Alec Pierce has been an unsung hero for the Colts this season, either making the key block, or taking the top of the defense opening up the space for other receivers to exploit. This time though, it was his time to shine, as he caught two key passes that were the biggest difference between a win or a loss on Sunday, and it is even more encouraging for him that Minshews looks more ready to throw the deep ball.
Nick Cross finally saw the playing field more, with his 31 snaps on defense being the most he got since Week 2 of last year. He made an impact on defense recording four tackles and a pass breakup (though it could have been called for DPI) on an endzone throw to DeAndre Hopkins. Cross also was the one that blocked the first punt. Overall it was easily Cross’ best game of his career and if the recent trend continues he should play more.
Darrell Baker Jr.
Darrell Baker continues taking full advantage of his second chance and had another overall good game on Sunday. He is a big winner not only because he played well, but also because rookie cornerback Jaylon Jones struggled a lot both tackling and in coverage. With Julius Brents returning in the near future, it remains to be seen how the Colts proceed with the cornerback situation, but don’t be surprised if it is Brents and Baker taking most of the snaps.
When forced to start at cornerback against the Saints, Tony Brown was torched several times throughout the game, and was the focal point of the critics. He was never supposed to be there, as Brown’s specialty is special teams, and he showed that on Sunday, blocking the second punt and getting three stops.
Rodney Thomas II
I was never impressed by Rodney Thomas II, and was constantly frustrated by his lack of impact during games. He did not play the entire game for the first time this season, and with the way Cross is playing thus far it seems more and more likely that his snap share will continue decreasing over the upcoming weeks.
Minshew once again looked bad, and even though he did put together the game winning drive with an amazing deep ball to Pierce and then the pass to MPJ, he was constantly seeing ghosts, missing open players, overthrowing easy passes, and once again lost a fumble. The Colts are winning in spite of Minshew right now, and had he not put together that game-winning drive then some awkward questions would have started being asked about if Sam Ehlinger was not the better choice moving forward until AR returns.
Jones, as tends to happen with rookie cornerbacks every once in a while, had a terrible game against the Titans. He blew the run contain on Henry’s first touchdown run, and was picked on by DeAndre Hopkins. Overall not a good day at the office for Jones, even more so considering Darrell Baker has been playing well the past few weeks, and Julius Brents could make his return to the lineup as soon as next week perhaps.
Taven Bryan did not have a good game against the Titans, and with starting defensive tackle Grover Stewart making his return from suspension next week, there is only so much playing time to go around. Rookie Adetomiwa Adebawore has also been playing more, and the Colts look more inclined to play him that Bryan, so I would not be surprised to see his snaps decrease throughout the rest of the year.