MVP of the Game: Michael Pittman Jr. / Colts’ special teams
Once again it was MPJ leading the Colts’ receivers, and this time he even went as far as catching the game-winning touchdown. He ranks fourth in the NFL in receptions right now, and deserves every single penny of whatever extension he is offered in the offseason.
Honorable mention for the Colts’ special teams unit, who had two blocked punts, was perfect on field goals and extra points, and even had a long kickoff return that put the Colts in great field position when the offense was struggling to move the ball.
Dud of the Game: Jaylon Jones, Gardner Minshew
Jaylon Jones had by far his worst game this season, as the rookie cornerback looked constantly overmatched against DeAndre Hopkins, and he seemed aloof in the running game, even blowing the contain on Henry’s first touchdown run. He was also called on an unfair DPI late in the game that was most likely a make up call for a missed flag on Cross earlier in the game. Games like this one are bound to happen for rookie cornerbacks, and I am still high on Jones, but yesterday was tough to watch.
Minshew is a weird case. Had he not put together the game-winning drive in overtime then I would be calling for his benching right now. His past three games (Patriots, Buccaneers, Titans) have been abysmal to watch, and he looks like he is playing scared most of the time. History is written by the victor however, and Minshew won yesterday, so I will not be as hard on him.
Play of the Game: Minshew connects with Pierce for 55-yards
For all the hate I threw Minshew’s way during the course of the game, he put together a beautiful game-winning drive in overtime that sent Titans’ fans home in tears, and he won me back over for that. I had plenty of plays to choose from for this one, MPJ’s game winning touchdown, any two of the blocked punts, but I picked the Pierce deep ball because of how beautiful it was, and because of what it means for Pierce who has had a rough sophomore season. Just look at that spiral... beautiful.
Whammy of the Game: Titans’ pick-two
Boy was this one bad. The Colts’ defense was dominating the Titans. They had no wind on their sails at all, and we had just blocked a punt and returned it to the house. The momentum was completely on the Colts’ side, and then, Gardner Minshew happened. He sailed the pass high to Moss (something that would repeat itself again on a key third down to Josh Downs), the ball was tipped, and the Titans returned it all the way for two points. That meant the Colts were up by 3 instead of potentially 7, just a really bad outcome.
Unsung Hero: Darrell Baker Jr.
Darrell Baker’s redemption arc continued on Sunday as he once again had himself a solid game all around. He got two pass deflections, four solo tackles and overall just seemed much more connected with the game itself than when the season first started. With the Colts making a playoff push, once Brents returns the two best cornerbacks on the team are the rookie and Baker right now
Rookie of the Week: Nick Cross
I know Nick Cross is not a rookie but he had not played more than 10% of the snaps in a game since Week 2 of last year, so I am counting this one. Also because there was no other rookie with a meaningful impact on the game. Cross played 31 snaps and racked up five tackles. It is evident that he is a much more explosive athlete than either Thomas or Blackmon, so I will monitor his career with great interest.