The Indianapolis Colts lost to the Denver Broncos on Sunday 34-20 to fall to 0-2 on the 2016 season. Let's take a look at the snap counts from the game to see what we can learn:
- The reason for Donte Moncrief's snap count being so low is due to injury, as he suffered a head/neck injury early in the game and didn't return. In his absence, Chester Rogers (23) and Quan Bray (17) saw a notable increase in their snap counts, while T.Y. Hilton (64) and Phillip Dorsett (61) obviously led the way.
- Four of the five offensive linemen played the entirety of the snaps, with the lone exception being right guard Denzelle Good, who left with a back injury. He still played the majority of the snaps, but Jonotthan Harrison filled in for him late in the game.
- At running back, we saw Josh Ferguson's snaps increase significantly. We learned last week that he's essentially the Colts' change-of-pace back, and he played that role again on Sunday. Last week, he saw 12 snaps (17%), but this week he played 27 snaps (37%), just seven less than Frank Gore. Ferguson also finished as the team's leader in receptions with five, as he caught all five targets for 29 yards and also had the highest yards per carry of any Colts back (he averaged 3.5 yards per rush on two carries for seven yards). Frank Gore's snaps decreased this week (from 48 a week ago to 34 this week), but he did make some plays - he rushed 13 times for 44 yards (3.4 yards per carry) and caught three passes for 19 yards and a very acrobatic touchdown. Robert Turbin rushed for a touchdown on Sunday, but his snaps stayed the same as last week (he had 12 both weeks). So it probably depends on the situation and these snap counts will vary because of that, but at this point it looks like Josh Ferguson does have a pretty nice role in the Colts' offense.
- Once again the Colts' top two tight ends dominated the snap counts at the position and they produced as well. Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle were both in on over 60% of the snaps on Sunday, and they combined to catch six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown (Doyle was tied with T.Y. Hilton for the second-most receptions by a Colt). Through two games, they have combined for 13 receptions, 150 yards, and three touchdowns on 19 targets.
- Through two games, safety Mike Adams has played 100% of the defensive snaps. Considering the injuries elsewhere in the secondary, that's not surprising.
- D'Qwell Jackson played most of the defensive snaps, but he still didn't have a very productive day. After recording just two tackles last week, he at least doubled that number this week by recording four tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass defensed. But the reason Jackson is in there is because of his production, and so far it hasn't been great. In fact, both games this season would rank among the five-lowest single-game tackle numbers Jackson has recorded in his last 50 games. His six combined tackles this year would rank tied for his fifth-lowest tackle number in a single-game dating back to 2013, much less a two-game span.
- Though Sio Moore was the best of the linebackers last week, he came crashing down this week. He played the third-most snaps but didn't play very well, as he missed a bunch of plays and missed several tackles.
- In the absence of Trent Cole, Curt Maggitt (27) and Akeem Ayers (23) saw their workload increased, though neither was particularly productive.
- Zach Kerr really took advantage of his snaps to have a really strong performance to follow up a disappointing one last week. Against the Broncos, Kerr recorded five tackles, two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, and a sack. He was arguably Indy's best defensive player on Sunday, and it was nice to see a really good game from him.
- Speaking of quarterback hits, the Colts only registered four on Sunday - and Zach Kerr (2) and Mike Adams (2) had them both. So the only Colts that actually got to the quarterback were a defensive lineman and a safety? That's not exactly how it's supposed to work in this system, but it just goes to show how the Colts are desperate for players to step up all over the defense to help in the area of pass rush.
- Rashaan Melvin, Antonio Cromartie, and Darryl Morris were the top three players in terms of snap counts at cornerback for the Colts in week two. If you could have predicted that before (or even during) training camp, you'd be a millionaire right now.
- For the second straight week, Josh McNary dominated the special teams snap counts for the Colts, while Matthias Farley was second for the second straight week as well.
- Pat McAfee and Adam Vinatieri continued to produce for the Colts, proving once again to be the most consistent part of the team. McAfee managed to get his punts off despite a ton of pressure, and he averaged 56.5 yards per punt with a long of 72. Vinatieri, meanwhile, hit both field goal attempts - from 48 and 52 yards out - to improve to 4-for-4 on the season and extend his consecutive made field goals streak to 29, which is the third-longest in Colts franchise history.
- This morning the MMQB's Peter King pointed out that he can't understand why returners will bring the ball out of the end zone on a kickoff when a touchback now goes out to the 25 yard line (and he's right in saying that they should take more touchbacks in those situations). It got me interested in seeing how Quan Bray has done in that department this year, so I looked it up. He's returned three kickoffs, and two of them were fielded at the one yard line. The other was fielded four yards deep in the end zone but he only got it out to the 21, so it would have been better to take the touchback. Overall, he has returned three kicks and averaged 24 yards per return, with an average starting field position at the 23.3 yard line. So it's still better to take the touchback when given the opportunity, but for the most part he's made good decisions in that area this year.