The Indianapolis Colts defeated the New York Jets 41-10 on Monday. What did we learn from the game? Here are three takeaways (and we're using the term "learn" loosely):
The Colts can put a team away!
In recent games the Colts haven’t shown an ability to put teams away. In recent weeks they’ve been able to start fast, but then they’ve let teams back in the game. In fact, entering this week, the Colts had one win by more than one score since the 2014 season - that’s a span of 27 games with only one win by more than one score. Their biggest margin of victory this season had been eight points, in a game against the Titans. It was looking unlikely that this team would have any ‘easy’ win this year, even though there were winnable games left on their schedule. But on Monday night, they finally put a team away and never looked back. The Colts jumped out to an early lead on the Jets on Monday Night Football, and they just kept going. By the time Andrew Luck and several other starters exited the game the Colts led 41-3, and they wound up winning 41-10. The 31-point victory was the second-largest victory for the Colts in the Chuck Pagano era, behind only a 34-point win over the Jaguars in 2013. It was a welcome sight for the Colts to be able to put together a complete game in every phase and be able to hold on to it, even though it was against a bad Jets team that did plenty to embarrass itself. With this year’s Colts team, the way they won Monday’s game was great and worth celebrating no matter the opponent.
The offense is rolling
On Monday night the Colts racked up 421 yards of offense and scored 41 points, having their way with the Jets defense. Andrew Luck completed 78.6% of his passes for 278 yards (9.9 yards per attempt), four touchdowns, and no picks for a passer rating of 147.6. T.Y. Hilton caught nine passes for 146 yards, while Dwayne Allen caught four passes for 72 yards and three scores. Donte Moncrief caught another score, his fifth straight game with a touchdown catch. Luck was only sacked once, and the passing offense was functioning at a very high level as guys were able to get open with ease. The run game was also working, as Frank Gore rushed for 79 yards and averaged four yards per carry against the league’s fourth-ranked run defense, and they rushed for 139 yards overall as a team. Rob Chudzinski had a great game as a play-caller, mixing in great play calls/designs (like the first touchdown to Allen), creative aspects (like using Phillip Dorsett on an end around), an offense that better protected Luck, and an offense that incorporated a number of its playmakers. The Colts got tremendous play from Luck, Hilton, Allen, and others, and the offense was rolling on Monday night. If they can keep that up moving forward they stand a great chance of making the postseason.
The rare all-around team performance
The Colts haven’t had too many of these this year, but on Monday night all aspects of the team were playing well. As already mentioned the offense was playing at a high level, but the defense’s performance was certainly noteworthy too. They limited the Jets to just 250 yards of offense, ten points, a 27% conversion rate on third down, and just 4.8 yards per play. They picked off three passes, equalling their total from the first eleven games combined. The Jets didn’t look to be able to do much of anything on offense, but give some credit to the Colts’ defense too. And the special teams unit also played well, as both Pat McAfee’s punts were pinned inside the 20, Chester Rogers had a 30-yard punt return, Adam Vinatieri made both of his field goal attempts (including one from 53-yards out), and Christopher Milton had a really nice tackle to stop a kickoff return (as well as pinning one of the punts inside the 20). The coaching staff also had a good game, as they put together a really nice game plan that was well-executed and that exposed several of the Jets’ weaknesses. All around, it was a really good performance by the Colts in every phase for 60 minutes. And that’s rare for the Colts this year.