Colts defeat Patriots in final NFL International Game of 2023

In the last of five games in the 2023 NFL International Series, the Indianapolis Colts defeated the New England Patriots by a score of 10-6 in Frankfurt, Germany.

This matchup was definitely a step down from last week’s game in Frankfurt, when the Kansas City Chiefs took down the Miami Dolphins in a game between teams that will likely make the playoffs.  This week, the mediocre Colts and lowly Patriots faced off, and the German fans were subjected to some unsurprising football.

New England got on the board first with a Chad Ryland field goal, but the Colts struck back with a Jonathan Taylor rushing touchdown at the end of the first quarter.  That turned out to be the only touchdown of the game, which is incredibly rare in today’s NFL.  The next seven possessions resulted in punts before the Colts missed a long field goal before halftime, though they remained in front by a score of 7-3.  

In the third quarter, Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew was picked off by Myles Bryant, which gave New England good field position.  However, they could not find the end zone, and Ryland missed a 35 yard field goal.  After a Colts punt, the teams traded field goals, and the Patriots got the ball with just under nine minutes remaining.  Their offense marched down the field, but the drive ended catastrophically when quarterback Mac Jones threw an awful interception to Colts defender Julian Blackmon. 

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) carries for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Frankfurt, Germany Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Indianapolis punted again, giving the Patriots one last chance to win the game.  Patriots coach Bill Belichick decided to give backup quarterback Bailey Zappe the reins on the final drive, as he had seen enough of Mac Jones.  However, Zappe was picked off by Rodney Thomas II to seal the game.

New England actually managed a decent offensive output of 340 yards, but only put up 6 points due to untimely turnovers and a missed field goal.  With the loss, they fell to 2-8, and their fans are already looking forward to the draft.  The Colts moved to 5-5 with the win, but in a strong AFC, they will have an uphill battle ahead of them in their quest for the playoffs.

It was a special game for Colts offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann, as the native of Austria got the chance to play back on his home continent.  He had plenty of family and friends in attendance, and they got to see his team get the win.

The NFL will almost certainly return to Germany next season, given the success the league has had with their games there the last two seasons.  Of course, they’ll also be back in London, but maybe there will be another country who will get a chance to host a game as well.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.