As the shade crept over the field at Paul Brown Stadium, so did the shades of a proud recent past of the team with the horseshoes on their helmets.
Only this time the leader of such a effort was wearing a number seven instead of the familliar 18 which Colts fans were used to seeing.
Clutch throws, critical conversions and a yardage churning attack suddenly found its way into Indianapolis' offensive repertoire in the second half of their game Sunday with the Cincinnati Bengals.
But the past is the past-and in 2011 its staying there.
The Colts rallied from a 13-point deficit to cut the Cincinnati lead to three in the fourth quarter, but were done in by late turnovers in a 27-17 loss to the Bengals.
Indianapolis is now 0-6 on the season, their worst start since the 1997 season.
Such a comeback early could have been forseen in the second quarter, when the Colts responded to a Bengals touchdown with a 66-yard, eight play drive of their own. Filling in for the injured Joseph Addai, Donald Brown took a handoff around end and scored from 18-yards out to tie the game at seven.
For the next two quarters, however, it was all Cincinnati. A long drive before the half led to a Mike Nugent field goal that gave the Bengals a 10-7 lead at the break.
Cedric Benson was able to punch it in for the home team early in the second half, completing a 52-yard drive with a one-yard dive to paydirt and a ten-point Cincinnati lead. A 56-yard drive by rookie Bengals quarterback Andy Daulton led to another Nugent field goal and a 20-7 lead.
That's when Painter and the offense began to look like those of Colts past. Painter used some key passes to put the Colts into field goal range and Adam Vinatieri completed it with a 46-yard field goal to cut the lead to ten.
The next drive was the most impressive of the game to date, as Painter led the offense 74 yards down the field in ten plays. On third down, the Colts went with the play fake, fooling the Cincinnati defense and Dallas Clark pulling in the pass one-handed for the touchdown to cut the lead to three.
But that's where the momentum ended. Another solid Colts offensive drive ended when Vinatieri's 52-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Nate Clements. Things came apart on the next offensive series, when Pierre Garcon caught a pass but fumbled into the hands of Carlos Dunlap, who wrangled his way through the Colts offensive players for the 42 yard score.