The Colts managed another incredible second half comeback this past week, rallying from a 20-7 deficit to start the second half to win 27-23. The win was powered by both offensive and defensive efforts, as many of the last few wins have been.
So which specific players were the drivingforce behind this week's comeback? Find out after the jump!
Last time these two teams met, Castonzo was dominated by Kamerion Wimbley, allowing 11 pressures, including two sacks. It was Castonzo's worst pass grade from PFF on the season, and it was an example of the inconsistency that Castonzo performed with during that first half of the season. This time around, Castonzo was the one dominating, being what PFF called "perfect in pass protection and a force in run blocking." On a day when the rest of the offensive line was a mess, Castonzo had one of his best games as a pro, not allowing a QB pressure and allowing Vick Ballard to run for 6.7 yards per carry on the left side.
Wayne continues his strong year with a 6 catch, 64-yard performance on a day when the rest of the wide receivers struggled to get involved. Wayne's totals included the sole passing touchdown of the day. The other side of Wayne's production is that it draws so much attention to him, and away from others. A perfect example of this was the game-clinching first down catch by Dwayne Allen. The play was supposed to be a curl to Wayne, but the Titans triple-teamed him, leaving Allen one-on-one with a linebacker in the middle of the field.
Ballard has been inconsistent this season in running, but Sunday marked his best game yet (coming just one week after his previous week, he's getting better every week). Ballard ran for 94 yards on just 19 carries, a 4.9 average behind a shaky offensive line. Ballard struggled to gain extra yards early in the season, but he fought for 48 yards after contact this week and forced four missed tackles. Ballard also didn't allow a pressure in 10 snaps in pass protection.
Although he did allow a 46-yard completion to Kenny Britt in the first half, Davis was solid in coverage all day, leading to his receiving of the highest grade of any of the Colts' defenders from PFF. Outside of those 46 yards, Davis allowed just over 3 yards per attempt, as his solid tackling and quick instincts gave him five stops on the day (most on the team).
Many would think that Cassius Vaughn should be in this spot, with two passes defended and an interception that helped the Colts comeback so quickly. But Vaughn's poor tackling (3 missed tackles, made up half of the Colts' totals on the day) and poor coverage for most of the game are what got the Colts in a bad situation to begin with. Butler, on the other hand, had the Colts' highest pass coverage grade of the week from PFF, managed two stops, and allowed zero catches on just three passes in his direction. Sure, Butler's interception may have been a missed pass interference call, but in the end, it's results that matter.
On a day when his partner, Dwight Freeney, was struggling (his worst pass rush grade in four weeks), Mathis received his second best pass rush grade of the season. With two hurries, he also continues his streak of at least two pressures in each game this season. Mathis also batted down a pass and had a run stop on the day.
This is really nicely done and helps fans in distant lands (Seattle) who can only "watch" via computer eep tabs on the players. Hopefully some more national games in the coming years.
Good work. This was the first game where I didn't see improvement from Luck. I'm not worried, but that pick six was a terrible play for this late in the season. Hopefully he won't make many more throws like that.
Excellent write-up on Butler versus Vaughn.
Also, it has been a few posts since I have mentioned this, but I LOVE Reggie Wayne. I just love watching him catch the ball. (I truly believe I would enjoy just watching him catching balls in warmup.)
And on top of all those things Kyle mentioned about Reggie's game this week, that fumble recovery was unbelievable. (And a game saver!)
It's amazing that there is somebody that evaluates every player that takes the field in some sort of objective manner. It's not always easy for the average player to figure out who plays well because one big play or bad play can blind people.
@codrutc Yeah, the grades at PFF aren't always accurate, IMO, but they're doing something that's impossible for the average fan, or even someone like myself, to do.
Great stuff. I really like this feature, Kyle.
I like that Castonzo keeps ending up here. He's a keeper.
The Darius Butler mention surprises me in a good way. He might have a place on the team next year. I so wish that Mathis could have kept that sack taken away by the Fokou holding penalty (I think that's right).
@bradicus18 Castonzo is so great to have on that left side, not because he's a future HoFer, but because he keeps it locked down in all phases of the game, and he's only going to get better. Give him a better interior and Ballard is going to do well next season.