That was a whole lot better than last week. The Colts all around improved and showed a pretty good showing of what they are capable of beating the New York Giants 20-12. When I first starting watching it (since it was on Sunday Night Football), I was getting worried with our defense and offense. The first drive for the Giants went inside the red zone thanks to a defensive pass interference call. The Colts were able to stop them on 4th down. But when the Colts got the ball, two straight runs by Ballard went nowhere and Fleener dropped what would have been a first down. The Giants went inside the red zone again on their second drive but were held to a field goal. The Colts improved on the second drive but got lucky when Luck threw it right to Aaron Ross but he bounced it up in the air and Reggie caught it off the rebound in the end zone. So, the Colts did not allow a touchdown the entire game and held them to four field goals. Speaking of field goals, Vinatieri and McManus hit 50+ yard field goals. Let's break down the positions again with the Colts and Giants:
I really like the quarterbacking from Luck but Harnish and Hasselbeck did not do a very good job. Luck was 9 of 13 for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Hasselbeck came in and was 6 of 10 for 45 yards but threw a costly interception when the Colts were driving and were in field goal range. Harnish came in after Hasselbeck and was 2 of 5 for 25 yards. Not that bad but I would like to see less interceptions from the backups. At least (or hopefully), neither of the two will play during the regular season. Eli Manning was 8 of 17 for 97 yards and an interception. He did not look to good inside the red zone and had a completion percentage of 47% while Luck's was 69%. David Carr came in and led the Giants downfield but could produce a field goal. Carr was 7 of 11 for 57 yards. His completion percentage was 63% while Hasselbeck's was 60%. Aside from the interception, close numbers from the second string quarterbacks. After Carr came the rookie Ryan Nassib. Nassib was 2 of 6 for 48 yards. Nassib's completion percentage was 33% while Harnish's percentage was 40%. So very close numbers from the quarterbacks of the Colts and the quarterbacks of the Giants but the Colts win this position because of the two touchdowns from Luck. Luck finished with a 133.7 QB rating and Manning finished with a 40.6 QB rating.
Here is one component to the Colts offense that needs work but will get better when Ahmad Bradshaw comes back. The Colts had nine more rushing plays than the Giants but had a 2.7 yards per carry average compared to the Giants' 4.0. The Giants had seven more rushing yards than the Colts but the majority came from the two starting backs, Andre Brown and David Wilson. David Wilson had eight carries for 36 yards and Andre Brown had eight carries for 34 yards. Ryan Torain is back in the NFL (anyone still remember him?) and rushed for 19 yards on five carries. Vick Ballard did not have a good game on four carries for a paltry four yards. Donald Brown had six carries for 21 yards. Kerwynn Williams had a nice 12 yard run but was getting stopped behind the line constantly so he finished with 19 yards on 10 carries. The only other notable runningback was Delone Carter who rushed for 16 yards on seven carries. So the Giants won in this category but probably would have lost if he had Bradshaw starting.
The Colts did pretty well in this category minus the drop by Fleener, who also came out of the game with a sprained knee. Reggie Wayne had a great game with three catches for 37 yards and a miracle touchdown catch off of the fingers of CB Aaron Ross. Reggie also had a nice one handed catch at the line that went for about three to four yards. Heyward-Bey missed a catch but it was towards the ground. He came out of the game as the leading receiver though, catching four pass for 42 yards. Hilton is just unstoppable and proves my Harrison-Hilton comparison even more. Hilton had two catches for 36 yards. But the two catches or amazing. His first catch was with a defender an inch away from him on the sideline and then juked two Giants to pick up four extra yards and an amazing catch in the endzone where he was able to bring two feet down in the back of the end zone. Not much to say about the Giants. HB Michael Cox lead the Giants in receiving with two catches for 48 yards. Hakeem Nicks had two catches for 40 yards but his teammate Victor Cruz left the game with an injury. Ramses Barden had the most receptions on the Giants with four catches for 28 yards. Due to the amazing catches by Wayne and Hilton, the Colts easily take this category.
The Colts did a good job in pass blocking only allowing one sack. I think pass blocking will be extremely better this year but we need better run blocking from the offensive line. The Colts could have a Top 5 Offense in the NFL if they had a good running game. If Bradshaw can get over 1,000 yards, the Colts will be Top 5 in Offense. The Giants did not have a good game with the offensive line. RJF landed awkwardly on C David Baas. He left the game on their first drive and did not return. As for run blocking they did a good job but pass blocking was not good for them. They allowed six sacks. The Colts defense was pressuring the quarterback all game and had a lot off hurries and hit on the Giants' quarterbacks. This one was pretty much an even match. The Colts exceled in pass blocking while the Giants didn't and The Giants exceled in run blocking but the Colts didn't. So this category ends in a tie.
The Colts defense started out slow but really improved. They only allowed four field goals the entire game. They also had six sacks, two from Caesar Rayford, two from Drake Nevis, one from Marshay Green, and one from Erik Walden. Rayford has been very good in preseason and will most likely get a roster spot. He leads the team in sacks with three. Nevis has been injury prone and has only one career sack. He stepped up against the Giants and wrapped the quarterback up for two sacks. Marshay Green had dismal pass coverage against the Bills but was able to get a sack. Erik Walden came around the edge and sacked Eli Manning. He also led the team in tackles with six. Walden will most likely be the starter Week 1 at OLB. Werner came close to a sack but fell to the ground and could not wrap the quarterback up. Greg Toler had an interception off of Eli Manning on the Giants' third drive. If the starters in the secondary can stay healthy, this is going to be a very good pass coverage defense in 2013. Nothing stood out for the Giants except for the pick by Jayron Hosley and the sack from Justin Trattou. Adewale Ojomo led the team in tackles with five. The Colts win this category with all the red zone stops and the five more sacks than the Giants. This will be a good defense if they can really stop the run.
Well, the Colts did not allow a kickoff return touchdown so it was already better than last week. The worst return they allowed was a 36-yard kickoff return by Michael Cox. Cassius Vaughn had a 27-yard return but fumbled and Kerwynn Williams had a 22-yard returned. Nothing stood out on punt returning from either team. A lot of field goals in the game. Josh Brown was 4 of 4 on field goals for the Giants. Adam Vinatieri nailed a 52-yard field goal and rookie Brandon McManus hit a 50-yard field goal off the left upright that bounced in. Pat McAfee and Steve Weatherford both had 6 punts. McAfee had a 43 yard punt average and Weatherford had a 43.8 yard average. The Giants win this category only because it was special teams that kept them in the game. Josh Brown was the MVP in the game for the Giants.
So, overall this was a good win for the Colts. I was hoping the backups put up some more points but it is what it is. If the Colts improve on running game, both offensively and defensively, this will be a very good team. Once Bradshaw is inserted into the starting role, the running game should improve. If they establish the run and perform better on defense. It will be up to Andrew Luck on how far these Colts go. I am very excited for the regular season to come. It will be fun watching Andrew Luck show analysts he is almost as good as any other quarterback in this league.