The Colts notched their first win of the Frank Reich era with a 21-9 victory against the Washington Redskins. Many notable players stood out for the Colts but our focus in this article is the players that they were able to limit on the Redskins. The Redskins were coming off of a dominant win against the Cardinals but the Colts stonewalled them in all facets. Here’s revisiting the 5 Redskins players I said to lookout for on Sunday:
Adrian Peterson/ Chris Thompson, RB:
I said on Sunday that if the Colts want to win this game, they have to focus on eliminating the Redskins rushing attack. They did just that. They held the Redskins team to just 65 yards rushing on 22 attempts after they put up 182 the week before against the Cardinals. Adrian Peterson in particular was really bottled up. He had just 20 yards rushing on 11 carries in the game for just a 1.8 yards per carry average. Chris Thompson didn’t fair much better on the ground as he had only 1 yard rushing on 4 attempts.
The other aspect of the talented duo that the Colts needed to bottle up was their ability to catch the football out of the backfield. Against the Cardinals in week 1, they combined for 130 yards and broke many big plays. The Colts did allow the backs to catch a lot of passes, they combined for 15 catches, but held them to only 126 yards. The Colts linebackers, tackling machine Darius Leonard in particular, did an excellent job of keeping the tandem in front of them and swarmed to every tackle. Taking these two out of the game crippled the Redskins offense.
Kenny Moore quietly had a great training camp, and is quietly having a great season. Teammates will tell you he’s one of the toughest guys on this roster. This open field stuff of Chris Thompson is ridiculous: pic.twitter.com/CaQGVtnQtV— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) September 17, 2018
Jordan Reed, TE:
The Colts did an excellent job of keeping Jordan Reed in check for most of the day. When healthy, Reed is one of the most talented tight ends in football but was limited due to the dominant play by the Colts linebackers. Reed’s best attribute is his athleticism and he is deadly in space with the ball in his hands. The Colts took this away from his game by rolling a safety over the top and forcing Jay Gruden to target Reed on short, dump-off throws.
A key play involved Reed late in the game when rookie standout Darius Leonard forced him to fumble. Reed was going down holding the ball loosely when Leonard knocked the ball away. It was an excellent effort by the defense to limit one of the more explosive tight ends in football.
Matt Ioannidis, DE:
For almost the entirety of the game, the Colts offensive line dominated the Redskins front. The big matchup was Quenton Nelson vs top 15 picks D’aron Payne and Jonathan Allen, a matchup in which Nelson absolutely dominated. Going into the contest Matt Slauson against Matt Ioannidis worried me the most. Although Ioannidis did register a sack in the Colts’ lackluster third quarter, he was held in check for most of the day by the veteran guard.
Ioannidis is a very impressive young player who was bound to make at least one play. Despite him getting a sack, Matt Slauson and Ryan Kelly deserve credit for their play this weekend. The Redskins defensive line is no slouch and the Colts’ front was more than ready for the challenge. This is a very hopeful sign for the future as Andrew Luck has rarely had protection like this in his career.
Ryan Kerrigan, OLB:
It may be time for us to start talking about how good of a season Joe Haeg is having. After holding his own against the likes of Carl Lawson the week before, Haeg shifted over to right tackle to face one of the top pass rushers in football in Ryan Kerrigan. Haeg not only held his own against Kerrigan, he shut him down. Kerrigan was essentially a non-factor all day and I don’t recall that he made any impact plays.
Joe Haeg was super impressive locking down Kerrigan, who is coming off of a 13 sack season in 2017. This certainly support his case to be the Colts’ starting RT once Anthony Castonzo returns. I also want to commend the performance of Le’Raven Clark as he played well against pass rusher Preston Smith, only getting beat once for a sack in the third quarter.
Didn't end all that well, but very impressive mental processing on display from Nelson here to work back behind the line once he realized he had no work to help pickup Kerrigan from the opposite side: pic.twitter.com/os5UIrbyv7— Brandon Thorn (@VeteranScout) September 17, 2018
Montae Nicholson, SAF:
Montae Nicholson had a pretty solid game for the Redskins on Sunday. He was all over the field and his huge frame and speed were evident early on. He dominated the third quarter in both the pass and run games. Anybody watching should have noticed number 35 on defense.
The Colts did use abuse him a little bit in the pass game though. He played mostly as a single high safety last season and is playing more in the box man coverage this year. The Colts abused his inexperience as Nicholson was the target of pick and iso plays. He often gave up too much separation in these situations. He was also the player who got beat by Eric Ebron for a touchdown. Overall, the Colts did an excellent job of limiting the impact of the Redskins’ best defensive athletes and created separation through pick plays and crossing concepts.