Braden Smith vs. Maxx Crosby
Maxx Crosby lined up against Braden Smith throughout most of the game, and while the All-Pro caliber pass-rusher got a few wins here and there, it was a solid day in the office for Braden. It also helped that Matt Ryan returned as the starting quarterback, and his pocket presence, along with a simplified offensive playbook, getting rid of the ball fast, and the occasional chip by a running back or tight end helped keep Crosby in check.
Michael Pittman Jr. vs. Rock Ya-Sin
MPJ had a quiet but not particularly bad game against the Raiders, as he finished the game with 7 catches for 53 yards, including a couple of key first downs. The return of Matt Ryan has really helped him, as he looks much better with him at quarterback. Ya-Sin had yet another solid game in what is an underperforming defense, it was really great watching a former Colt that do this well, as Ya-Sin was always a class act.
Bernard Raimann vs. Chandler Jones
Rookie left tackle Bernard Raimann had the tough task to block experienced pass-rusher Chandler Jones, but he more than handled his own against him. Again, Raimann was benefitted by a quick hitting passing game and the re-emergence of the Colts’ running game, but it was still a promising game for (hopefully) our left tackle of the future.
Colts’ IDL vs. Raiders’ guards
The Colts’ interior defensive line once again dominated, with Buckner managing to pressure Carr consistently through the game, even getting a pass deflection, while Stewart was not only a force against the run as he has been this entire year, but he also got involved in the passing game, sacking Carr early on in the game.
Jeff Saturday making his head coaching debut
Plenty of things were said about Jeff Saturday before the game, and it all followed the theme of how his hiring was a “disrespect to the coaching position”. I think the former center quieted that non-sense from reporters that rely on making outlandish takes just to generate a few clicks and get some traffic going their way. Saturday simplified the playbook and the offense played one of their best games of the season as a result, as had it not been for a Keke Coutee fumble and a missed kick by McLoughlin they could have easily put 30 on the board. I doubt Saturday is the long term answer at head-coach, but he had a nice debut, and it was fun watching the Colts’ play yesterday.