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Colts snap counts vs. Bears: Week 4

NFL: OCT 04 Colts at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts won on the road for the first time October 6, 2019 — a huge payback win against the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. While the Bears and Colts also have some recent history and plenty of connections on the coaching staff, front office and in the locker room, Chicago wasn’t nearly as respected as the Chiefs were in that game a year ago.

Regardless, going on the road to beat an undefeated, resilient team while dealing with numerous injuries is nothing to get upset about. Those injuries are apparent in some of the play splits at different positions.


OFFENSE

In a low scoring game, Philip Rivers never left the field. He had his worst performance of the season in terms of accuracy but didn’t turn the ball over and found Mo Alie-Cox early in the game to put pressure on the Bears. He will need to do more moving forward if Indianapolis hopes to be successful against better opponents.

P Rivers QB 72 100%

The Colts entered the game with many expecting a dominant showing on the ground. While that never materialized, rookie Jonathan Taylor still led the way in the backfield. Frank Reich has an interesting and frustrating habit of keeping Nyheim Hines on the field in entirely undesirable situations but it’s clear that he is just a crease away from breaking a big play when he touches the football.

J Taylor RB 33 46%
N Hines RB 25 35% 8 30%
J Wilkins RB 12 17% 7 26%

The Colts came into the year with the expectation that Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. would be heavily featured in their receiver rotation. In fact, it was likely each player would be starters in three receiver sets. Instead, Campbell and Pittman will both miss weeks (with Campbell’s return more tenuous), and veteran T.Y. Hilton has not been able to get things going.

This group is a mess and it’s clear the coaches are scrambling to figure out the right combination to make things work.

Z Pascal WR 54 75% 1 4%
T Hilton WR 54 75%
M Johnson WR 34 47%
A Dulin WR 18 25% 18 67%
D Fountain WR 15 21% 1 4%

With Trey Burton back on the field, the tight end room is at full strength. Reich was happy to get each of his tight ends involved in the offensive game plan. Given the situation at wide receiver, he really doesn’t have any choice.

It is interesting that while Mo Alie-Cox has been arguably the most dominant and effective force for three weeks in the passing game, he saw the field less than his teammates. When you also consider that he is arguably the best blocker for the running game too, it leads one to wonder why.

J Doyle TE 45 62% 2 7%
T Burton TE 36 50% 1 4%
M Alie-Cox TE 33 46% 6 22%

The good news is that the Colts starting offensive line continues to start and finish games together. The bad news is that the offensive line doesn’t look particularly good in the ground game. Philip Rivers has been reasonably well protected and has had plenty of time to throw the football but coming into the season Colts fans envisioned brutalizing opponents with one of the best rushing attacks in the game.

Quenton Nelson is still very good and has been the best player on the offensive line but he made it a weekly habit of standing out as the most dominant player at any position on the field last season and hasn’t done the same through four games this year.

Q Nelson G 72 100% 5 19%
B Smith G 72 100% 5 19%
M Glowinski G 72 100% 5 19%
R Kelly C 72 100%
A Castonzo T 68 94% 5 19%
L Clark T 4 6% 5 19%
D Pinter G 1 1%


DEFENSE

The defensive line continues to come together. Buckner has been creating problems for opponents and has helped his teammates produce. Justin Houston continues to look like an effective veteran. Grover Stewart has also been effective disrupting rushing lanes and demanding attention from opponents. In terms of rotation, there is a ton of talent in this group and not enough snaps to feed everyone.

With that said, there is a missing element in terms of a speed rushing threat off of the edge. The only player who appears suited to play that role for the Colts is Kemoko Turay and he has yet to return from injury. He entered the season on the Physically Unable to Perform or PUP list and won’t be able to practice of play for the first six games. Given that the Colts have a Bye in Week 7, the earliest Turay would return is Week 8 against the Detroit Lions.

D Buckner DE 54 87% 8 30%
D Autry DE 52 84% 3 11%
J Houston DE 49 79%
G Stewart NT 34 55% 8 30%
A Muhammad DE 32 52% 1 4%
B Banogu DE 12 19% 8 30%
T Lewis DE 9 15% 3 11%
T Stallworth DT 6 10%

The linebacker group has been as advertised coming into the season. The trio of Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker and Bobby Okereke have been effective and played an important role in stifling opponents on the ground and keeping opposing tight ends from taking over games.

The team will have to monitor Leonard’s groin injury this week to determine severity and whether he will need to miss any time.

A Walker LB 53 85% 10 37%
B Okereke LB 53 85% 10 37%
D Leonard LB 28 45% 1 4%
Z Franklin LB 2 3% 22 81%

Arguably the biggest positive surprise for the Colts in 2020 has been the play of the team’s corners. Xavier Rhodes has been effective, after some thought he might continue to see his production slip. Veteran TJ Carrie missed this game but has been very effective on the outside, which is something he hadn’t done coming into the season. Rock Ya-Sin returned to the field and was also very effective and Kenny Moore II remains one of the most important pieces of the Colts defense.

At this point, the corner room has shown to not only be talented but deep, which is impressive given the Marvell Tell III chose to sit out the season.

X Rhodes CB 62 100%
K Moore CB 57 92% 6 22%
R Ya-Sin CB 48 77% 8 30%
I Rodgers CB 7 11% 3 11%

The Colts present and future at safety appears to be set. Khari Willis is an incredibly instinctive player who makes big tackles in the backfield and sniffs out screen plays regularly. Julian Blackmon has started his career in a dominant fashion, including big hits separating receivers from the football, nearly forcing fumbles, and being directly responsible for two interceptions this season (one tipped to Willis).

If this duo can keep this up and build chemistry, the backend will start making life easier for the pass rushers.

K Willis SS 62 100% 6 22%
J Blackmon FS 62 100%


SPECIAL TEAMS

There were way too many special teams snaps, and for the wrong reasons, on Sunday. The three-and-outs and stalled drives led to 5 punts. Good thing for the Colts that Rigoberto Sanchez has continued to be dominant in this facet of the game. Equally good is that Rodrigo Blankenship went 4-4 on a day where field goals made the difference in the outcome of the game.

Though there is rarely enough recognition for the special teams units it is worth pointing out that Jordan Glasgow blocked a punt, leading to great field position and Colts points, and added a special teams tackle. Reserve safety George Odum had 5 total special teams tackles, including 4 solo. For comparison, Justin Houston played 49 defensive snaps at the line of scrimmage and had 5 total tackles. Odum had 22 special teams snaps, and only some of those presented the opportunity for a tackle, and he had 5 total tackles. Beast.

G Odum FS 22 81%
J Glasgow LB 19 70%
R Sanchez P 16 59%
T Wilson SS 15 56%
T Smith CB 13 48%
I Campbell FS 13 48%
E Speed LB 12 44%
L Rhodes LS 11 41%
C Green T 5 19%
R Blankenship K 5 19%