Philip Rivers leads Colts back from 21-point hole to go into bye at 4-2

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts, especially quarterback Philip Rivers, were in a position where the odds were staggering against them.

With a start when everything went wrong, the Colts found themselves in a 21-0 hole. The Bengals' chances to win early in the second quarter was as high as 92.8%, per ESPN metrics. Rivers was 2-18 as a starter when his team trailed by 21 points or more.

Percentages didn’t matter on this day, though.

Rivers led the Colts from 21 points back in their 31-27 victory over Cincinnati to head into the bye week with a 4-2 record. Sunday’s victory marked the seventh time in franchise history that the Colts have come from 20 points down to win.

The last time the Colts did that was when Andrew Luck led them from 28 points down in the third quarter of the AFC wild-card playoff game against Kansas City in January 2014.

Luck is off enjoying retirement, but Rivers turned back the clock by leading the comeback Sunday. The veteran had his best performance as a Colt, going 29-of-44 for 371 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

Rivers, who went into Sunday with more interceptions than touchdowns, was at his best in the second quarter when the Colts were getting blown out.

He threw for 235 yards in the second quarter to help get the Colts back in the game. The 235 yards were the third most in any quarter in franchise history, behind just Peyton Manning’s 247 yards in 2004 and Dan Orlovsky’s 240 yards in 2011.

Rookie Julian Blackmon sealed the Colts come-from-behind victory when he intercepted fellow rookie Joe Burrow in Indianapolis territory with less than two minutes left in the game.

Going into the bye with a 4-2 record is a lot better than being 3-3 when you consider the Colts just got through the softer part of their schedule.

Things will get tougher for them once they return from the bye. The Colts still have games against Baltimore (4-1), Green Bay (4-0), Pittsburgh (5-0) and Tennessee (5-0) remaining on their schedule.

Troubling trend: Third-down defense remains an issue for the Colts. Burrow had very little issue picking apart the Colts defense on third down. Cincinnati was 8-of-17 on third down. Going back to their Week 5 game at Cleveland, the past two opponents are a combined 18-of-34 on third down. The Colts continue to remain near the top of the statistics when it comes to many defensive categories, but their struggles to get off the field on third down will have to change when the schedule flips on them after the bye.

Buy on a breakout performance: Receiver Marcus Johnson put on the type of performance that should make it tough for the Colts to send him back to the practice squad. Johnson, who has shuffled back and forth from the practice squad most of the season, was the Colts’ No. 1 receiver against the Bengals, catching five passes for 108 yards. Depth at receiver has been issue all season for the Colts, as Parris Campbell (knee) and Michael Pittman Jr. (calf) are both out with injuries. But even when they do return -- Campbell’s return is up in the air -- Johnson continues to show that he deserves a spot on the weekly active roster.