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Found 4 results

  1. Could just call this "The Grade" Week 1 grades Defense, C: 62 plays, 344 yards, 20 first downs (13 passing, 3 rushing, 4 from penalty), 4/12 on third down, 2/3 in the red zone, 1 turnover, 20 points; held us in the game until the last ten minutes Defensive front: Not a lot of pass rush again, but the Jets went quick rhythm passing most of the game to keep Fitzpatrick clean. That was helped by our lack of coverage, but I'll get to that in a minute. Fitz's average time to attempt was 2.14 seconds, so there weren't a lot of opportunities, but even when there were, we didn't quite get to him. Anderson was awarded a sack on a scramble play where he shoestringed the QB. There were a couple other hits and a few pressures, but not much. The run defense on the other hand was outstanding, aside from two carries late in the game. Kind of disheartening that we couldn't stay tough when there was actually a shot of snatching the momentum, but the defense had been asked to hold tough for a long time to that point. Short yardage was locked down most of the game. Anderson is really good, and Parry played really well also. Langford and Winn both looked good. The run support from ILBs and safeties was good, and Freeman and Jackson bounced back from ugly games in the opener. B-, give me some pass rush, and we'll be in business Pass defense: Tough night, as we were missing our projected #2-4 corners, and then #1 got hurt. Even before Vontae went out, though, he was having a little bit of a rough game. Two penalties (legit calls, IMO, but I've seen a lot worse not called), and then he got picked for the TD to Decker (first TD allowed in 27 games, and it came on a play he couldn't have prevented unless he were superhuman). Still good plays from him, including the tip on the INT, and then the quality of coverage went waaay down once he left. Had to play a lot more zone than we usually do, and it left some guys open right away and up the seams. When the QB can find a guy right away, he doesn't have to hold the ball, and it undermines any of our pass rush opportunities. But our hands were tied. Manusky went back to more man later in the game, and that didn't work either, so I don't know what else we could have asked for, given the personnel. Some unfortunate cross-matches, with Jackson getting beat by Decker in the slot. Other than that, the ILBs and safeties were decent. I think Geathers is getting better every game. Give us back our corners and maybe this is a different outcome, but they went pretty conservative in the second half, kind of sensing that our offense was going to be awful all night. Their passing game was just efficient enough and made just enough plays to put the game away at the end. C, very average, but with scout team personnel Offense, D+: 61 plays, 343 yards, 17 first downs (11 passing, 4 rushing, 2 from penalty), 6/14 on third down, 0/2 in the red zone, 5 turnovers, 7 points; it's really hard to believe how inept the passing game was, and how stubborn we were to not rely more on the ground game QB: Never got in any kind of rhythm, again missed big opportunities (missed Allen on a deep cross that would probably have gone for 6, missed AJ for a first down, etc., etc., etc.), seemed flustered with and without pressure, throws were high, throws were behind, throws were late, some were inexplicably floated, etc. Faced more pressure this week than last, easily, but again, the blitz beaters rely on him making the plays that are there to be made, and he just didn't. Got on a little bit of a roll on two possessions, and one ended with a missed FG after a weird set of downs (more in coaching), and the other ended in the only score of the night. The rest of the game, he was dreadful. Probably the worst game I've seen from him, ever. There have been games with big mistakes, but there was still a lot of playmaking and production. There have been games with minimal production, but not a lot of mind blowing mistakes. It was the worst of both worlds on Monday. Somebody call a doctor. D-, we'll probably never see a game like this from him again, at least I hope Backs / receivers / tight ends, C+: Running game: The backs were good on the ground. Again, not enough opportunities, and we didn't use them situationally when we should have. Varga didn't even get a carry. Big carries got called back for holding penalties (ticky tack, IMO). Gore got whacked a couple times, and the goal line series wasn't great, but he bent the corner on third down... and then the fumble happened. Unreal how everything that could go wrong did go wrong in this game. Just give them more opportunities, especially when it's rolling. Some missed protections and the fumble (and Robinson's near fumble) are the only negatives here, IMO. B, the numbers don't show it due to a handful of stops, but the rushing attack was good Passing game: The receivers played reasonably well. There was some tough coverage out there, and the QB didn't have a lot of time to work through progressions, but several times guys got open and had chances at big plays. Moncrief was almost unstoppable. AJ didn't look great, but he did shake free a few times, and wasn't found, or the ball was behind him. Some missed connections to Hilton and Dorsett, but they both found some room to operate. I felt like there were a few poorly run routes, which resulted in too many receivers in one area and maybe some mixed signals between them and Luck on some checks and reads. Revis alternated between all the receivers all game long, and had a lot of success, but also got beat some. AJ and Moncrief both blocked well in the few screen situations they had. Nothing to the TEs, which is a traves-sham-ockery. C+, one day, this diverse and explosive group is going to go off, I can see it on the way OL / blocking: Too many penalties, again. Some of them were cheap, I thought, but that has to be cleaned up. So do the protections. I don't know what Lance Louis and Todd Herremans are doing half the time. Some of this is bad blocking schemes, like the overly complicated protection on the very first offensive play of the game, where Louis couldn't get all the way over to the right edge from LG. But lots of it was just getting beat and missing assignments, and they're leaving their QB (and their center) out to dry far too often. The tackles didn't have a good game either, and we opted to keep TEs more often than we should have to (not as often as you might think when you see that neither had a target all game long). But in the run game, it's a different story. Herremans was off and on, but I think everyone else did a good job consistently of sealing lanes and even moving their man off the line. Doyle wasn't good run blocking, and that's an issue because that's the reason he's on the roster. D+, the protection was really bad, despite the adequate run blocking Special teams: AV better get it together. Last missed kick from that close was the 6 INT game in the rain in San Diego in 2007. Can't miss easy kicks, sir. Pat's punting was good. Nothing in the return games, and coverage was good. Only blemish was the missed kick. B Coaching / playcalling / game management, D: Last week I reserved some of my offensive gameplan ire, since the narrative was that Luck was making a lot of calls at the line. Well forget that, because it's obvious this week that the calls being made were coming from the sideline. For instance, the 3rd and 2 that I keep bringing up, we ran that play after a timeout, and came out in the same personnel and formation as before the timeout. The only adjustments were protection. This isn't all on Luck. The route combinations make no sense at times. The timing is off. We have multiple receivers in the same spot on the field. The stubborn refusal to stick to the run is maddening. The lack of screen plays (where's the middle screen to Gore?) is nonsensical. Pep has used all goodwill. What we're doing on offense makes no sense, and it's his job to direct the offense. That includes taking pressure off of the OL, giving the QB high percentage throws (especially when he's struggling), relying on the productive ground game, sticking to what's working and scrapping what's not working, etc. F- Manusky held this thing together with masking tape and kite string, and it was good enough. No help from the offense or special teams. Some think the defense kind of maxed out, since this wasn't a great offensive opponent, but we had no corners. The guys up front are being dispatched very well, IMO. Some of his best work, if you ask me. B+ I don't put the offensive stuff on Pagano this week. That's why you have an offensive coordinator, a QB coach, and an offensive minded Associate Head Coach. But if this lingers, it undermines his standing as the CEO of this team. Some complained about letting the clock run out at the end of the first half, but I get it; I didn't want to see our offense go out there and trip all over themselves again either. Couldn't get to the locker room fast enough in that situation. I don't usually grade post game pressers, but I liked his testiness, and I agree 100% with what he said. Most of the errors in this game were by our best players on game changing plays (picks, fumbles, penalties negating big gains, missed kicks, defensive fouls in the end zone). Coaching has to clean those things up, but that's more execution than coaching. End result is on him, though, even if not strictly related to game management. D+ No game ball again, but Honorable Mention to Donte Moncrief for 1) making the only scoring play of the night, and 2) shaking Revis along the way. Someone got better after the AFCCG lockup. Next up, let's hope a divisional matchup helps us get out of this rut. Haven't lost a division game since Week 15, 2012. No reason that can't continue. GO COLTS!!!
  2. Two really good halves, back to back. Too bad they were in two different games, but combining the end of the Denver game and the beginning of the Eagles game, we'd have a 34-13 advantage. Need a solid full game effort one of these days... Week 1 grades Colts vs Eagles box score Offense, B-: 72 plays, 341 yards, 25 first downs (14 passing, 7 rushing, 4 from penalty), 4/12 on third down, 1/1 on fourth down, 3/4 in the red zone, 2 turnovers, 27 points; finished in the red zone, but the TOs hurt QB: Kind of picking up the same theme as last week. Luck is going to have to snap out of it and make plays. His timing isn't good, his throws are sometimes off target, and he invites pressure rather than taking off with the ball. He could have ran the ball in on the first TD drive rather than dumping it to Bradshaw. There were other opportunities for him to run. He hasn't thrown the ball downfield to stress the secondary. I'm not too irritated with him for the pick, but it did take the go-ahead points off the board. C, I'd like quicker decisions and more playmaking Backs / receivers / tight ends, B-: Running game: If not for the fumbles, this would have rivaled the Niners game from last year. For pretty much all game, the run game was successful, and there were several big rips, back to back run gains, etc. Best game from our backs in a while, and if we can get this kind of 1-2 punch with any regularity, it will make a huge difference. But the fumbles... c'mon, Trent. B+, my only complaint is the two fumbles, which isn't characteristic of Richardson Passing game: Another one where I think the QB has to do a better job of taking quick, easy completions, and then letting the ball get downfield and giving his guys a chance at a play. We threw into a lot of tight or even double coverage, so maybe the separation wasn't there regularly, but there were several times where Luck missed the open man or a better opportunity. The screens don't work, for whatever reason. The backs also did a good job as receivers, and probably should have gotten a few more targets. The TE attack was strange, with Doyle getting as many targets as Fleener and Allen combined, but he snuck in for a TD. Reggie had a really nice route and grab, but still doesn't look like he can just get open and make a catch whenever he wants. C+, not a lot of good opportunities, given the flow of the game OL / blocking: Every play wasn't perfect, but this line did what we have been asking them to do. Made running lanes all game long, wherever you wanted them to be, got into the second level and created opportunities for extended pick-ups, finished blocks, etc., and did so with zero penalties. They also didn't blow too many protections. The Eagles' blitzes were effective, but only 4 pressures, and I think those middle blitzes need to be read beforehand by the center and QB, and be picked up by backs or rolled away from. The Eagles don't exactly have a fearsome front, but they have some guys who can make plays in Cole and Barwin, and they were mostly kept away from the QB and the ball in general. WE CAN BUILD ON THIS! B, some letdowns here and there with missed blocks, but overall, we beat their defensive front Defense, C: 65 plays, 458 yards, 24 first downs (13 passing, 9 rushing, 2 from penalty), 5/12 on third down, 3/6 in the red zone, 1 turnovers, 30 points; 7 yards/play won't cut it, too many big plays, need to create more TOs Defensive front: Another reasonably good job against the run, aside from a couple of carries. We have to erase that, because it's just enough to hurt us. Tackled much better, aside from a couple of carries. Take out McCoy's long of 21 yards, and Sproles' long of 19 yards, and those two guys averaged less than 3 yards/carry. McCoy had another for 16 yards. So we need to be more consistent. We got beat on read option a couple of times, but Foles isn't fast enough to really hurt us, and Freeman is our scrape/exchange guy and he didn't play. The pass rush was painfully inadequate, and it was obvious from the second play. They also like to get rid of the ball quick, but Foles had a handful of dropbacks where he could have played a game of UNO before we got pressure. 11 pressures in 37 dropbacks isn't bad, but it's not enough, and those pressures were mostly late pressures. C+, someone has got to step up and get some pressure, and we can't let out 40 yards on two carries Pass defense: Often done in by the pass rush, and more ticky-tack penalties, we gave up some plays. The receivers didn't do the damage, though; they combined for 6 catches for 70 yards. Ertz had a couple plays that really stung, but it was really Sproles, and we all know that feel... Two 50+ yard plays off of short passes for that man. He carried their offense. Without those two plays, we win. McNary got roasted on those, and it really drags this grade down. That halfback angle route that puts a quick RB against our ILBs is a killer. I think the coverage was generally much better than last week, although there were some other letdowns. At least, on most completions, we had a man there to bring the receiver down right away, and even got some PDs. C, five plays of 20+ yards, two of 50+, explains Foles' 8.5 adjusted yards/attempt Special teams: Good special teams play, good coverage, a couple of decent returns,, 2/2 on FGs, punted well (maybe a little too well, but didn't give up more than 8 yards on a return), and a rookie penalty that I must not understand, as I didn't think that was a blindside hit. B+, reserving a higher grade for a special performance from someone Coaching / playcalling / game management, C: Defensively, we need to coach that read option better. I guess we're not facing RGIII this year, but anyone who runs more than a 5 second 40 could have taken off for a lot more yardage than Foles was getting. And the mismatch issue changed from a TE to a RB, but I think covering Sproles is a lot different schematically than covering anyone else in the league, basically. I'm good with the defensive gameplan, but more effective blitzing is in order at times, and Manusky isn't quite getting them there. C+, matchups and blitzes, matchups and blitzes I'm fine with the overall offensive gameplan, the run/pass ratio, all that. I don't like a handful of calls, and I'm still looking for more play action. Especially when the run game is working. And make Luck comfortable with running the ball, call some rollouts, there are even some read option opportunities for us. Also, our bubble screens suck, and it's because our WRs aren't blocking well, and we're not cutting the edge defender on the play side, so he's getting a hand on the ball. Need to fix that. And figuring out how to handle 2nd and 4 or 3rd and 9 is critical, moving forward. I've defended Pep against some of the criticisms this week, but there's no question he missed some calls. It's too bad those few calls are standing out among what I thought was a well-called game. C+, can't go higher than this until he rediscovers play action Got the 4th down right, and I thought the rest of the game management was fine. Play calling and execution on the last drive was lacking, but that's on Pep and Luck. B Game balls: No game balls. Get a win, then we can talk. Next, @ Jacksonville. Perfect opportunity to right the ship, but keep in mind these guys sacked Foles five times in the first half in Week 1. GO COLTS!!!
  3. I'm going to put up grades later on tonight, hopefully. Just wanted to see some feedback from others in the meantime. Let me know what you think. Box score Week 2 grades Offense, B-: 72 plays, 448 yards, 23 first downs (zero from penalty), 7/15 on third down, 0/1 on fourth down, 2/4 in the red zone, 1 turnover, 20 points + a missed field goal (17 in the first half, 3 in the second half) (If that grade seems too high, it's because it is. The offense wasn't efficient enough scoring points, but I think a lot of that had to do with coaching. So if the coaching grade seems too low, just borrow half a grade from here.) QB: My lingering impression is that Luck missed a lot of throws in this one. In truth, it wasn't that many, but it feels like he's over throwing or under throwing a lot of crossing routes, and if he'd hit more guys in stride, they'd have a chance to run after the catch. One that stands out was a diving grab across the middle by Hilton, but if the ball had been delivered better, it probably would have been a huge play because no defenders were near the ball. Some of these misses hurt otherwise productive drives. So, the passing accuracy has to improve, especially when receivers have a chance for YAC. And there were a couple of dropped interceptions, not so much because of poor accuracy, but because of poor or delayed decision making. Tough as nails, though, got hit several times, took some abuse along the sideline and with what I thought was a late hit after a pass, and even shrugged off a couple of 280 pound linemen (which is becoming normal for him). He's a playmaker, and he threw a handful of absolutely beautiful passes, including the touchdown to Fleener. Also got some help from receivers, like Hilton's long grab. I would like to see him continue to use his legs; for instance, the 3rd and 1 on the first drive, he should have run with it. I'm not worried about the pick. It wasn't a perfect throw, but Grimes made a great play on the ball, and he probably felt like he was owed one after how he'd been all around the ball all game. I just want Luck to speed it up a bit, and I think the offense will start to click better. C Backs / receivers / tight ends: Backs ran well all game. I liked Bradshaw's explosiveness, and his move in the open field was excellent. We ran him up the middle a few times too many, but other than those short gains where he had nowhere to go, he was finding holes and gaining yards. And he did well catching the ball. Brown had decent carries, too. I liked getting Havili the ball, and Jones was okay as well. Too bad he didn't hang on to the big one, but that would have been only the third catch of his career. Just hang in there. Fleener was excellent in all phases, and got robbed on the penalty. Reggie and Hilton started out great, pacing the offense and making great grabs. Then they disappeared. I wonder if Reggie got hurt on the one hit; he came back and had a big third down grab in the second half though. Whalen looked fast on the 22 yarder, but GET OUT OF BOUNDS, MAN! DHB missed a couple of opportunities, and was out of the game in the second half because of his injury. No complaints about these guys from me. I think the offense stalling in the second half has more to do with officiating and play calling. B+ OL / blocking: Better than last week. Unfortunate that we lost Thomas, but Thornton played well in his place, for a rookie. McGlynn was decent for the most part, and the right side of the line was the most productive in the run game. I thought the protection was decent all game: not great, but decent, with a couple of glaring exceptions. Some unblocked rushers, a couple by design (Luck saw it and threw hot), a couple that caught us off guard (Wheeler on the second to last play, came through the middle entirely unaccounted for and affected the throw).The run game was solid -- 95 yards on 22 carries, and a touchdown, one negative carry (minus one yard), and one carry for no gain. That's noteworthy progress. Pass protection can stand to improve, as Luck continues to get pressured, but shutting out Cameron Wake is a feat worthy of recognition. B- (I'll talk about Donald Brown's missed protection here. Before that, though, I'll say that I'm inclined to put together a video montage of all the blitz pickups and pass blocks that Brown made in this game, because there were about six that I counted. Yeah, that's right, Donald Brown was excellent in pass protection, up to the last play when he whiffed on Wheeler. There's no excuse for that; we need that pickup every time, but especially with the game hanging in the balance.) Defense, C: 66 plays, 398 yards, 21 first downs (zero from penalty), 6/14 on third down, 0/1 on fourth down, 3/3 in the red zone, 1 turnover, 24 points Defensive front: Played a pretty good game, I thought. Especially after rewatching. Decent run defense, not great and outstanding, but also didn't give up too many plays. A couple popped out of there, including the big one at the end to close the game out, but that was really the only time we let anything happen up the middle. The Miller touchdown run was just a well designed play that we didn't execute good enough on. Walden didn't get enough push in the backfield, Davis didn't see what was happening, and Landry was coming up the middle. It happens. Overall, I thought we did a decent job against the run. Most of the runs to the outside were at Mathis/Werner, away from Walden, just like the Raiders. The pass rush was more inconsistent, as there were stretches were we just couldn't get home, but other times where the pressure seemed to be relentless. A lot of blitzes got stonewalled, but others were very effective. Mathis was good rushing, as was Werner. The linemen were strong against the run, and I liked how they got their hands up to deflect passes, but there wasn't a lot of penetration on passing downs. And that's key to our pass rush, I think. The corners and safeties were active and around the ball, but also missed some tackles. Tighten up some run fits, and we might have gotten the ball back again at the end. C+ Pass defense: We have playmakers, but that's risky. Toler and Bethea both gambled and got burned in this game. Landry is a heat seeking missile, and I love it. Davis was up and down; we need more consistency out of him. Butler seems to have a lock on the nickel spot, which is good, but he slipped on a couple of plays and gave up catches. Freeman and Angerer played fast and look like a good tandem, but they also both got beat on pass plays, including the big one to Clay (Bethea almost had the pick, but Angerer was lost off the line; good thing Landry bailed them both out). Poor tackling also. C- Special Teams, B-: Too bad about the missed kick; it might have changed the complexion of the game. But I was impressed by how high it hit off the upright. Vinatieri still has plenty of leg, and missing a 52 yarder is forgivable. We have him because he'll make that when we're down 24-23 in the 4th quarter. McAfee's punting was considerably better this week. Lefeged got robbed on the pin. Nothing in the return game, but not really anyone's fault. Not sharp in kickoff coverage, but no disasters. Coaching / playcalling, C-: I don't know why we keep losing the magic. First drive started out well, Luck made a couple of mistakes, drive stalled, we missed the field goal. Still a productive drive, and we had the ball moving. A bit of a drought, then it got going at the end of the second quarter, as Hilton started making plays and Bradshaw started getting loose. Then we almost get shut out in the second half. Now, part of this is due to the penalty that took away a touchdown, and really we were pretty resilient on that drive (and I think the penalty was cheap; Reggie was sent for 4/5ths of a second before he went in motion, and it had nothing to do with the outcome of the play). But situationally, we simply have to call better plays, and we have to execute better. Too many misses on 2nd and long and 3rd down. I didn't like all the unbalanced line stuff, and it wasn't very productive. In short yardage, fine, but on 2nd and 1? Dial something up and try to get a big play. It was again very predictable. And the final drive was a mess once we got in plus territory. The third and fourth down calls weren't well executed, and seemed ill-conceived. I defend Donald Brown, but Bradshaw should have been on the field. Pep should give Luck more freedom at the line at this point. C- Manusky didn't call a very good game. When the defensive coordinator gets burned, it's usually noticeable, and that was the case here on a couple of big third downs. The middle blitzes looked nice when they got there, but didn't get there at a high enough percentage. They say pressure is cumulative, which is why sometimes you'll get a flurry of sacks in the second half, but it sucks when your blitzes are getting picked up and your coverage suffers because of it. Again, situational mistakes hurt the most. The Dolphins chewed up yardage at the end of the first half to hit a tying field goal. Lots of improvement to be made here. C- The game management was pretty good. Winning a challenge is always a positive. But blowing a timeout at the beginning of the third quarter on 2nd and 10 is a no-no. Even with 12 men on the field, just take the penalty. But the bigger problem is that we weren't prepared for such a routine play. The adjustments on defense yielded results; just 7 points in the second half, but couldn't do the same on offense. C Bonus grade -- Refs, F: Don't take points off the board for a ticky-tack procedural penalty! And call a roughing or a late hit every once in a while. Donald Brown got driven ten yards out of bounds, and Luck took two blatantly late hits. Game ball, offense: Coby Fleener, TY Hilton. THE playmakers on offense in this game. Combined for 60% of our passing yardage. Good job, young men. With Allen out, we need this production to continue. Game ball, defense: LaRon Landry. Second week in a row, but this one was closer than last week. End of the day, though, he was again a defensive stopper, he's intimidating, and he never gives up. (I'm trying to avoid honorable mentions here, but I'm going to give one to Pat Angerer. One mistake in coverage, but he was all around the ball all game, and seemed to be hitting with a little more pop than he used to. Good to see him back.) Next up, @ Niners. Got to play better defensively, and got to score more efficiently. I believe!
  4. Offense, C -- 63 plays, 278 yards, zero turnovers, 17 first downs (10 passing, 5 rushing, 2 penalties), 7/16 on 3rd down, 23 points QB -- Not perfect. Far from perfect, as a matter of fact, but really good. Nice home debut for the rookie, and a nice bounce back from a tough game last week. Handled the tempo well, kept himself in position to make plays, was accurate all over the field, and made some top notch throws. Used his legs really well also. A couple of silly mistakes, like trying to scramble out of a pressure and losing 22 yards in a sack. That play really hurt field position and helped the Vikings score the second touchdown. Looked like he missed a couple of receivers on key downs as well. All is forgiven for showing the poise he did on the final drive, though, and getting his first 4th quarter win in the NFL. Luck has been very efficient and effective on drives to end the half and the game, dating back to preseason. Continued that here, and having the most clutch kicker in the NFL helps. Still plenty of improvement to be made, but this was an impressive performance. B Receivers and backs -- Welcome to the Colts, Mr. Avery. Reggie was again solid. Dwayne Allen looked nice on the touchdown. That's about it though. And the backs did next to nothing for most of the game. Not entirely their fault, but I don't know what else to say. Averaging 2.4 ypc is insane. And, for whatever reason, we didn't make very much effort to include the backs in the passing game either. That's okay, we were effective without them, but really we shut our offense down in the second half, and the running game did nothing to make that decision work out positively (more on that in coaching). Not too much to say here, other than our passing game is a mile ahead of our run game. C+ Blocking -- Still a ton of work to do, but I'm not going to be too hard on them. We were banged up coming into this one, and right away lost our center. Plus two other linemen. Pass protection was better, but the run blocking just continued to not be there. McGlynn with a few bad snaps when he moved over to center, but he blocked better there than at guard, I thought. We wound up trying to put the game away with our run game, and failed miserably. I hope that, either the line gets better as the season goes on, or we learn different ways to move the chains and convert on 3rd and short. So, slightly better performance, but still not thrilled. D Defense, B -- 65 plays, 327 yards, one turnover, 19 first downs (14 passing, 4 rushing, 1 penalty), 7/15 on 3rd down, 20 points Defensive front -- Tremendous job. This is what Building the Monster should look like. I think there were 9 plays for a loss or no gain, including sacks. Handled our assignments, stayed around the ball, tackled reasonably well, and looked like a defense that could be dominant. Jerrell Freeman was incredible. Cory Redding was fantastic. Mathis and Hughes both made plays on the quarterback and for loss. I'm very impressed with the fact that their traditional run game didn't rip off anything more than an 8 yarder all game long, and we had a chance to get that one for less. Big short yardage stop on Peterson, right before the fluke touchdown on 4th down. We were also around the ball on short completions, for the most part. Very, very solid effort. Still room to improve in the little things, but this is a huge positive against a team that can run the ball very effectively. B+ Pass defense -- If you want to stop the big play, this is how you do it. According to my numbers, before the final two drives, Ponder was 16/20 with 156 yards and 4 sacks. Adjusted for sacks, that's 6.0 yards per pass play. Best of all, they had six points to show for it. Too many completions, especially with the flurry at the end, and that's something that hopefully we'll get tightened up. But in terms of limiting the other team's passing offense, we did an outstanding job for 3+ quarters. Against a better quarterback with better pass protection, we might have been burnt, but our corners did a good job for the most part. They shifted Harvin to get him favorable matchups, and found one in Justin King. But Powers and Davis weren't giving up anything. Bethea played well all over the field. Our other safety didn't do much, but also didn't give up much. I think there was a missed tackle by Zbikowski, and that's no good, but not the end of the world. We can get better here as well; I'd like to see us challenge receivers a little more on the inside. And I'd like to see an adjustment that keeps the other team from scoring two touchdowns in four minutes, especially when the quarterback is Christian Ponder. Three weeks from now, we get a really big test. As of right now, we're not up for it, but I feel better than I did last week after getting torched by Cutler for 300 yards. B Special teams, C+ We made some mistakes in coverage, and our return game still hasn't made a play. Matter of fact, Hilton didn't look very confident as the return man. He didn't do very much of it during preseason, so the speed adjustment likely still hasn't been made. Don't turn the ball over, fella. No love from us if you do. The punting was kind of inconsistent; McAfee got some pressure, including getting ran into. Lefeged has been really good on coverage this season. But the real saving grace for special teams was AV, and really, he deserves his own A+ for the game-winner. It's crazy that he can miss a virtual gimme at the end of the half last week, then come out and boot a 53 yarder with the game on the line. (And in the perfect irony, Gostkowski misses the 40+ yarder in New England for the game. Suckers.) But this is why I favored keeping AV, despite his price tag -- he's worth all $3.2 million, in case you were wondering. When we have games that we're a kick away from winning, we can put him in and get the win. Coaching, C I don't like overly conservative coaching. I think it cost us the Super Bowl against the Saints. It reared its head in the second half in this one, and I had flashbacks. There's a balance we have to strike between the run and the pass, even with the lead in the second half. The first drive of the 3rd quarter produced points, but we got helped by two penalties from the Vikes. It's tough to ask a quarterback to only throw the ball when you're in 2nd and long, 3rd and long, especially a rookie, and especially when your run game is struggling. The balance just isn't there yet. Arians allows the game situation to dictate his playcalling, and it leads to predictable outcomes. Loosen the reins, give Luck some more freedom situationally, and see if your offense that the front office invested so much in this offseason can make something happen for you. Just a couple more first downs in the second half, and the final drive doesn't need to happen. Defensively, we did a good job most of the game, but some adjustments were in order on the last two drives, and they either didn't come or didn't work. This stuff gets magnified when the game goes the way it went, but it would be even worse had we lost. I hope Pagano gets his situational decisions tightened up, because there's no reason not to know whether the clock is running, and there's no reason to accept a five yard penalty when you've just gained 7 yards and are going to kick a field goal. Unless you just want to get your money's worth out of your kicker. Tighten it up, fellas. We're watching. The divisional nemesis is up next. No question that the Jags are the worst team in the division right now, but they always play us close, no matter the time of year or the venue. MJD has our number, and the Jags are desperate at 0-2. http://scores.espn.g...ameId=320916011 Go Colts!
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