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Week 10 Game Balls: Few Bright Spots in Colts Dismal Showing against Dolphins

Miami Dolphins v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts shockingly fell to the bottom feeding Miami Dolphins at home 16-12 on Sunday, which is one of the franchise’s worst regular season losses in recent memory.

The lowly Dolphins were only 1-7 on the season, and even though the Colts were starting backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and significantly depleted at wide receiver, it felt like the overall talent of the Indy roster would be able to assuredly defeat a tanking Miami team.

That feeling was wrong.

For the sake of doing a game balls piece this week, I’ll keep this short, simple, and to the point, as there was hardly anything commendable from the Colts overall performance—and so we can all move on from this dismal loss and quite frankly, never speak of it again.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Darius Leonard

The Colts have seen flashes—even strong individual game efforts from their 2nd year linebacker that demonstrate why he’s a reigning 1st-Team All-Pro at linebacker.

However, consistency has been somewhat of an issue for Leonard in 2019, as he’s seemingly made more misplays than he did as a rookie.

He’s still a young player after all, learning the league.

In fact, questionable or not, Leonard had two critical penalties just a week prior in Pittsburgh that had a significant impact on the outcome of the game.

However, make no mistake about it, Leonard was a full-fledged ‘Maniac’ on Sunday.

He was one of the few lone bright spots in an otherwise abysmal showing by the Colts.

Leonard finished with 13 tackles (11 solo), 1 sack, 2 passes defensed, an interception, and a QB hit—simply stuffing the stat sheet and making a huge impact on the field—even sadly in a losing effort.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Jack Doyle

The Colts offense was incredibly underwhelming collectively on Sunday, but Doyle’s individual performance may have been the unit’s only silver lining.

The sure handed, “jack of all trades” tight end was targeted 4 times and finished with 3 receptions for 44 receiving yards (14.7 ypr avg) and the Colts only touchdown score on a 1-yard pass from Hoyer early in the 4th quarter.

Doyle does the “dirty work” as a blocker and is a reliable safety valve for whoever is playing quarterback for the Colts. He’s not sexy, but certainly effective as a complete tight end, doing all of the little things that help a team win.

Despite the disappointing loss, his strong performance was worthy of recognition.

Doyle still Rules! (*even though the Colts stunk)

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Freeney

Thank you for the memories, #93!

Freeney was no doubt deserving of entering the Indianapolis Colts illustrious “Ring of Honor” and should be applauded for such a great career accomplishment—which only a select few of Colts greats ever get to experience.

The legendary sackmaster finished his Colts career with 298 tackles, 107.5 sacks, and 43 forced fumbles in 163 games (143 starts) in his 11 seasons in Indianapolis.

He was a Super Bowl XLI Champion, 3x 1st-Team All-Pro, 1x 2nd-Team All-Pro, 7x Pro Bowler, and one of the most feared pass rushers in NFL history—featuring a devastating spin move that should be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Often emulated, never duplicated, Freeney was foolishly labeled “too small” by some evaluators for NFL pass rushing standards entering the league, but his speed, strength (that bull rush!), and “Tasmanian devil” playing style made him a thing of nightmares for opposing left tackles.

He was simply a game wrecker that opposing offensive coordinators had to game plan for and double team because he was a dominating force—if left fully unleashed.

As such, Freeney’s arguably the greatest defensive player in Colts franchise history, and it’s great seeing his name immortalized in the friendly confines of Lucas Oil Stadium.

A great honor for a great player.