Even though the Colts played good enough to win on Sunday, it was not to be, as Vinatieri was not his usual self and botched 7 easy points (2 FGs and a PAT). Perhaps another reason the Colts ultimately lost the game is that they lost plenty of the key battles mentioned before.
Braden Smith (OT) Vs. Joey Bosa (DE)
This was not an easy matchup for Braden Smith, and it showed. Bosa beat him late in the 3rd quarter for a sack on first down and it seemed like he always had the upper hand. However, Smith’s play got better throughout the course of the game and he provided an overall solid game against one of the League’s best defensive ends. This matchup is a win for Bosa, but Smith held his ground.
Denico Autry (DT) Vs. Chargers’ Guards
After getting a split sack on the first drive of the game, it looked as if Autry was going to be a nightmare all afternoon long for the Chargers. However, this was not the case, as after that the Autry was kept in check for the rest of the game and failed to create any type of pressure from the inside. Another W for the Chargers here.
Parris Campbell (Slot WR) Vs. Desmond King II (SCB)
Sunday was a great day for rookie wide receivers, but Parris Campbell did not join the party. He played on just 18 snaps, perhaps as the Colts are still easing him in after his hamstring injury, and caught just one ball. After Funchess went down with an injury, the Colts did not play a lot of 3WR sets, instead resorting to using two tight-ends. This matchup is a tie, as the way the game progressed, the Colts did not use Campbell as a slot receiver.
Pierre Desir (CB) Vs. Keenan Allen (WR)
Yes, Keenan Allen went off and had a monster day. However, on many of his catches he was not covered by Pierre Desir. On his 28 yard touchdown Allen was covered by rookie Rock Ya-Sin, and even though Desir played all 64 snaps on defense, he was not used to shadow Keenan Allen. After this kind of performance from Allen, and the success Desir had shadowing Hopkins last season, it will be interesting to see whether the Colts decide to have Pierre shadow the opposing team’s #1 receiver.
Quenton Nelson (LG) Vs. Jerry Tillery (DT)
Tillery played 21 snaps for the Chargers, and he got just one combined tackle. The Colts offensive line was rock solid during the second half and dominated the Chargers front 7. Tillery was no exception. Unfortunately, Nelson did not pancake him into the ground, but he did put a crushing hit on Melvin Ingram