A week after getting blown out by the Saints, the Colts now blew out the depleted Carolina Panthers, who had a rookie quarterback making his first NFL start. Not a meaningful win by any terms, but a good one in terms of morale and to close out Lucas Oil Stadium with a positive note.
MVP of the Game: Nyheim Hines
First of all, a special shoutout to our very own Zach Hicks, who this week posted an excellent in-depth article showing why Hines needed more touches in 2020. Hines returned two punts for touchdowns, one for 84 yards and the other for 71 in what was without a doubt the most dynamic and explosive performance by a Colts player this season. Lets’ just hope the Colts coaching staff listens to Zach and continues feeding him the ball next season.
Dud of the Game (The Grigsy): Vacant
The Colts won 38-6, so no one deserves The Grigsy this week. There were some bad plays here and there, but none was relevant to the outcome of the game. Vernon Butler probably deserves this award given how he punched the wrong player and then proceeded to flip off the fans at LOS, stay classy Vernon.
Play of the Game: Nyheim Hines first return
Nyheim Hines (@TheNyNy7) puts the special in special teams! #PackPros pic.twitter.com/xFN5I5HPUx— Pack Pride (@PackPride) December 22, 2019
With the game still within reach in the first quarter, Hines gave the Colts perhaps their first good play on special teams this season and returned the punt all the way to the house. It was certainly fun finally getting to watch a touchdown over 20 yards.
Worst Play of the Game: 4th and 1 stuffed at the Panthers’ 3 yard line
Nit picking here, as the game was already 21-3, but it was certainly surprising to see the Colts getting stuffed on 4th and short, what has essentially been the only good thing the offense has been good at this year.
Best Position Group: Running backs
Not only did Hines deliver a historical performance on special teams, but Mack and Wilkins rushed for a combined 2 touchdowns and over 150 yards. Excellent performance for the running back group as a whole. Personally would have loved for Jonathan Williams to get some touches but can't ask for it all.
Unsung Hero: Chase McLaughlin
Don't look now, but it looks like the Colts have found the replacement for Adam Vinatieri. McLaughlin nailed his only field goal attempt (a short 35 yarder), but more importantly, he nailed his 5 extra points. I love Vinny, but with the way Chase has been kicking, I’d much rather keep him.
Rookie of the Week: Bobby Okereke
The rookie linebacker got 10 tackles and showed his range and athleticism all over the field. The Colts have a very solid linebacking core, and one that should only get better with time.