The Indianapolis Colts notched their second win of the season on Sunday by defeating the Chicago Bears 29-23, improving to 2-3 on the season.
It once again took a comeback to do so, and it once again was accomplished by Andrew Luck finding T.Y. Hilton for the game-winning score. It was another very impressive day for the quarterback/wide receiver duo, and even though it was a rough day for the defense the Colts managed to get a much-needed second victory. Let's take a look at the snap counts from the game:
- The Colts switched up their offensive line on Sunday, putting Denzelle Good at right guard (since he was back healthy) but leaving Joe Haeg at right tackle over Joe Reitz, who was also healthy. It was the first time this season that the Colts had willingly switched up their starting line (for any reason other than injury), and it had mixed results. The team still gave up five sacks and seven quarterback hits, but it also wasn't all bad as Andrew Luck did have time to throw on plenty of other dropbacks. It will be interesting to see what the Colts opt to do up front moving forward and whether they will keep the same starting five that we saw on Sunday.
- With Donte Moncrief out, the Colts are thin at wide receiver and really have two guys worthy of significant playing time: T.Y. Hilton and Phillip Dorsett. Each game they've played most of the snaps, but it's been striking how different their production has been. Hilton has more than stepped up to the challenge, catching 25 passes for 387 yards and three scores (on 32 targets) over the past three games, including another phenomenal outing on Sunday in which he caught ten passes for 171 yards and a score. Dorsett, however, has been targeted just ten times over the past three games combined and has caught just six passes for 117 yards and a score. On Sunday, he caught two passes for 26 yards on three targets - meaning he was targeted less than Chester Rogers and the same amount as Quan Bray! There's something wrong with that picture, especially when you look at the large difference in snap counts between Dorsett and those two (particularly Bray, who received 54 less snaps yet was targeted the same amount).
- Dwayne Allen quietly had a good game on Sunday. He caught six passes for 50 yards and a touchdown (on six targets), which tied a career high in receptions (along with two games from his rookie year) and was tied for the eighth-most yards he's had in a game in the NFL (and only behind this year's Lions game in yards in a game since 2014). It was also the most receptions in a game in his career in which he caught 100% of the targets, and it wasn't even close (the previous high was three catches/targets). Allen was the team's second-leading receiver in terms of yards and catches on Sunday, and he certainly deserves some credit for it.
- The Colts are doing the smart thing at safety and not really rotating - what I mean by that is that Mike Adams and Clayton Geathers are the unquestioned starters at safety, as it should be. T.J. Green still got in on 16 snaps on Sunday, and the Colts like to occasionally use all three safeties on the field at the same time and bring Geathers down in the box (which is also a smart idea), but there's little doubt that Adams and Geathers are the two best options right now. And with Geathers playing every snap and Adams playing all but one, it seems the Colts realize that too.
- The Colts continue to bring Henry Anderson back slowly, and it's working well. In the past three games he's played 68 snaps, but he has managed four quarterback hits, a tackle, and a pass defensed. His numbers aren't great, but he's doing a nice job and is actually one of the team's most productive pass rushers, as he's tied for second on the team with Zach Kerr in quarterback hits. And Kerr is the other reason why bringing Anderson along slowly is working out well, too, as Kerr has been more than holding his own. Kerr has played 166 snaps this year (through five games) and has recorded eleven tackles, 1.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, and three tackles for loss. He has done a nice job, and that has given the Colts the opportunity to bring Anderson back slowly from his torn ACL.
- At inside linebacker, Antonio Morrison and Josh McNary wound up playing the exact same number of snaps, but that number is skewed because McNary (who got the start) left with an injury. Either way, however, neither of them were the answer the Colts have been looking for at inside linebacker since Jerrell Freeman left.
- The Colts need to do something about their pass rush... the problem is they don't have many options. We all knew coming into the season that it would be bad, and sure enough it has been largely nonexistent outside of the surprisingly capable performance of Erik Walden. But Robert Mathis has had a really rough year, and while the Colts can't give up on him, I think they need to give Akeem Ayers more reps. It's shocking to me that he played just seven snaps on Sunday despite Mathis's struggles, and while Ayers isn't the answer, he's produced more than Mathis in far fewer snaps this year. Again, they need to try to do something.
- Speaking of Walden, he's been one of the team's best defenders this year. He has recorded 14 tackles, four sacks, seven quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles, and he leads the team in sacks, quarterback hits, forced fumbles, and is tied for first in tackles for loss.
(Note: Only those playing more than 50% of the special teams snaps appear here, so this is not the entire list):
- Matthias Farley, who is always near the top of the special teams snap counts, led the way this week.
- We've talked a lot about Adam Vinatieri (and rightfully so), but Pat McAfee deserves some credit too. He had a phenomenal day on Sunday, punting three times for an average of 63.3 yards per punt with a long of 74 (a career high), and he had two punts downed inside the 20 and one touchback (which should have been downed inside the 20, if not for Jordan Todman horribly misplaying it). McAfee leads the NFL in average yards per punt this season and is second in net average this year, and he had his best day of the year on Sunday.