Despite dominant road wins in consecutive weeks, it felt like the Colts still needed to prove they were contenders. So after wins against the injured 49ers and the hapless Jaguars, the Colts would have a chance to, in the words of FOX announcer Eric Burkhardt, "legitimalize themselves" by beating one of the best teams in the NFL, the Seattle Seahawks.
It felt like this could be a great game and the teams didn’t disappoint. Let’s take a look at the Colts offense, defense and STs and see which players had the biggest impact in this instant classic.
The Colts had yet another slow start: there was nothing from the offense early in the game, not from Luck, Richardson or even Reggie, who dropped two passes that could’ve been two first downs. And unlike last week, this week's opponent was a great team. Thankfully for Indy, Luck and Hilton would catch fire. Down 12-0, and with absolutely nothing going right for the team, Hilton would catch a great pass from Luck and take it 73-yards for a TD.
They wouldn't stop there, as Andrew Luck would find Hilton again in the 3rd quarter with a PERFECT 29-yd TD pass. It couldn’t have been a prettier pass, and Hilton didn’t waste it.
The running game wasn’t particularly good, but Donald Brown made some good plays including the game’s final TD. No “Dammit, Donald!” today. Trent Richardson disappointed again, getting only 56 yards on 18 carries and no TDs. On the bright side, he did convert a key third down on the Colts last drive, on which he displayed the power and play-making ability we all expect from him.
The Colts were effective through the air, as Luck made great throws throughout the game. He finished with 229 yards and 2 TDs. After starting slow - he was 1/6 for 3 yards to open the game - he got into a rhythm and the Seahawks couldn’t stop him. Reggie Wayne had a nice game too, finishing with 65 yards and a catch for a 2-point conversion. Hilton was Luck’s best option and had an amazing 140 yards and 2 TDs. Pep Hamilton needs to involve him a lot more in this offense.
Overall, it was a great game for the offense. This game shows this Colts team is clearly the best in the AFC South and that they can move the ball on any team in the NFL. And for God’s sake, you have T.Y. Hilton. USE HIM MORE!
Offensive player of the game: T.Y. Hilton
It’s a bit weird to pick someone other than Luck, especially after such a great game, but T.Y. Hilton was just so good. He had only one drop early in the game and after that he would catch everything thrown at him, including 2 TDs and 140 yards. Luck was spectacular too, but Hilton’s first TD was all on him and the Seahawks never found an answer to him the rest of the game.
Special mention to Brandon Browner, for firing Hilton up!
U MAD BRO?!
The defense struggled at the beginning of the game, allowing 10 points on Seattle’s first two drives. On the ground or through the air, the Seahawks were moving the ball with ease.
But after falling down 12-0 from a safety on a blocked punt, the team, led by the defense, started to turn things around. First, the D got a stop on Seattle's next drive, when Pete Carroll decided to punt the ball on 4th-and-1 from Indy's side of the field. Luck and Hilton would hook up for their 1st TD of the game 5 plays later, and from that point on, the game developed into a back-and-forth scrap.
While Lynch and Wilson were torturing the defense on the ground - both players broke the 100-yd barrier - the last Seahawks' TD came with 7 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. The Colts gave up yards, but they weren't giving up touchdowns, and in a game decided by 6 points, that would be the difference maker.
It wasn’t always pretty, in fact, it was painful and frustrating to watch at times, but they didn’t break after a disastrous start, or under the punishing running by both Lynch and Wilson. They were pretty good in the 2nd half holding their opponent to 9 points only (all 9 in the 3rd quarter) and they eventually sealed the game for Indy.
Defensive player of the game: Robert Mathis
With 2 sacks (100th and 101st of his career) and 5 hurries, Mathis was a pain in Seattle's side all day. Against a lesser quarterback, Mathis may have had an even more prolific day on the stat sheet, but Russell Wilson's scrambling ability negated much of Mathis' magic.
Very busy game for them. They struggled a lot in the 1st half. McAfee’s first punt was a horrible kick, probably his worst in a long time. Then, he would get another punt blocked resulting in a safety, giving Seattle a 12-0 lead.
Amazingly, in easily their best play of the season so far, they would block a FG attempt and D. Howell would return the football 61 yards for the TD to give the Colts a 14-12 lead. (Watching Hauschka trying to tackle Howell was a bonus.)
Vinatieri also had a solid day, kicking 2 FGs.
After the blocked punt, they redeemed themselves with a blocked kick of their own. Howell’s TD was arguably the biggest play of the day so, even while it wasn’t perfect it’s really hard to complain here.
The punter no 9 Ryan is one attempting to tackle Howell on the blocked fg return. The kicker is no 4. NFL made same call. Must like saying that name better.
Maybe not exactly the pressure of a Super Bowl, but nice clutch 49 yard kick from Adam V with 1:55 to go.
No Dammit Donald? I thought he was the protector on the blocked punt. Seriously. If that's true, the coaches should all be fired. Yes, the D stunted, but still....
Mathis? For most of the game, his deep upfield rushes opened up giant gaps for Wilson to run. Yes he got great pressure, but the team failed to contain and as I didn't see anybody else out there, I think it was on him. With a running QB like that, you cannot charge upfield like that--pressure + containment is bland, but safer than 1 sack + six 8 yard first down runs. May have been defensive design. If so, again, the coaches should be ashamed. Did we learn nothing from playing Pryor?
If they do that against Denver, Manning will run wild on us; 200, maybe 300 yards on the ground at least!
It's a little difficult to grade out a game that such a truly horrible start. But I agree with your assessment, and with picking Mathis and Hilton. I was saying to a friend of mine I thought Hilton should be considered our MVP of that game. Especially because of that amazing catch on the throw that came in behind him. So hard.
@Bobman1 Donald was a protector on the punt, but as I remember it was not Donald's man who got through on the block.
@erhall01 @Bobman1 It was Overton. There were two guys in the "a" gaps (idk if those apply in STs). Overton hesitates and tries to block the one to his right., not well. That guy stunts over to the left side and Brown engages him. The guy to Overton's left delays a bit then shoots the gap, Overton half ass blocks him (maybe thinking Brown will catch him), and then he blocks the punt because Brown is already engaging the guy that stunted on Overton.