The Colts beat the 49ers on Sunday, which is why the NFL is so much fun.
Nevertheless, win they did. And that's the NFL for you. It's different every week, yet the exact same. Any team can win any week, but certain truths are self evident: The Packers won't win a close game, the Chargers will choke away a fourth quarter lead, the Jaguars are bad and Peyton Manning is king.
These Colts seem to play different every week, but they always perform unexpectedly, whether it's beating a team by 20 that they were supposed to be blown out by or sneaking by a team that they were supposed to blow out. Every week is different and yet the same in that it defies our expectations.
I've broken down the win a few times already, and I'll have more breakdowns (including a video post!) here in the next couple days when All-22 comes out. But for today, I just want to take one last chance to revel in some of the great moments that I found when rewatching the game. To do this, we go to our trusty GIFs.
NOTE: I didn't have time to do rollovers today, so the loading time is going to be long for this article. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Let's start with the defense, because let's face it, they were the dominant unit on Sunday.
One of the key factors in the Colts' success was their containment of Colin Kaepernick in the pocket. Kaepernick was uncomfortable and looked to run early on, but struggled to find running room, because of plays like this:
More defensive line/front seven domination you ask? Why, it would be my pleasure.
The synchronized spin here by Redding and Mathis is just absolutely fantastic to watch. The two are easily the best pass rushers on the team currently, and they showed it on Sunday, both players getting into the backfield with regularity.
The coverage on the play was phenomenal as well, but the pressure was quick enough to where it really didn't matter anyway.
Now on to the run defense. Yes, the Colts can even have highlights when defending the run.
What we see here is #Chapnado showing us exactly what he has the potential to do: plug the middle.
His ability to shed the block and stand up the oncoming running back is one of beauty, and something that hasn't been seen from a Colts nose tackle in a long time. If he can do this with regularity, the #Chapnado hashtag is going to be well-used.
This is the part of the article where we have the Delano Howell party, with two GIFs exemplifying his aggressive, yet disciplined job in coverage that boosted the Colts' coverage all day.
Both plays came on third downs, forcing the 49ers off of the field. It was a standout day for the former UDFA out of Stanford, in large part to plays like this.
The play of the day, however, came from Antoine Bethea, who covers about three miles in the blink of an eye to take down Kaepernick as he tries to convert this third down on the ground. Or something like that.
Offensively, there weren't quite as many highlights, but one thing that's both GIF-worthy and becoming a weekly occurrence is Andrew Luck's Houdini act. This play actually doesn't result in a completion, but the elusiveness of Luck in the pocket is breathtaking.
Speaking of Luck's elusiveness, here's a beautifully drawn-up play, followed by Andrew Luck's... interesting... spike.
And how could we go through the offense without a testament to Ahmad Bradshaw? This is the perfect example of being patient and waiting for a hole to open up. It was what he did throughout the day, and something that he can hopefully pass on to Trent Richardson.
If I add any more the Bloguin servers may blow up, so I'll stop there for now.
What a fun week though. Wins are great.
These are incredible gifs, Kyle. They were all extremely well-chosen, and the Mathis-Redding one´s really impressive. Good to see Bethea being a monster.
Speaking of "synchronization" that's one of the things that when I see it I think "team", and "coaches", wonderful to watch. I get a feeling that Colts are making a concerting effort in practice with both offensive and defensive line to have players moving, blocking or attacking in sync. I could even tell by watching the pictures on colts.com, if I remember correctly it was after the Oakland game. I also recall when Pep Hamilton stated during his first interview how much he enjoys watching the linemen moving in sync at the point of attack.
From the gifs, I can't express how much I appreciate that tackle by Bethea and that's because he chose to wrapped around Kaepernick's body instead of trying to hit him like other nutcases do.
Anyway, a big shout out to the coaches. I prefer seeing the whole team being disciplined and playing together well to any flash plays by one or two players while hiding the mistakes of their teammates.
Howell was great. With that sort of play hopefully he can see the field more. I didn't mind what we saw from Werner either. While he didn't get a sack he seemed to be doing a good job driving his man back into Kapernick and generally making a nuisance of himself against a very good offensive line.
I love how Kaepernick tries the pump fake on Bethea who doesn't buy it all, he just closes on him like a maniac!!
Also, I swear I was calling for that bootleg on Luck's TD run, even for the 2nd down play!
Manning is indeed king. Just for the legacy factor I'm hoping he throws at least 55 tds and wins the superbowl. Then everyone can just shut up about who the best QB ever is. ...until Luck as played for 10 years or so.
Speaking of QBs its nice to see Luck's total QBR stay in the top five this year. Even though he's not throwing as much the stats say he is still contributing a lot. Although the fact that Locker is 7th seems really weird. I wonder if the Titans will be the Colt's biggest division rival this year. The possibility that Locker might not suck is discomforting.
@ColtsAuth_Kyle You did the other Walden play I was considering, perfect.. I'll add a link to that into mine.
I hope this defensive performance gives them the confidence to repeat this performance in the weeks to come. Literally everything they did wrong in the pre season and the first 2 weeks they did right this time. I imagine Kaepernick watching the colts -raiders game licking his chops. Thinking "I'll eat these guys for lunch."
Corey Redding's game was his best as a Colt. Freeman too. Mathis finally looks like an OLB out there. The DBs locked their guys down. The coaching staff clearly had these guys on point last week.
I would like your opinion, Kyle, on McGlynn's game at C. I know his pff grade was negative, but I thought he filled in well. I've heard him described as "mouthy" and I think for a guy like that to in charge of calls and shifts looks like an up grade over Satele. I know it's only one game against their back up NT, but he's looks like he's finally helping more than he's hurting
Just want to state that I think T-Rich is going to be great. He had a couple of mistakes choosing where to run but I chalk that up to less than 72 hours on the team. We ran him several times on 1st and ten and first contact was between 0 and 1 yard. It took several tacklers and he got 3-4 yards. I think Pep would love 2nd and 6 everytime with his offense. He had 3.5 YPC last year with broken ribs. If he can get past the injury bug, big things from him and Bradshaw. They should be the ONLY options for 4th and 1....
Such a confusing day. The Colts spent all day doing things to the Niners that I usually only see other teams do to the Colts. I didn't know how to react.
@codrutc I would like to watch our line attack *Nsync. Can't stand those guys.
I also believe the after the first 3 weeks the Titans look like the team Colts need to beat for the division title. It's nice that Locker plays well. I think it's good that Andrew has a competitor in him, like Peyton had Steve McNair.
@CA_Savage awe thanks. I'll link back when I get a chance later
@naptown_ninja I haven't watched for blitz pickup and whatnot, so I'll have to watch again for McGlynn. In terms of pure blocking, he was his usual self, IMO. But you could have a point on calls/shifts.
@stayclassysd I hated those first down runs. Everyone in the stadium knew they were going to run on first down. It was absurdly predictable and a completely futile waste of a play.
Now if they had run a couple of times and then start faking runs to throw an out or take Luck on a bootleg (I loved that touchdown call, very good) then they might have been able to get some better results for Richardson
@codrutc I take it that should be in sarcasm font?