It hasn't been a great past 24 hours if you're a Colts fan. The team was embarrassed on Sunday Night Football in a 45-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and head coach Chuck Pagano summed it up nicely: "They kicked our ass. Period."
There's not much more to say about the game than that, so let's jump right in to the snap counts and see what we can learn from those:
For the first time this season in one of his starts, Matt Hasselbeck didn't finish the game, playing just 76% of the snaps. He took several big hits and suffered a neck/shoulder injury, and with the Colts trailing big in the fourth quarter the Colts decided to pull him and put Charlie Whitehurst in to finish the game. Hasselbeck's status for next Sunday's game is currently uncertain, and while it's still most likely that he will play, if he can't it would be Whitehurst getting the start.
T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief both saw a lot of playing time, but they didn't really have a huge impact on the offense. The two combined to catch four passes on six targets for 69 yards, and Moncrief saw just one target all game - a catch made in the fourth quarter. The Colts' offense wasn't effective on Sunday night, and if you can't get the ball to two of your biggest playmakers, that's probably a contributing factor as to why.
Frank Gore had a solid day on Sunday, rushing for 45 yards on 13 carries (3.5 yards per carry) and catching 3 passes for 49 yards, totaling 94 yards of offense. Considering the fact that Colts only managed 240 total yards, Gore accounted for nearly 40% of the offense on Sunday night despite touching the football just 16 times.
Playing without Ahmad Bradshaw, head coach Chuck Pagano said that both Boom Herron and Zurlon Tipton would get opportunities to replace him, but it was fully expected that Herron would step in to the role that Bradshaw had occupied. Instead, however, he split the reps with Tipton, as Herron played 13 snaps and Tipton played 11. I would guess that Herron will continue to see more snaps, but on Sunday he and Tipton basically split the number two role.
David Parry saw one snap on offense as a fullback, something that we have seen before but very rarely.
Last year against the Steelers, cornerback Vontae Davis went out in the first quarter of the game and didn't return, but this time around he played every single defensive snap. It obviously didn't help too much.
After missing two weeks, Mike Adams returned on Sunday night and played every snap.
Robert Mathis and Trent Cole both played quite a bit of snaps but didn't have much of an impact on the game. They played 89 combined snaps and, according to Pro Football Focus, rushed the quarterback 49 times combined. They managed zero sacks, zero quarterback hits, and zero pressures. That's not good, and that led to massive woes in trying to get to the quarterback.
With inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman out of the lineup with a hamstring injury, Nate Irving got the start and played 40 snaps. Sio Moore also saw a decent amount of work (playing 18 snaps), and it may indicate that he'd be the next man up at the position behind Freeman and Irving. We will find out soon enough, as Irving suffered a wrist injury during the game that will cause him to miss some time, as he's listed as week to week. It will be interesting to see whether Moore replaces Irving, and if the snap counts from Sunday are any indication, that might indeed be the case. Josh McNary played just 2 defensive snaps.
Clayton Geathers started the past two games at safety but wasn't in the starting lineup on Sunday due to the return of Mike Adams. He still saw 16 snaps, however, serving as an extra defensive back when the Colts needed it. It is also interesting that the Colts' fourth cornerback, D'Joun Smith, didn't play a single defensive snap, indicating that the Colts used Geathers in a similar role instead.
Josh McNary, though playing only two defensive snaps, played the most special teams snaps of any Colts player (26). Clayton Geathers and Daniel Adongo followed closely behind by playing 25 snaps.