This was a tough loss for the Colts. Despite another lackluster performance from Philip Rivers and the offense, The Colts still had a shot at winning because of big plays by the defense and an amazing play by Isaiah Rodgers on special teams. Time to bounce back and focus on the Bengals.
MVP of the Game: Bobby Okereke
No Leonard, no problem for the Colts’ emerging young linebacker, who, even with a club on his hand after having surgery early in the week, lead the team in tackles and came up with a key interception. Okereke has established himself as the main starter next to Darius Leonard as he continues justifying the increase in snaps he has been seeing this season.
Dud of the Game (The Grigsy): Philip Rivers
Bad, bad game for Rivers. The recipe for success is clear here: As long as you are not playing catch up and forced to rely on the passing game to move the ball quickly, Rivers will be fine. In games like yesterday, however, where the Colts needed him to score quickly, he just could not move the ball. Not only that, but Rivers made some truly disgusting throws, and one in fact ended up costing the Colts 7 points. So far, Rivers has not been worth the money he is being paid.
Play of the Game: Isaiah Rodgers kick-six
Right after Rivers’ pick-six, Rodgers returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards to the house. Not only was the athletic display amazing to watch, but it also gave momentum right back to the Colts, after going down by 17.
Worst Play of the Game: Rivers’ pick-six
Sure, no one was open, but the decision making and the throw by Rivers are mistakes I have not seen from a quarterback since Luck’s rookie season. I don’t expect our veteran quarterback, with more than 200 career starts, to make that sort of mistake.
Best Position Group: Linebackers
Ballard is really good at drafting linebackers. It’s amazing is that he’s gathered arguably the best linebacker core in the NFL and used a high draft pick only on Leonard (and he was criticized for that pick). Yesterday, the Colts were without their best linebacker, but the group still performed. Okereke and Anthony Walker Jr. both came up with interceptions and were amazing in the run game, and I liked what little I saw from Zaire Franklin stepping in from time to time.
Unsung Hero: Anthony Walker
Walker lost playing time to Bobby Okereke in weeks 2 and 3 before Leonard’s groin injury opened the door back up for him, and he delivered. He got an interception and was stellar in the run game yesterday, proving he still deserves his fair share of snaps. Leonard has said several times that Walker is the heart and soul of the defense, so it will be interesting to see whether Eberflus continues prioritizing Okereke or sticks with Walker.
Rookie of the Week: Rodrigo Blankenship
Don’t look now, but Hot Rod has been excellent this season and actually leads the NFL in scoring. Now, he is no Justin Tucker, as his field goals are mostly chip shots because of the Colts’ struggles in the red zone, but last season Vinatieri was inconsistent on extra points and no guarantee on field goals. I would like to watch Blankenship have to nail a 45+ yarder in a tough situation to determine whether he is legit.