The Indianapolis Colts finally finished in the fourth quarter of a game en route to their first win of the season today. Last week the Colts gave one away that they should have won, and today they built a lead, played great defense and Luck was able to right a couple wrongs late in the game to seal a Colts victory.
The Redskins were being given a real cushion with as 6-point home favorites in the gambling world, but they never really got anything going today and the Colts did enough to pull out a win.
Here are a few takeaways from the Colts 21-9 victory over the Redskins.
Colts defense overwhelmed ‘Skins offense, especially early
One of the largest takeaways from this Colts defense thus far into the season is that they’re absolutely buying in to this new scheme and what it requires of them. Darius Leonard is going to be a tackling machine (15 solo tackles, a forced fumble and a sack), Margus Hunt has been much better — again — than anyone could have guessed, and Jabaal Sheard is beginning to find his groove as well.
We also saw a big sack by Jihad Ward who was just brought up from the practice squad a couple days ago.
We did see some mental penalties from the defensive line early in the game, but right now, it appears to be a mere side affect from being a much more aggressive unit. Pierre Desir had a really nice game as he nearly picked off a ball on the Skins’ first possession of the second half, and knocked away a sure touchdown catch in the back of the end zone a bit later.
We saw flashes of it all day, from several individuals, but this defense is making up for any lack of overall top-end talent and inexperience with flat out playing harder than the other guy every play.
Luck is too casual with the ball in high priority areas of the field
Again, Andrew Luck had a very nice game overall. And Luck did end a long, 13-play touchdown drive in the fourth quarter on a short pass to Hilton in the red zone. However, at one point (4:35 to go in third quarter) the Colts offense hadn’t put up more than 3 plays for four-straight drives — featuring three punts and an interception. More importantly, Luck hasn’t been all that careful with the ball this year when he’s backed up against his own goal line, or in the opponent’s red zone.
The Colts’ defense managed to hold the Skins’ offense to 6 points through the first three quarters of the game. Luck has to help them out by being more security-minded in these areas of the field. Luck threw a pick inside the Bengals’ 20-yard line last week, nearly caused a safety with a pass along the line of scrimmage to Nyheim Hines (may be on a bad play called as well), and threw a terrible interception when the Colts were backed up inside their own 30.
We know Luck is a riskier quarterback, and we love him for that. But, honestly this isn’t calculus, he can’t be tossing out gifts like that just because the Colts have the lead. If the defense has a bad day, the Colts could get run out of the building with these sort of mistakes.
Colts backfield is better as a RBBC group
The Colts don’t have a go-to running back right now, even when Mack is in the lineup. The combination of Hines, Mack and Wilkins looks to be a nice combination that remains fluid throughout the game.
Today, for example, Wilkins was by far the best on the ground per run (6.1 YPC), Hines ended up being the one of the group to get into the end zone on a short run and lined up more as a slot receiver throughout the day. Mack, on the other hand, was more of the overall guy to take the lead-back reps in the backfield, but wasn’t really given more of a workload than the other two.
Together they put together what a feature back would on a pretty solid day; 102 rushing yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. I mean, this is the idea behind moneyball, right? It’s certainly not a dominant group by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re absolutely giving the Colts offense enough as a committee to get the job done.