Justin Houston vs. Chiefs’ Tackles
Houston played his best game in a Colts uniform on Sunday and it could not have come at a better time. Against his former team and in his old stadium, Houston got a sack and a couple tackles for loss, including a huge 4th down stop, and seemed to always win his individual battles at the line. Given Kemoko Turay is out for the season with an ankle injury, the Colts will need Houston to step up even more while rushing the passer, and continue playing like this.
Quenton Nelson vs. Chris Jones
I seriously think that Nelson should be an MVP contender. I have never seen a guard impact the game the way he does. The Colts offensive line as a whole transformed because of Big Q’s presence. On Sunday, he faced an elite defensive tackle in Chris Jones, and once again Nelson delivered.
Let’s get something out of the way first, you play offensive line, you are going to get beat on a few plays, it just happens, even to the very best, but the way Nelson blocked Jones, on passing and running plays was nearly impeccable. There were several plays where Nelson held his block in pass-protection for an absurd amount of time, and on Mack’s biggest carries you could see he was running through the holes Big Q created. #BigQMVP
Quincy Wilson and Shakial Taylor vs. Travis Kelce
Before the game I expected Travis Kelce to absolutely abuse our defense and perhaps even break a few records. Given the way the Colts had been covering tight ends this season (not covering them at all), I was really worried about this match-up, so this one surprised me. Quincy Wilson and recently promoted Shakial Taylor made a number of plays to keep Kelce’s impact at a minimum and they clearly got in his head.
Despite making a few catches here and there, Kelce was held to just 4 catches on 10 targets. Winning this match-up was key to containing the high-powered Chiefs passing offense without Hill or Watkins.
Frank Reich vs. Andy Reid
Despite collapsing time and time again in the playoffs (famously blowing a 28 point lead) Andy Reid is a top-tier head coach in the NFL, and Reich beat him. The Colts executed the game plan to perfection; dominate T.O.P to keep the ball out of Mahomes’ hands (37:15 to 22:45) and run the ball nearly every play (45 carries for 180 yards).
Reid simply could not figure out Eberflus’ defense, and nearly all of the Chiefs offense came not because of a bad play by the defense, but because Mahomes made some absurd throws that only he is capable of making. Overall, the Colts coaching staff outreached one of the best in the League, which is a good sign moving forward.