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Colts snap counts vs. Bills: Wild Card round

NFL: AFC Wild Card Round-Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

OFFENSE

Save for one short-yardage quarterback sneak, Philip Rivers was in control of the Colts offense for the entire game. He made adjustments at the line of scrimmage to put Indianapolis in good positions and had a statistically productive showing. While it’s hard to fault Rivers for the Colts coming up short in Buffalo, it’s fair to acknowledge that he missed on a few big opportunities — including one overthrown pass to a wide-open Michael Pittman Jr. on 4th-and-goal.

A tough way to exit the playoffs, particularly at just shy of 40-years old.

P Rivers QB 78 99%
J Brissett QB 1 1%

The Colts had another productive day on the ground. 30 total carries for 163 yards and a touchdown is often the kind of production that ends in victory. Nyheim Hines produced 75 rushing yards on just six carries for an absurd 12.5 yards-per-carry average. He combined with Taylor to produce 153 of those 163 total yards.

J Taylor RB 48 61%
N Hines RB 32 41% 4 15% 2 8%

The highlight for the Colts’ wide receiver position on Saturday was Michael Pittman Jr. He brought in five receptions on 10 targets for 90 yards. He had possibly two would-be touchdowns that missed due in large part to bad throws by Rivers. If he brings in those passes he ends the day over 100 yards and with one or two touchdowns.

Much of the rest of the damage through the air was done by targeting other positions. T.Y. Hilton’s playoff stat line was two receptions on five targets for 32 yards — though he too fell victim to a deep pass that was short. Zach Pascal caught four receptions on five targets and added a touchdown but also got away with a fumble that should have ended the game.

Z Pascal WR 74 94% 6 23%
M Pittman WR 73 92% 6 23%
T Hilton WR 57 72%
A Dulin WR 9 11% 16 62%
D Harris WR 1 1% 5 19%

It was a very active day for the Colts’ tight end position. Jack Doyle led the team with seven receptions on nine targets for 70 yards and a touchdown. He broke loose to score in the second half and bring Indianapolis back within striking distance. If you include his productive day as a blocker, this could be one of Doyle’s best full games in a Colts uniform. After a slow start this year, Doyle has come around and stands alone as the team’s best tight end.

Mo Alie-Cox added four receptions on four targets for 32 yards and Trey Burton caught all three of his targets for 34 yards.

The Colts totaled 309 receiving yards. The tight ends were responsible for 136 of those.

J Doyle TE 57 72% 2 8%
M Alie-Cox TE 25 32% 4 15%
T Burton TE 19 24%

Perhaps the biggest surprise for the Colts late in the season is that after Anthony Castonzo went on injured reserve, previously retired (twice) tackle Jake Veldheer stepped in with very short notice. He had two games where he played well, often garnering no attention during games. When you don’t call out a tackles name on game day, the player is doing their job. Braden Smith has been doing that all season and Veldheer bailed the Colts out in a difficult situation.

It will be intriguing to see what happens for the Colts at left tackle moving forward. If Veldheer still feels like he wants to play, he might be worth retaining for a reasonable one-year deal even if Castonzo returns. This would give the Colts functional tackle depth and allow a draft pick to develop to take over in 2022.

B Smith T 79 100% 4 15%
Q Nelson G 79 100% 4 15%
M Glowinski G 79 100% 4 15%
R Kelly C 79 100%
J Veldheer T 79 100%


DEFENSE

While it wasn’t a huge day for the defensive line on the stat sheet, this unit did a good job of keeping Josh Allen bottled up for much of the game. Outside of some quarterback runs, Allen didn’t do a ton of damage outside of the pocket — or at least not nearly as much as he would or could have if he wasn’t kept “in the well” for most of the game. Though the defensive line produced two sacks. Kemoko Turay’s limited time in the game included a colossal blunder, an offsides penalty in the first half that extended Buffalo’s last drive and helped lead to a touchdown.

D Buckner DT 51 86% 10 38%
D Autry DE 44 75% 5 19%
J Houston DE 37 63%
G Stewart NT 35 59% 10 38%
A Muhammad DE 33 56%
T Lewis DE 18 31% 4 15%
T Stallworth DT 9 15% 6 23%
K Turay DE 9 15%

It was another typical day for Darius Leonard. He led both teams with a combined 12 tackles and worked hard to strip the ball and cause a turnover in the second half. While his efforts didn’t yield the results he wanted, his presence on the field helped the Colts defense keep an extremely hot Buffalo offense in check.

D Leonard LB 59 100% 5 19%
B Okereke LB 43 73% 6 23%
A Walker LB 18 31% 11 42%

Kenny Moore continues to be the best member of the Colts’ secondary. It’s a shame the NFL has yet to update the roster spots for Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams to include a nickel corner. In modern defenses, most base defensive units include a nickel. He did a nice job on Saturday and rookie Isaiah Rodgers used his limited snaps to have two would-be interceptions overturned. The first was a free play after Kemoko Turay jumped offsides late in the first half and the second was a ball he nearly intercepted in the end zone.

No one in the secondary had an answer for Stefon Diggs, though.

K Moore CB 59 100% 5 19%
T Carrie CB 56 95% 2 8%
X Rhodes CB 55 93%
I Rodgers CB 5 8% 15 58%

Blackmon and Willis did their jobs for much of the afternoon. They combined for 10 total tackles but neither were able to force that game-turning play either. This is a solid safety combo heading into the future. In 2021, Blackmon will be entering his second season, and Willis only his third. Both need to stay on the field and healthy because working together all off-season should help them become even better.

K Willis SS 59 100% 2 8%
J Blackmon FS 59 100%


SPECIAL TEAMS

The Colts' special teams units were incredible much of the afternoon. Buffalo was pinned deep in their own territory regularly in the first half. Winning the field position battle was huge for Indianapolis and kept them in the driver’s seat much of the way.

This performance turned on the foot of rookie Rodrigo Blankenship. His missed field goal from 33-yards out followed a make by Bills’ rookie kick Tyler Bass from 46-yards. Bass would later hit another, which ended up being the game-winner, from 54-yards. If Blankenship hits his short field goal attempt, the game goes to overtime — and the Colts would have had a real shot to win in the extra period.

M Adams LB 22 85%
Z Franklin LB 22 85%
G Odum FS 22 85%
J Glasgow LB 21 81%
E Speed LB 14 54%
T Wilson SS 9 35%
R Blankenship K 9 35%
T Smith CB 9 35%
R Sanchez P 6 23%
L Rhodes LS 6 23%
C Green T 4 15%
D Pinter G 4 15%