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Indianapolis Colts Championship Fever: Week 8

The Colts improved to 5-2 on the season after an overall dominant performance over the Detroit Lions. With a few hiccups here and there, Indy found themselves with a 41-21 victory by the end of the game.

Let’s see if the thermometer has changed from last game.


POSITIVES

Philip Rivers has been impressive the last two games. Combining both the Bengals and Lions game, Rivers has 52 completions on 77 attempts for a total of 633 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception.

This is the Philip Rivers that the Colts were looking for when they signed him, and they hope he can keep it up as the Colts get ready to play a string of tougher opponents in the coming weeks.

Jonathan Taylor did not have a strong showing on Sunday, but the other running backs more than made up for his lack of production.

Nyheim Hines led the team in receiving yards on Sunday with three catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

For the ground game, it was Jordan Wilkins who took over in the second half and he ran all over the Lions defense. Wilkins had 20 carries and rushed for 89 yards with a touchdown. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry on Sunday.

Wilkins was powering his way through defenders for extra yardage, and it often took more than one guy to bring him to the ground. Wilkins was outstanding on Sunday, we’ll see if Frank Reich will continue to give him opportunities like this.

On defense, the Colts line accumulated five sacks as well as eight QB hits, so they were applying pressure all day long on Matthew Stafford.

The Lions run game was absent for the majority of the game as well. The Colts held them to just 29 yards on Sunday, where they averaged 2.2 yards per carry.

Beyond the defensive line for Indy, a lot of the credit for defense should go to linebackers, Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke. The two of them combined for 16 total tackles, four tackles for loss, two QB hits, and a sack. This duo may be the key to stopping the Ravens offense this Sunday.

I wasn’t overly impressed with the Colts secondary, but Kenny Moore did have an interception that he returned for a touchdown, as well as a couple passes defended.


NEGATIVES

Starting with the offense, Jonathan Taylor had a very unimpressive game in my mind. We found out after the game that he was battling an ankle injury that Reich was unaware of, but some of Taylor’s decision making surprises me.

Wilkins was much more explosive on Sunday, and I would like to see him utilized more often in the run game. Reich insists that this is a running football team, so why not use all three of your running backs and play whoever is hot. Taylor, in my mind, is just getting too many opportunities and it is holding this team back.

On defense, I thought there were times where the secondary was under performing. Stafford passed for 336 yards on Sunday with three touchdowns and the one Kenny Moore interception.

Games like this are going to happen, and it doesn’t worry me yet, but there were times where the Indy corners were getting beat by the Detroit receivers.

Other than the continuous injury concerns, that’s just about it for the negatives. TY Hilton suffered a groin injury and missed the second half of the game.


FEVER

For the second year in a row, the Colts are 5-2 through seven games. Last year, they missed the playoffs even after such a hot start. This season, the team is completely different on offense and has only improved on defense. The only troubling thing is that these first seven games were the lighter part of the Colts schedule. They now are getting into a four week stretch of tough games with the Ravens on Sunday, followed by the Titans, Packers, and Titans again. All of those teams are above a .500 winning percentage, and contending to win their divisions.

I am not going to change the thermometer from last game. They performed really well against the Lions, but if they plan to make a big run in the playoffs, the Colts need to prove themselves in this four week stretch. It all starts on Sunday against Baltimore. If Indy can win that game, then we’ll talk about the thermometer heating up.