-game behind the Houston Texans and 11/2-games behind the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“We’re fired up,” Minshew said. “We’ve got some free time coming, we’re 5-5, we’ve got everything in front of us. It’s a great opportunity to go home and get healthy, and hit this back half of the season with a lot of confidence.”

Andre Dillard (WSU) exited the Tennessee Titans’ road loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in concussion protocol.

Dillard, who was benched earlier in the season and led the NFL in sacks allowed (eight) entering Week 10, was thrust back into action due to other injuries in the Titans line.

Dillard was beaten for two more sacks before leaving the 20-6 loss to the Buccaneers.

• Quarterback Kyler Murray made his return from a knee injury that held him out for nearly a year and Jalen Thompson (WSU) and the Arizona Cardinals returned to the win column.

Murray led a two-minute drill that set kicker Matt Prater up for a game-winning field goal during a 25-23 win over the visiting Atlanta Falcons in Glendale, Arizona.

Atlanta linebacker Kaden Elliss (Idaho) did everything he could to slow down the Cardinals.

Elliss was second on the team with 11 tackles and a sack. He’s had a stellar first season with the Falcons (4-6). Elliss is tied for Atlanta’s team lead with 73 tackles.

Thompson had three tackles for the Cardinals (2-8), who won their first game since Sept. 24.