In the NFL, you never know what’s going to happen week-to-week. Perhaps no team exemplifies that reality more than the Indianapolis Colts, who today absolutely dominated the Minnesota Vikings from start to finish in a 34-6 road win.
Against one of the best defenses and best pass defenses in the NFL, the Colts’ offense got things rolling from the first drive. They got a field goal on the opening drive, and then scored touchdowns on three of their next four possessions. They then added another field goal right before halftime thanks to a Vikings turnover, and in the second half they continued the scoring, as on their second drive of the second half (after a punt on the first) they got a long score to truly put the game away.
Andrew Luck played incredibly well, and the team was able to run the football very well also. Rob Chudzinski called a very good game today, mixing up the run and pass game nicely and running a quicker passing game that suited the offense and helped make up for the three rookies starting up front on the offensive line. Luck had time to throw today, and even when he did face some pressure he did a tremendous job at evading pressure - something he’s very good at. Luck had a very good game, completing 21 of 28 passes (75%) for 250 yards (8.9 yards per attempt), two touchdowns, and no picks for a passer rating of 125.6. Frank Gore notched his second 100-yard performance as a Colt, rushing for 101 yards and averaging 3.9 yards per carry, while Robert Turbin rushed for 32 yards and two touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry. In the receiving game, Erik Swoope caught three passes for 50 yards and a touchdown, while T.Y. Hilton caught three passes for 45 yards, Jack Doyle caught four passes for 32 yards, and Phillip Dorsett caught one pass for 50 yards and a score. The Colts put up 34 points and 411 yards against a defense that came into today’s game ranked second in points per game allowed (17.3) and yards per game allowed (304.3). That’s an incredibly impressive offensive performance.
While the offense’s performance is more noteworthy because of the caliber of their opponent, the Colts defense also dominated as well. Sure, it was against one of the league’s worst offenses, but the Colts have a bad defense, so being able to dominate any team like they did on Sunday is incredibly impressive. They forced three turnovers, with Mike Adams stripping Adrian Peterson in the red zone and recovering, and then on the next drive Mike Adams picked off a Sam Bradford pass. In the third quarter, Robert Mathis did what he does best as he recorded a strip-sack of Bradford that was recovered by Henry Anderson. Mathis, Erik Walden (twice), T.Y. McGill, and Zach Kerr all notched sacks for the Colts today.
The special teams were playing well also, with Adam Vinatieri hitting two long field goals (from 48 and 51 yards out), Pat McAfee pinning a punt inside the 20 yard line, and Chester Rogers adding a 30-yard punt return. And even the coaching should be credited, as the Colts’ gameplan was a very good one against this Vikings team.
The Colts now improve to 7-7 - but thanks to the Titans and Texans both winning today, the Colts’ chances are even worse than at the beginning of the day. They’ll have to take care of business the rest of the way plus get a lot of help, and that’s the maddening thing about this team: you never know if they will, because you never know which team is going to show up week-to-week. For example, over their past five games, the Colts won by seven, then lost by 21, then won by 31, then lost by five, then today won by 28. The main point? The team that showed up today has been incredibly inconsistent, but at least today they showed up in a big way with an incredibly impressive, dominating performance to even their record back up at .500. This was their best performance of the season, but the question is: did it come too late?