The Indianapolis offense exploded for 45 points last Saturday in what I’ve decided is my third-favorite game of the modern Colts era (1998 on), a 45-44 Wild Card win over the Chiefs. The last time Indy scored 45 points? November 26, 2006, in a 45-21 win over the Eagles. Rocky Boiman and Cato June both had four tackles in that game, and Joseph Addai ran for four touchdowns.
Gaudy point total aside, the Colts’ offensive line wasn’t particularly great. They fell off quite a bit in pass blocking after four straight strong showings. Both tackles had poor games, and Mike McGlynn failed to live up to his modest standards. Hugh Thornton and Samson Satele (!!!) played extremely well, but the real difference was that the offense finished drives. Oh, and Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton and Donald Brown were spectacular. At long last, Pep Hamilton has revamped his offense to feature Luck, and it’s working.
I don’t mean to suggest the line had nothing to do with the outburst. On the Colts’ six touchdown plays, they missed only one block: McGlynn’s faceplant on Luck’s fumble recovery touchdown, which we can find funny now because the Colts scored:
Heh. He didn’t even touch anyone.
In terms of percentages, the run blocking was again underwhelming (on just 13 running plays), but the Colts were able to block effectively when they needed to. They had three runs on which no one missed a block, leading to 5-, 10-, and 13-yard carries by Donald Brown (the 10-yard one was a touchdown). Indy’s second-to-last drive, which was the game’s most pivotal to my eyes, started and ended with Brown runs for no gain, but in between he had carries of 7, 6, and 4 yards behind some outstanding blocks by Thornton.
All told, they’ll probably need a better offensive line performance than this to beat the Patriots on Saturday. Then again, if the newly unleashed Luck gets hot, it might not matter.
DISCLAIMER: Grading offensive line play is inevitably subjective, since it’s impossible to know assignments and how the linemen are coached. Still, subjective scores provide a useful baseline for qualitative analysis. These scores are based on whether the linemen appeared to succeed in their assignments, based on their apparent targets and how the plays developed. I assign all blocks a grade of ‘+’ (good block), ‘-’ (bad block) or ‘/’ (not involved, usually meaning the lineman couldn’t find anyone to block); ‘/’ plays are not scored. My charting table is included at the bottom of this post. I welcome criticism and commentary.