First and foremost, it's great to be back after a long summer's nap. Second, I've made it a goal of mine to be a bit more positive this year with my column. Alright, enough with the pleasantries, let's get to what about six or seven of you have been waiting on.
Overall, the Offense really wasn't as bad as it seemed. However, they kept derailing themselves with penalties. Like, every time they got any momentum going, an offensive lineman got called for offsides or holding. In one of the first drives of the game, the Bills defense was on their heels but the Colts got a holding and off sides penalty on back to back plays. We all know this part so I'll stop harping but seriously, the OL needs to improve if this team expects to do anything. Hmm, so that positive thing lasted less than a paragraph... awesome.
I was pleasantly surprised with how often Donte Moncrief was used after hearing all preseason that Phillip Dorsett had taken over the third WR spot. He's a burner with solid hands. However, he needs to start fighting for the ball a lot more at the point of attack and in general needs to be more aggressive when the ball is in the air.
Also, it was nice to see a decisive RB who hit holes with physicality, whether it be Frank Gore, Josh Robinson or Tyler Varga. It just makes me happy to see a RB that knows to go towards a wide open hole rather than barreling in, head down into a large crowd of people. It's really a breath of fresh air.
I never thought I'd say this but boy do I miss Greg Toler. Despite the fact that he's incredibly inconsistent, he's a big upgrade over Darius Butler on the outside. While it may not have made any difference in the game, it at least may have kept Percy Harvin from becoming somewhat relevant, fantasy or otherwise, again.
So the box score will tell you the Colts gave up 147 yards on 36 carries, which is absolutely true, for an average of 4.1 yards per carry (YPC). However, the Bills run offense as a whole was largely unproductive against the Colts. No, I'm not crazy. The Bills gained 87 yards on a total of 4 carries where the Colts had a chance to bring the RB down but either missed a tackle or blew an assignment. Taking out those 4 runs, the Colts allowed 60 yards on 32 carries for an average of 1.875 YPC. That's at least something to be positive about going forward.
Two defensive lineman really stood out to me in a good way, Kendall Langford and Henry Anderson. Both of those guys were constantly getting penetration from their 3-4 DE position, which is beyond fantastic for this defense. Now if only the team could find a pass rusher to complement the strong play of these guys and at least put pressure on opposing QBs.
Special Teams and Coaching:
It was shocking to see Adam Vinatieri miss a FG but it happens from even the best. I'll be shocked if that trend continues. As for the returners, I wouldn't give up on any of them yet but I'd for sure let Varga handle a few more kickoffs and limit the number of kicks Moncrief returns. On the muffed punt, it just looked like Dorsett took his eye off the ball before he secured it. That's easily fixable.
Hmm. Coaches. As many of you know, I have a love/hate relationship with how I feel about Coach Chuck Pagano. I love the emotional leadership he brings to the team. I hate how he coaches. Ok. That might be a bit much, but as we've seen too many times in the past, this team did not look prepared for this game. There were a lot of "coaching" related penalties, i.e., holding, offsides, etc.. Now, I know that shouldn't all fall on Coach Pagano but he's the guy in charge so he takes the heat.
Also, to go along with my coaching qualms, I get having the ball in your franchise player's hands throughout the game is important but it was a bit confusing to me to see the team throw the ball on nine out of twelve first quarter plays. All three runs came on the first drive and went for over a 4.3 YPC average. In wet conditions, like it was on Sunday in Buffalo, it is a lot easier to run the ball and a lot harder to throw. It's not as if getting bad weather in Buffalo is a total shocker. It's actually quite common for those that have never been. It just seemed like the game plan should have been more run-centric with the weather being what it was and Buffalo missing their Pro-Bowl DT to clog the middle.
Man, that coaching and special teams section really did not end up positive. Hmm. Coach Pagano seems like a really great guy who has consistently improved each year so I look forward to him improving again as the year progresses. I also still think the Colts win the AFC South going away. Did that fix it?
As always, chat with me on Twitter, @Reed_StephenT, or leave your comments below and I'll do my best to get back to you unless you're like super mean, then I probably won't respond but I'll chuckle at your anonymous meanie internet self. Thanks and I look forward to another great Colts season.