After a terrible day in Foxboro on Sunday, it's tough to find bright spots in what was a messy day from all areas of the team.
So, for three standout players on both defense and offense, will we be able to find enough to be encouraged by? The offense is a little easier to find them, scoring 24 points on the day. Defense... not so much.
Castonzo has had a very inconsistent season, but has put together a pretty good stretch over the last six weeks. Outside of the debacle against Tennessee, Castonzo has in general done a good job in both run and pass blocking. He did give up a sack/fumble this week, but outside of that didn't allow a QB pressure, his lowest amount of the season. The fact that the Colts ran 18 of their 23 runs to the left side is telling on how much they trust that side for run blocking.
Satele has arguably been the worst offensive starter for the Colts this season, but on Sunday he was one of the best. His +3.0 grade by PFF was tops on the team, and his best grade of the season. As usual, Satele wasn't great in pass protection, but only gave up a couple hurries. In run blocking Satele was great, often taking advantage of double team assignments to make the defensive tackle completely irrelevant.
Hilton still isn't a complete receiver, but he's a deep threat, and can be a game changer. It may not stick out as much this week, but he had another long TD this week, a 43-yard toasting of Aqib Talib. Talib was also the victim of Hilton's other TD pass. Hilton is now in the top 3 for yards, catches, and touchdowns for rookie receivers, and is in the conversation with Justin Blackmon and Kendall Wright (both 1st round picks) for best WR from this class. He had another drop this
Honorable mention: Wayne (a drop, but him consistent self with 7 catches for 72 yards)
Moala wasn't a game changer at defensive end, but this is the best we can hope for after this game. Moala was the only starter to grade positively by PFF, and did a good job getting penetration on several plays. He finished with three tackles, one stop, and two QB hurries. He also blew up a couple running plays with penetration before another Colt finished the play.
Nobody else really stuck out for the Colts on defense, and for good reason, as the Colts gave up 38 points on just 9 drives. However, a few Colts had a couple bright spots, just not good enough to say they had a good game.
Jerry Hughes: Hughes only played 15 snaps, but finished with the best defensive grade by PFF, one of just 3 players with a positive grade. Hughes' batted pass and run stop in the second quarter helped limit the Pats' offense to a field goal in the quarter. He's not a good special teams player, but his play wasn't the problem for the defense on Sunday.
Ricardo Mathews: Mathews was decent in reserve snaps this week, getting one of the very few pressures on Brady that didn't come from Mathis/Freeney. Mathews may get extended playing time with Redding hurt, and will need to continue to be decent. He doesn't have to be great, but just hold down the fort.
Hate to keep banging away on Hughes but you're right, he's a terrible special teams player. He runs around blocks, never stays in his lane and hates making the first hit, just like on Edelman's punt return. However, I never thought I'd say this but he was actually better than Freeney on defense. #93 did his best Jerry Hughes impression all day.
Sad duty, when you are struggling to find any positives.
Personally, my Colts player of the game was whoever it was that broke Gronk's arm. (Bad Doug, you should never root for a player being injured even if it is a member of the hated Patriots.)
@DougEngland What you meant to say was how karmic it was that something that awful happened so late in a ridiculous blowout due to a certain hated coach's arrogance. I feel bad for Gronk, however I don't feel bad for BB since it was his awful decisionmaking keeping his stars in during a 35 point blowout.