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Indianapolis Colts Week 7 game balls vs Buffalo Bills

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Finally we saw the Indianapolis Colts put a game together in which it appeared that every aspect of the game meshed, both, mentally and physically. The Colts put up 37 points, but and the real positive with that is that 24 of those were off of turnovers.

The offense was a well-oiled machine and the defense was opportunistic. The offensive line did well protecting Andrew Luck, and run blocking for the backs as well. Defensively, the Colts got home sacking Derek Anderson twice, hit him 4 times total, and were excellent again on third-down situations.

Aside from the respective units playing well as a whole, there were some individuals who deserve their game balls for the performances that they put forward in what may turn out to be a crucial game that sparked a run from the team when we look back on it at the end of the season.

There will almost always be more who earned a shout out in these, but in a game like yesterday I just don’t have time to write about every single player. Though I’m glad that I actually felt as if they deserved it. You get it.

Marlon Mack

Any time you can break 100 rushing yards for the Indianapolis Colts, you’re going to get a game ball. Let’s just get that out of the way. Hopefully that doesn’t continue to be the case as Mack looks as though he has truly begun to breakout in the way the Colts had always hoped he would this year after backing up Frank Gore last season.

Mack totaled 159 all-purpose yards yesterday and 126 of that was on the ground. Mack’s last two games have been great. He’s averaging 6.9 yards per carry the last two weeks and Colts fans everywhere are begging for this to become the norm going forward. He’s looked quick, decisive and powerful when he’s needed to lately and you can’t help but get excited about it.

Mack had 6 carries Sunday of at least 8 yards including a 15-yard run and a 20-yard touchdown run which, if anything like that can continue, the Colts have to love what they have in this offense in spite of a shaky receiving corps. Between Luck, a much improved offensive line and now an improving running game, that can get it done offensively. Luck can, and already has, made a weak bunch of receivers look better than they actually are.

Braden Smith

How ‘bout this guy. He gets drafted as an unquestioned guard for the future, gets some looks in training camp and the preseason at tackle — failing to really look all that impressive — and now he’s looking like a legitimate starter in the NFL.

This is not what we expected, but Chris Ballard may have knocked it out of the park and gotten a dominant left guard and a very serviceable right tackle with in the first two rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft. Smith took on some quality pass rushers the past two weeks and more than held his own as he’s literally started out of pure necessity for the Colts.

The entire offensive line has looked really good lately, but for a guy to step in and work a couple of very clean games — especially for a rookie — he’s getting one of these prestigious game balls this week. I know he’ll be excited.

Mike Mitchell

Again, we come to a guy that we may not have expected much from just a couple weeks ago. Mitchell was signed after the Colts placed Matthias Farley on IR, and at 31 years old, he’s fit in perfectly with what the Colts are doing defensively.

He’s amassed 14 total tackles, an interception that he nearly returned for a touchdown and has forced a fumble in just the past two weeks. He forced both of his turnovers yesterday, but he’s looked as if he’d been with the team all year when he stepped in in Week 6 against the Jets as well.

The Colts have some issues with their safety group right now, and if Mitchell can continue to be a physical force on the backend of the Colts secondary, it could keep the team from having any real drop off from losing Farley and as Clayton Geathers battles injuries right now.

Darius Leonard

Leonard has been an absolute stud this year. The man’s a rookie WILL from a small school and is leading the league in tackles in spite of missing Week 5. He’s accumulated double-digit tackles in 4 of his 6 games this season — twice having double-digit solo stops — and is ALWAYS around the ball.

He’s put up 4 sacks so far, and Sunday was no different. 17 total tackles, 12 solo, and he’s also been pretty stinking good in coverage as well. Simply put, the Colts found a gem. And many, many analysts pegged the Leonard pick as one of the worst of the draft.

He’s become a leader on this young defense, and is rubbing off onto Anthony Walker as well. The two have developed a great chemistry and that is no small feat. After the linebacker position being one of the worst in the league a year ago, the Colts look as if they might have turned it into a legitimate strength.

Leonard played his butt off yesterday, and is not only getting important stops in at the line of scrimmage or in the passing game, but he earned another tackle for loss yesterday and his ability to get into the backfield has been so vital to the Colts’ ability to put both aspects of the game together just as they did Sunday. I’d expect him to get a few more of these in the near future.