In a season filled with plenty of ups and downs, the Indianapolis Colts notched their first true blowout victory of the season as they thoroughly dominated the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, winning 41-10. It was a tremendous performance by Indianapolis all around, with the offense, defense, special teams, and coaching all stepping up.
The offense had their way with the Jets defense, doing pretty much whatever they wanted all night. Andrew Luck was as good as he’s ever been, completing 22 of 28 passes (78.6%) for 278 yards (9.9 yards per attempt), four touchdowns, and no picks for a passer rating of 147.6, while also adding 26 rushing yards on three carries. He didn’t even play for most of the fourth quarter, and he finished with the highest-rated game of his career, as well as the second-highest completion percentage, third-highest yards per attempt, and tied for second-highest touchdowns in a single game. It was a vintage performance from Luck, who was in complete control.
His weapons in the passing game were able to make plenty of plays as well, led by T.Y. Hilton and Dwayne Allen. Hilton had yet another 100-yard game as he caught nine passes for 146 yards, and in doing so he passed Marvin Harrison for the most 100-yard games by a Colts receiver in his first five seasons in team history. That’s pretty impressive company. Not to be outdone, however, tight end Dwayne Allen stepped up in a huge way, catching four passes for 72 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first time in his career he scored multiple touchdowns in a game (much less three!) and became the fourth tight end in Colts history with a three-touchdown game (and first since Dallas Clark). Also worth noting is that Donte Moncrief caught four passes for 26 yards and a touchdown, marking his fifth-straight game with a touchdown catch and his sixth in seven games this season.
The Colts also were able to run the ball well against a Jets defense that entered the game with the fourth-ranked run defense in football. Frank Gore rushed for 79 yards on 20 carries, averaging four yards per rush, and he was very effective running the football. Robert Turbin scored the game’s only rushing score, taking it in for a five-yard touchdown.
Indianapolis did well defensively too, thanks in part to the Jets’ struggles on offense. The Colts forced a number of stops, as on the eight drives the Jets had against the Colts’ true number one defense (that is, before the Colts really started substituting backups in), the Jets punted five times, turned it over twice, and scored a field goal. The Colts entered the game tied for last in the league with only three interceptions on the year, but they equaled that total tonight as Darius Butler, Mike Adams, and Darryl Morris had picks. Indy did their job defensively, such as when Edwin Jackson absolutely stuffed Matt Forte on a third down rush. The Colts had consistent success against the Jets offense tonight, and while it was indeed against a bad offense, it should be noted that the Colts have been a bad defense this year and therefore still deserve a ton of credit.
Special teams was good as well, as Adam Vinatieri hit both of his field goal attempts (from 53 and 36 yards out) and all five of his extra point attempts. Pat McAfee had a terrific punt when he managed to get the punt off and pinned deep in Jets territory. Christopher Milton had a stop deep in Jets territory on a kickoff return and also pinned that McAfee punt deep inside the ten yard line. Chester Rogers had a great 30-yard punt return. Indianapolis outplayed the Jets in the area of special teams, too.
Credit the coaching staff for having this team ready to go after a ten-day break, and they had a good game plan in all three phases tonight that was able to have their way against the Jets. So definitely give credit to the coaches as well.
It was the second straight game in which Scott Tolzien played, but this one was so much better for the Colts than the last one. Whereas last Thursday the Colts had to play without Andrew Luck, tonight they got such a good performance out of Luck and the rest of the team that they were able to get Tolzien some playing time in garbage time in the fourth quarter as they tried to run out the clock. Sure, the Colts beat up on a bad football team. The Jets fall to just 3-9 on the season, and tonight they looked as miserable and helpless as ever. But keep in mind that the Colts haven’t been a good team this year either and haven’t been able to make it easy against any team, so regardless of the opponent this was a huge game for Indianapolis. They’re now 6-6 on the year, tied for first in the AFC South with the Texans and the Titans, and will return home to face the Texans on a short week in the biggest game of their season. Tonight, however, they’ll revel in their victory, which was the most dominant we’ve seen the Colts in a long time.