With the AFC South title already clinched, the Colts still had plenty to play for. A first round bye in the playoffs or a better spot in the AFC was still possible, although they needed some help from those facing the Bengals and the Patriots.
After their previous stinkers over the past month, the Colts felt the need to light a match. After taking it one day at a time and throwing out the records, they did just that Sunday against the Texans. A few body blows later, and the Colts had imposed their will and set fire on the dumpster that is the Houston Texans with a 25-3 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The win ran the Colts record vs. the Texans in Indianapolis to a reasonable 1,959,072 - 0 (approximately).
Hello, friends, and welcome to Augusta National for this 193rd Annual Masters Tournament, I'm your host, Greg Cowan. Let's start off with the important stuff: a win is a win and no win is bad so a win over the hapless Texans, by all definitions was good, so if a win is good then there is no bad, so let's not spend too much time being negative about it, okay?no comments
Today's recap was written drive by drive during the game.
Today, in a rocking Lucas Oil Stadium, the Colts came out rolling on offense (yes, I went there with the rocking and rolling bit). As the Indianapolis Star’s Mike Chappell pointed out before the game, Indy had gone 37 straight first half drives without a touchdown through 6 games. If any streak should end today, why not that one?
The Colts came out in a shotgun trips right formation with the running back on the other side, then spread things out the rest of the way, save for a couple plays. A quick pass to T.Y. Hilton, a couple big runs by Donald Brown, and a pair of 3rd &1 conversions by Trent Richardson all led to a pretty, pretty 14-yard touchdown pass to Griff Whalen, who had been on the active roster for approximately 28 hours.
Werner finished up with +0.4 grade on Pro Football Focus, which was staggeringly the fourth highest grade a player on the Colts defense got. Werner saw just 27 snaps against the Bengals, but he did get a pass breakup and a tackle, though he still has just 0.5 sacks on the season and had a missed tackle against Cincinnati too. Werner is kind of a project at outside linebacker, so I'm willing to be patient with the German, but I think fans expected a little bit more out of their first round pick.
The third round pick out of Illinois was inactive against the Bengals with a neck injury, but his replacement Joe Reitz had a very good game in his place. It remains to be seen whether Thornton will now come back in and play at his more natural position of right guard in place of Mike McGlynn, but the offensive line played pretty well without Thornton.
Holmes was finally active against the Bengals, but featured in a grand total of zero snaps as the team chose to use fellow rookie Xavier Nixon as the sixth offensive lineman instead. I still think there's no way Holmes can be as bad as Samson Satele, who had the lowest offensive grade on Pro Football Focus.
Hughes saw more playing time this week with Ricky Jean Francois out injured, but, like everybody else on defense, struggled. He finished with -1.0 on Pro Football Focus, which was the eighth highest grade we had on defense. That kinda sums things up.
Da'Rick Rogers had a fantastic start, recording six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Rogers, an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee Tech by way of Tennessee, saw 41 snaps compared to Darrius Heyward Bey's 24. The change has finally happened.
Xavier Nixon, the offensive tackle from Florida, saw four snaps and recorded a 0.6 grade on PFF.
Jack Doyle saw just ten snaps this week, finishing up with poor grades in run blocking.
Josh McNary impressed, albeit in just seven defensive snaps, with PFF particularly impressed with his play in pass coverage.
Kenyan rugby player Daniel Adongo saw his first ever snaps in the NFL and did some good things on special teams, impressing with his athleticism.no comments
With only four active receivers and LaVon Brazill still questionable with an injured foot, the Colts have elevated receiver Griff Whalen from the practice squad. To make room, they waived cornerback Jalil Brown, who had been on the active roster since October.
12 Things to Watch in Sunday's Colts Texans Game
This is the scariest thing you'll see all year.
Last week, the Colts fell down on the road against the Bengals. This week, they get a visit from the worst team in football, the Houston Texans. Oddly enough, that fact does little to quell the nervousness that is percolating around the city. The Colts haven't been playing good football in awhile, but they have a chance to right the ship. Here's what to watch for...
1. Watch the rhythm. With playoff seeding all but locked up, Indy has a chance to experiment over the final three games. The offense has moved in fits and spurts for a gaggle of fortnights now. Gaggle, of course, being the official herd designation for the wild fortnight. Fortnights in captivity are called a quell. The great thing about things that don't matter is that you can be creative and make them into whatever you want. That's the joy of creativity and of locking up your playoff spot with three weeks to go in the season. If the Colts want to treat these games like preseason affairs to get Da'Rick Rodgers and LaVon Brazill integrated into the offense, they can with little fear of repercussion. Or they could just hand the ball off a bunch. Either way.no comments
Since their 39-33 win over the Broncos at home, the Colts have endured some brutal first halves, particularly on offense. Three times now, they’ve bounced back for an exciting win. Just as often, however, those rocky first halves have been too much to overcome. Even last Sunday’s offensive fireworks weren’t enough after spotting the Bengals a 14-point lead early on.
One major area Pep Hamilton and the offense want to improve upon this week is their third down success rate. The Colts only converted 3/14 third downs in their 8-point win over the Titans on December 1, and went 0 for 6 in the first half at Cincinnati before lighting up the scoreboard in the second.
Since the Indianapolis Colts lost future Hall of Fame wide receiver Reggie Wayne to a torn ACL, nothing has come easy. The offense has struggled to find a stride and a new identity. The defense has had to shoulder a much greater level of pressure as offenses have become more aggressive, unafraid of a limping Colts offense. Comebacks have become harder to come by as first half deficits have continued to mount.
Still, Indianapolis has won the AFC South and has a guaranteed spot in the playoffs with home-field advantage -- likely in the wild card round. While this is an accomplishment the team and fans can be proud of, it has been difficult from a fan perspective to get too excited when the likelihood that the team can mount any kind of playoff push under its current state is minimal at best.
So what then can be a silver lining in a 42-28 trouncing against the Cincinnati Bengals? Well, frankly, there are a lot of things that should give Colts fans something to root for in 2013 and as many of the team's fans begin accepting reality and glancing into the future.no comments
Somewhat lost among Jeff Triplette’s ongoing incompetence and another turd of a game by the Colts’ defense on Sunday was the offensive line’s best performance of the season by a wide margin.
Andrew Luck was not sacked for the first time since week three of 2012. That’s right, the last time Luck went through a game without getting sacked, his desperation comeback attempt came up short in a 22-17 loss to Jacksonville that dropped the Colts to 1-2. Kris Adams and Austin Collie played in that game. So, yeah, it’s been a while.
Facing the Bengals, one of the league’s better defensive fronts even without the injured Geno Atkins, the Colts only missed 11 pass blocks out of 226 attempts by my count (95%). All five linemen completed at least 91% of their pass blocks; at least one had finished at 83% or lower in all five games I had previously charted. It was excellent work.
Some of that was due to the new (or newish, in the case of Mike McGlynn) starters at guard. Joe Reitz and McGlynn were both outstanding in pass protection, as Reitz missed only two blocks and McGlynn only one (!!!). Castonzo and Reitz also showed terrific chemistry in picking up stunts, with which Castonzo and the injured Hugh Thornton had often struggled.
Another important wrinkle: in games Thornton has played, the Colts have often slid their left tackle, left guard and center to the left in zone blocking and put the right guard and right tackle in man protection (a scheme called “2 jet” that’s common in West Coast offenses). That scheme has the advantage of giving the left guard help, but it leaves a gap in the center of the line and puts the right guard (usually McGlynn) on an island. With the more experienced Reitz at left guard, the Colts appeared to do a lot more man blocking in Cincinnati, assigning the guards and tackles to one rusher each and leaving Samson Satele in a free role in the middle, as on this play:
I’ve written in the past that Satele ends up finding no one to block on tons of plays, and he led the team again in this one with six such plays. But this time around, it was clearly a schematic choice, and it usually worked. Reitz and McGlynn were generally able to hold their own, and if they ran into trouble they just steered their men toward Satele (Satele had one notable gaffe on such a play when he completely whiffed a one-on-one block, but that’s Samson for you).
The Colts’ run blocking was wildly ineffective, as usual, but as well as they protected Luck, this group deserves to keep starting even when Thornton and Jeff Linkenbach get healthy.
Here are my breakdowns. All grades are subjective and are based on whether the blocker got the better of the man he appeared to target.no comments
Welcome to Who to Root For for Week 15 of the NFL season.
Each week I break down the schedule in grammatically incorrect fashion. That is, of course, unless you consider avoiding awkward constructions to be the heart of proper grammar in which case this column will be near and dear to your heart. Though it likely means you aren't a big football fan, in which case this will be irrelevant to your life.
What's At Stake: The Colts are all but locked into the fourth seed in the AFC. They have clinched the AFC South, but are a game and a tie break behind the Bengals and two games behind the Patriots.
What It Will Take: Getting up to the third seed will take two losses by the Pats or Bengals and three Colts wins. Or two wins by Indy and three losses to close the year from either Cincy or New England. We can hope, but realistically any hope of a higher seed died in Cincinnati last weekend.
Ideal (but realistic) Seeding:
Denver, Cincinnati, New England, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Baltimore
Baltimore would beat the Pats in round 1, sending the winner of KC/Indy to Cincinnati. Maybe the Ravens upset the Broncos and the Colts host the AFC Championship game.
EASY CALLS (Home team in bold)
Dolphins over the Patriots
Still root against New England, but be careful. A KC swoon and Indy could end up playing a tougher team in the Wild Card Round.
Chiefs over the Raiders
Kansas City is the best possible matchup for Indy. They are vastly overrated, and the Colts could upset them. Root for them to win.
Jets over the Panthers
If there is any possible way to get New York into the playoffs, I'm rooting for it.
Steelers over the Bengals
Indy can still jump Cincy, but it would take a loss by the Bengals this weekend.
Ravens over the Lions
I'm ok with the Ravens as the six seed. That could be the key to keeping the Colts out of Denver.
Broncos over the Chargers
I can't think of any good reason to ever root for Phil Rivers over Peyton Manning, and I'm not going to do it. Ok?
I'm just not.no comments