The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Atlanta Falcons 24-21 on Sunday in come-from-behind fashion, wiping out a double-digit deficit by scoring the final 17 points of the game, including a fourth quarter pick-six by linebacker D'Qwell Jackson and a 43-yard game-winning field goal by the legendary Adam Vinatieri with less than a minute to go.
To use head coach Chuck Pagano's favorite word, it was a gritty performance by a team that fell behind on the road early with its backup quarterback, but they fought back and evened up their record at 5-5 on the year. That's worthy of some credit.
An interesting part of understanding what happened during the game lies with understanding who played and how often each player was on the field, which is what we'll do right now in taking a look at the snap counts from the game:
Wide receiver Donte Moncrief continues to see his snap count increase. He led all skill position players for the Colts with 54 snaps, with only the offensive linemen and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck playing more. It was the second-straight game in which Moncrief led all wide receivers in snaps for the Colts and the third game in a row in which he played more snaps than Andre Johnson (who entered the season as the Colts' number two wideout. He has been out-producing Johnson all season, and the snap counts are now starting to reflect that. Moncrief is the second-most dangerous receiving weapon that the Colts have this year, and he's seeing more snaps as a result of that.
Anthony Castonzo played 61 of the team's 64 snaps (95%) as he suffered a knee sprain. It is the first time this season that Castonzo didn't play 100% of the snaps in a game for any reason, as he hadn't missed a single offensive snap up to this point in the year. He's incredibly durable, as he has played in 66 games in a row (the sixth-longest streak among tackles in the NFL) and last year led all offensive linemen in snaps. We should know more on Castonzo's status later today.
Khaled Holmes didn't play a single snap in this game on offense or special teams, putting him alongside backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst among the active players who didn't get in the game for Indy on Sunday. It's no surprise that Holmes didn't see any playing time with the offense (as he's not their starting center anymore), but he didn't even get in on special teams.
With Frank Gore dealing with a quad contusion (as reported by CBS during the game), it was clear that it was bothering him a bit during the game. As a result, Ahmad Bradshaw and Gore both played 32 snaps, with Bradshaw taking on a larger role and doing rather well, catching two touchdown passes.
Making his first career NFL start, safety Clayton Geathers played 63 snaps (84%) in place of Mike Adams. Dwight Lowery played every defensive snap at the other safety spot, while Colt Anderson saw just two snaps on defense. It was Geathers' job on Sunday and there wasn't much rotation. The Colts wanted to see what the promising rookie could do when given the opportunity to start, and he didn't disappoint. Mike Adams' starting spot isn't in jeopardy by any means, but we could see Geathers see some more opportunities in the coming weeks.
Another Colts' draft pick, cornerback D'Joun Smith, made his NFL debut on Sunday and played 16 defensive snaps (21%). That seems like a fair number for a guy who spent the first half of his rookie season working back from an injury, and he was forced to step in when Vontae Davis went down with a hamstring injury.
Playing their first game without Henry Anderson this year, the Colts did about what was expected in trying to replace him. Billy Winn made the start (as expected and deserved) and played the most snaps (30), while Zach Kerr (25) and T.Y. McGill (22) also saw significant work as well. It was thought that the Colts would use more of a rotation without Anderson, and that's exactly what it appears they did. Billy Winn was the leading member of that rotation, but all three players saw a good amount of snaps.
This was easily the most unproductive day of the season for Robert Mathis, as even though he saw 46 snaps he didn't show up on the stat sheet at all: zero tackles, zero quarterback hits, zero sacks.
Daniel Adongo made his season debut this year after being promoted from the practice squad during the Colts' bye week, and head coach Chuck Pagano made it clear that the reason for the move was motivated by special teams. In other words, the Colts really wanted to see Adongo on special teams and see how he could help out in that area. They surely got a good look at that on Sunday, as Adongo played 23 special teams snaps, tied for the most on the team with Josh McNary and Colt Anderson.
Donte Moncrief played just one special teams snap, but it was a huge one. Early in the fourth quarter, punter Pat McAfee made a nice punt that Moncrief then pinned at the one yard line. That set up D'Qwell Jackson's game-tying pick-six on the very next play, but it's likely that play never would have happened if it weren't for a great special teams play by McAfee and Moncrief.