Jonathan Newsome Continues to Impress
One of the biggest takeaways from the win over the Titans was the play of rookie outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome, who recorded six tackles, two sacks, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, and a forced fumble. He was a force to be reckoned with on Sunday and was causing havoc all over with the Titans line. With the two sacks, Newsome reached 6.5 on the season, finishing as the team's sack leader on the season. The fifth round pick out of Ball State drew a lot of comparisons to Robert Mathis after he was drafted and he looked like it at times on Sunday, finishing his rookie regular season with an emphatic exclamation mark. He has already equaled the sack total in fifteen games as Bjoern Werner (last year's first round pick) has in 28 games played (6.5 sacks). Newsome finished as the team leader in sacks and it would be a good idea to get him some more time in the playoffs. It will be very interesting to watch him continue to develop as an NFL pass rusher.
Adam Vinatieri is Human After All
In what was an incredible season from kicker Adam Vinatieri, Indy's field goal kicker nearly finished with a perfect season. In the third quarter, Vinatieri missed his first and only field goal of the entire season, a 46-yard try in the outdoor, less-than-ideal conditions. The miss was his first of the year and snapped a streak of 35-straight made field goals, the fourth-longest streak in NFL history. He went 2-for-3 today and finished the season having made 30-of-31 field goal attempts. The field goal percentage of 96.8% is the highest of a single season for the nineteen-year veteran kicker. It was arguably the best regular season that the future Hall of Famer has had, and for it he was named to his third Pro Bowl. Only two kickers in NFL history have finished a season perfect with at least 20 attempts, and Vinatieri was less than a half of a game away from becoming the third. But a missed 46-yard field goal (that didn't miss by much, either) reminded us that Adam Vinatieri is indeed human - but still incredibly good.
Colts Offense Gets Back in Sync a Bit
In the past several weeks, the Indianapolis Colts offense has struggled mightily. Though it was only against the Titans, they appeared to get back in sync a bit on Sunday afternoon. Andrew Luck completed 10-of-16 passes for 160 yards and two scores without a pick, setting the franchise record for most passing yards in a single season and becoming just the eighth player in league history to throw for 40 touchdowns in a season. The Colts compiled 378 yards and 27 points despite Andrew Luck playing just one half of football (and Matt Hasselbeck getting the other half). Perhaps most importantly, the Colts didn't turn the football over, which was obviously a major point of focus that we had seen from their struggles. Reggie Wayne made some nice plays, including a great 80-yard catch and run, and Coby Fleener continued to impress by catching five passes for 56 yards and two scores. And keep in mind that they still have T.Y. Hilton, who they took it easy with today in order to try to keep healthy. Though it was just against the Titans, it was an encouraging sign from a Colts' offense that had been struggling mightily in recent weeks. Hopefully that carries over into the playoffs.