In last week’s State of the AFC South, I predicted that the Vikings match-up would go similarly for the Colts as the Texans game.
I was very wrong.
The Colts dominated the Vikings for the duration of the game, specifically in the first half. I would argue that this was a more dominant performance than the Colts Monday Night win in New York.
MVP - Mike Adams
I had Andrew Luck typed in here, but then decided to give the nod to Adams instead. The veteran safety has been largely unnoticed this season (which is probably a good thing for a safety). Yesterday, Adams showed his knack for taking the ball away which he showed many times last season.
The interception was more Adams just being in the right place at the right time. Really, it was a poor throw by Sam Bradford (the pass was only his 4th pick of the year). The fumble, though, was a huge play. The Vikings had a long kick return, bolstered by a late hit. A long pass to Kyle Rudolph got the Vikings deep in Colts territory. Then, on Adrian Peterson’s longest run of the game, Adams stripped the ball and recovered it; stopping the Vikings scoring threat.
Century Mark - Frank Gore
For the first time since 2010, the Colts had two 100 yard performances in the same season. For the first time since 2007, it was the same player. Somewhere, Edgerrin James is cringing at that statistic. For the second time, Gore eclipsed 100 yards this season. Although this week it was more about the volume of carries than big runs.
Still, a week after basically giving up on the running game, the Colts got back to it this week. And guess what? It worked again. Just like it did against the Jets. Weird. Maybe they should have run a little more against Houston, or at least tried to. Oh well.
Who Needs Experience? Award - Eric Swoope
Who said you needed to play college football to be successful in the NFL? Colts fans have been excited about the possibility of Swoope turning into the next top athletic tight end in the league. While that might be a stretch, on Sunday Swoope showed at least some flashes.
After Dwayne Allen dropped a sure touchdown pass (what a surprise), the Colts all but stopped targeting the tight end (Allen finished with one catch) and zeroed in on Swoope. The former basketball player reeled in three catches for 50 yards, including a beautiful 27 yard score. In fact, Swoope finished tied for second in catches on Sunday, and first in yards.
Patchwork is Good Enough - Offensive Line
Despite having to turn to Le’Raven Clark to make his first start at right tackle, the Colts offensive line was remarkably good on Sunday. Luck was kept clean for the entire game, was not sacked, and rarely hurried. All this against one of the best pass rushing units in the NFL. Better yet, the Colts decided to not have Allen go one on one with a pass rushing end this week. But really, big game from the O-Line.
A New Jackson in Town - Edwin Jackson
The more Edwin Jackson has gotten to play, the more I like what he is bringing to the table. The first-year linebacker has been all over the field, and again led the team in tackles this week. Since the suspension of D-Qwell Jackson, it has been Edwin Jackson who has taken over the play-calling on defense. The young linebacker is finding success late in the season, and hopefully will help to stabilize a very unstable linebacking position moving forward.
LVP - Playoff Hopes
At 2:55 pm (for us Central Time folks) the Colts had won, the Texans were inexplicably down to Jacksonville and had benched Brock Osweiler, and the Titans couldn’t get anything going against the Chiefs. It looked like a perfect storm for the Colts, who need Tennessee to lose once and Houston to lose twice (while the Colts win out). They were getting a dream scenario.
Then, in the span of about one minute, the Titans nailed a last second field goal and Tom Savage had just put the Texans up front. I don’t think anyone watching though Blake Bortles would lead a comeback win for Jacksonville, and we were right. In a massive change of fortune, the Texans and Titans both emerged victorious.
I read somewhere that this puts the Colts playoff odds at something like 3 percent. I’m pretty sure the scenario is for the Colts to beat both Oakland and Jacksonville, for the Texans to lose to Cincinnati and Tennessee, and for Tennessee to lose to Jacksonville but beat Houston. I don’t know what happens if they wind up in a three way tie, but I think Houston wins by division record.