The Colts struggled on offense, but the defense carried the day and now the Colts have a 3-1 record. This was not an easy stop by any means, the Bears have a really good D and Nick Foles was coming off a spectacular comeback versus the Falcons. Still, Indy managed to come away with a very important win before facing a renewed Browns squad.
MVP of the Game: DeForest Buckner
Honorable Mention: Julian Blackmon
Buckner has transformed the Colts defensive line. Justin Houston looks even better than he did last season, Denico Autry is finding some consistency rushing the passer, and Grover Stewart is starting to tap into his amazing potential. All of this is mainly thanks to the addition of Buckner on this line, and his impact was on full display on Sunday. He is the type of player that wreaks havoc on opposing gameplans, and yesterday he completely shutdown the Bears running game.
Dud of the Game (The Grigsy): Running Game
The Bears have not been good against the run this season, last week they were gashed by the Falcons and the Detroit Lions also managed to find their groove on the ground. I was expecting a big game out of the Colts backfield, and perhaps even a coming out party for Jonathan Taylor. Instead, I got just a meager 3 YPC (excluding Rivers’ kneels), and no consistency running the ball. Taylor was OK, but Hines and Wilkins struggled to find any open holes or break tackles.
Play of the Game: Julian Blackmon’s interception early in the 4Q.
I’m really excited for the future of the Colts defensive backfield with Blackmon emerging as the perfect complement for Khari Willis. Yesterday, Blackmon made the play of the game by intercepting Foles early in the fourth quarter to essentially erase any hopes for a Bears comeback.
Worst Play of the Game: Any running play by Wilkins or Hines
Hines and Wilkins combined for 39 yards on 18 carries (2.1 YPC). I expect Reich to ride the hot hand more instead of insisting with something that clearly is not working. Yesterday, neither Hines nor Wilkins could find any success on the ground, but Frank continued feeding them meaningful carries. This Colts’ offense will only go as far as the running game takes them, so yesterday’s performance was a big red flag.
Best Position Group: Front 7
Even though they failed to pressure Foles consistently, the front 7 was lights out against the run. Making the Bears offense as one-dimensional as possible was key for getting the win in a low-scoring game.
Unsung Hero: Jordan Glasgow
With Matthew Adams out for the season, rookie Jordan Glasgow is now getting special teams action. Yesterday, he was all over the place, blocking a punt and making a crucial tackle on Cordarrelle Patterson. After a rocky 2019 season, the special teams unit finally looks like it got it together, which is really encouraging to see.
Rookie of the Week: Julian Blackmon
The best way to describe Blackmon is as a playmaker. He is constantly making plays, either knocking the ball out of the receiver’s hands (refs botched the call, that was a fumble), breaking up passes, or picking the ball himself. A number that really shows Blackmon’s impact: he has 5 passes defensed in 137 career snaps. Hooker had 3 passes defensed in 788 snaps all last season (h/t Kevin Bowen).