This past Sunday, the Colts were able to collect their first win of the young season against the Minnesota Vikings on a final score of 28-11. It was a huge bounce back victory after a tough loss to Jacksonville in week 1.
Let’s see how the thermometer has changed since last week.
As always, I like to start with the negatives, but the list is much shorter this week compared to last.
The most important negative is the injuries. Injuries are plaguing the Colts roster through just two weeks. First it was Marlon Mack in week 1, now Malik Hooker is out for the season with a torn achilles and Parris Campbell is out for an extended period as well. All three of these players were going to make big impacts on the team, and having them gone will be a big blow.
The only other major negative is the struggles of TY Hilton. Hilton has had rough games in back to back weeks. He accumulated 3 receptions for 28 yards on Sunday, but was targeted 5 times. One of those targets was well defended by the DB for the Vikings. The other target, however, was a near perfect pass by Philip Rivers right into the end zone for an easy touchdown, but the ball was dropped by Hilton after hitting both of his hands.
After the game, Frank Reich blamed the drop on the sun. Lucas Oil Stadium has a retractable roof, and the Colts decided to open it up for the game, which caused the sun to be a big factor. Reich also claims that Hilton is the last guy to worry about.
Frank Reich says he believes the glare coming down from the sun inside Lucas Oil Stadium might've impacted TY Hilton's end zone drop yesterday. It was really bright in there. "I'm not worried about TY ... he's the last guy I worry about."— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) September 21, 2020
While Hilton should have no problem bouncing back soon, Reich said the exact same thing about Adam Vinatieri when he was struggling last season and we all know how that turned out.
I’ll start with the obvious. Jonathan Taylor had complete control of this game from start to finish. He had 26 carries for a total of 106 yards, his first 100 yard rushing game of the season. A lot of the credit should go to the offensive line who had a very strong overall performance as well. When the run game works, it translates to a very controlled and confident offense which is exactly what the Colts displayed on Sunday.
It wasn’t just the running that made an impact. The other major star of the game was tight end Mo Alie-Cox. Alie-Cox brought in 5 catches for 111 yards with a long of 33. He said he was up for the task after Jack Doyle was ruled out for the game, and he was. A stellar performance from the backup tight end, you could not ask for more.
Defensively, it was a total team effort. It seemed as though every single player made some sort of positive contribution. The Vikings put up a field goal on their opening drive to start the game 3-0 in their favor. They did not score again until the fourth quarter when the game was practically put away. Vikings quarterback, Kirk Cousins, had a 0.0 passer rating at one point in the third quarter, and went 11/26 passing with 113 yards, 0 TDs, and 3 INTs.
Darius Leonard and DeForest Buckner both had outstanding performances on Sunday, but the biggest and most important defensive standout was rookie Julian Blackmon. Blackmon, coming off of injury, had two tackles and two passes defended. On one play, he swatted away the pass and it went right into the arms of Khari Willis for the interception. Blackmon made a great first impression for the Colts, and he is someone to look out for as the season continues.
Last week, the thermometer had a very low temperature. The Colts lost to the Jaguars, and that should have never happened. They proved this past week that they can play a complete game of football and control the pace of the game via the run. Looking at the next four, the Colts play the New York Jets (0-2), Chicago Bears (2-0), Cleveland Browns (1-1), and the Cincinnati Bengals (0-2). All of these are extremely winnable games. If the Colts play their best football, they should go 4-0. The thermometer is heating up. We’ll see if this trend continues.