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Game balls | 4 standouts from Washington's win over Indianapolis


The Washington Commanders notched their third straight win, defeating the Indianapolis Colts, 17-16, after a thrilling fourth-quarter push. Antonio Gibson, Terry McLaurin, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne all had big performances at Lucas Oil Stadium to ensure the Commanders got back to .500.  

Antonio Gibson

The Commanders used Gibson early and often in Indianapolis, turning to the running back's talents for every play of Washington's first possession. His 16-yard and 18-yard plays were two of the Commanders' highlights of the first quarter as the offense struggled to march down the field for most of the evening. 

For the second game in a row, Gibson scored Washington's first touchdown of the game. Just over four minutes into the second quarter, the running back found himself wide open on the right of the field, caught a nine-yard pass from Heinicke and walked it in. The score was his 25th career touchdown, the most by a Washington player in their first 38 games in franchise history. He continued to be impactful in the back end of the contest and finished the game with 14 touches for 77 yards. His 58 yards through the air were second most on the team, showing off the receiving strength that head coach Ron Rivera has often praised about the back.

Terry McLaurin

Sunday marked the first time Indianapolis native played at Lucas Oil Stadium as a pro. Excitement around the star's homecoming has been building all week, and McLaurin celebrated the occasion by inviting approximately 70 guests to the game. In front of those loved ones, Washington's No. 17 did not disappoint.

Sparks flew after McLaurin's catch-and-run for 42 yards in the second quarter. But it was absolute fireworks after what unfolded in the fourth quarter with Washington down by six and just four seconds on the clock.

A touchdown was a must, and McLaurin knew the assignment. Even though the initial play broke down, he did well to turn and bolt to make himself a deep option as Heinicke scrambled. Washington's quarterback then launched a 33-yard pass that McLaurin contested with Stephon Gilmore. The receiver ripped the ball out of the defender's hands and came down with it just inches from the end zone. Without that play, it is hard to imagine Washington walking away with a win.

After the catch, McLaurin ripped off his helmet with yells of, "This is my city!" Hard to argue with after moments like that. He finished the game with six catches on eight targets for 113 yards. For his outing, the receiver was given the physical game ball from Rivera.

Jon Allen & Daron Payne

Building on an encouraging trend seen in recent weeks, the Commanders' defense gave its opponent all kinds of headaches against the Colts. Allen and Payne, per usual, were a big part of that. Allen took some time to rest later in the week, and it looked to have paid off as he consistently hounded Indy's offensive line and quarterback Sam Ehlinger. He finished the win with eight total tackles and the most tackles for loss of anyone on the team.

One series that perfectly captured Allen and Payne's excellence on the night came with just 2:30 to go in the first half and the Colts in the red zone. First, Allen came up with a big tackle for loss on Colts running back Deon Jackson. The very next play, he applied pressure to Ehlinger, which ultimately saw the ball pop out of his hands. Payne pounced on the loose back, and Washington gained possession on a drive that should have put points on the board for the Colts. In the last few not-so-pretty wins, these two have done their job to keep Washington in games.

Payne finished the game with five tackles and a sack. He has recorded at least one sack in each of his last two road games. It was his fourth-career fumble recovery.

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