Packers vs. Colts: Instant Grades, Analysis for Indianapolis

Kyle J. RodriguezCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2012

Packers vs. Colts: Instant Grades, Analysis for Indianapolis

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    Final Score:

    Indianapolis: 30 , Packers: 27

    Coming off of their early bye week, the Indianapolis Colts had a fantastic comeback to beat the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium.

    After a horrible first half, the Colts had a fantastic second half to come back, and rookie Andrew Luck led a game-winning touchdown drive with fantastic pocket presence and sharp throws. 

    Reggie Wayne and Luck will share this game's MVP award, as Wayne continued to get open time and time again, and refused to let any pass get through his hands. 

    Overall, just a great effort by each unit, and the Colts earned the big upset by coming out of halftime

    Be sure to keep this slideshow open today, as it will be updated soon with final player grades and analysis for each player. 

Quarterbacks

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    Andrew Luck: A

    Arguably his best performance, Luck was harassed all day by Green Bay rushers, but was able to, for the most part, get rid of the ball and make safe, smart decisions to move the ball down the field. He didn’t have much help throughout the game, with poor pass protection and dropped balls ending several drives. He looked more accurate this game, not missing his receivers and finding the open guy, whether that was down the field or a check down. 

    But the most impressive part of Luck's game was his direction of the no-huddle offense especially during the game winning drive, as he consistently found receivers (mostly Reggie Wayne) for first downs. His most impressive play was a double clutch throw downfield, all while Clay Mathews was draped all over him. 

    He may not be Peyton Manning, but he played like it today, passing for 364 yards, two touchdown passes, and another one running. 

Running Backs

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    Donald Brown: A-

    Brown made the most of what he was given today, epitomized by the very first run of the game. Hit in the backfield, Brown got about six yards after contact, turning the broken play into a three yard gain. He was at his best throughout the game when he bounced outside turning what could have been a 2-yard dive play into 8-12 yard gains around the end. His pass protection was just average today.

    Overall, easily Brown's best game of the year, totaling 84 yards on just 17 carries for the day, including a tough two point conversion on the game-winning drive. 

    Vick Ballard: B

    Ballard didn’t impress running the ball in the first half, but had some impressive blocks in blitz pickups. He showed some nice patience to turn a broken draw play into a six yard gain in the third quarter, part of a touchdown drive. 

Wide Receivers

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    Reggie Wayne: A+

    Wayne started the game out in typical fashion, catching two balls to help move the chains. He followed it up with as pretty a catch as you’ll see on third down in the second, with a one handed beauty to move the chains. 

    Wayne stepped it up even more in the second half, and was the MVP of the comeback. Luck found him time and time again, and Wayne displayed impressive hands as he was hit several times. The game winning touchdown belonged to Wayne, as he showed fantastic fight to stretch for the TD. 

    He ended with 13 catches for 212 yards. 

    Donnie Avery: C+

    Avery got open deep a few times throughout the game, but Luck was unable to hit him. Avery needs to get open more consistently, but he has the talent to be a downfield threat. 

    He did finish with three catches for 22 yards.

    T.Y. Hilton: B

    Hilton started out with a poor drop on a deep pass on the sideline, but the play was offset by penalties anyway (had another drop later). Hilton did make up for it with two catches for 11 yards later in the half, and a big 26-yarder to set up the Colts’ third field goal. 

    Hilton's drops are concerning, but his ability to get open downfield has been impressive thus far. 

    Nathan Palmer: D

    The Colts newcomer was not seen for most of the game, but when he was, he dropped a pass at the goal line to stall a late drive in the second half. 

Tight Ends

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    Coby Fleener: B

    Fleener showed some strong hands early in the game to allow for a 4th-and-inches, impressive considering his lackluster start to the season. He also had a nice 18-yard catch and run for a first down as the Colts drove late in the half. He also had a couple good catches underneath in the fourth quarter to help move the ball.

    His miscommunication with Winston Justice did allow for a hard hit on Andrew Luck in the first half.

    He finished with five catches for 41 yards.

    Dwayne Allen: A-

    Allen got his second touchdown catch of the season, bringing in the short flat route and fighting to get in the endzone. Later in the quarter, Allen had a couple very impressive catches to move the chains. Overall, it was his most impressive game, and without him, the Colts’ comeback may have never happened. 

    Totals: 4 catches for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Offensive Line

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    Anthony Castonzo: C+

     Castonzo’s illegal hands to the face penalty in the first quarter was harmful, but overall he did an impressive job holding his own against Clay Matthews. However, the Green Bay stunts did confuse him a few times, leading to hits on Andrew Luck.

    Jeff Linkenbach: B

    Better than expected run blocking allowed the Colts run the ball effectively in the first quarter and second half.

    A.Q. Shipley: B

    Shipley played very well in place of starting center Samson Satele. The best accolade for an offensive lineman is to not be noticed, and that was the case for Shipley today.

    Mike McGlynn: B+

    McGlynn was very good in pass protection this week, arguably having the best performance of the line.

    Winston Justice: C-

    Two false starts in the first half helped to stall drives, and then allowed a very scary hit on Andrew Luck. Fortunately, the referees called a questionable helmet-to-helmet penalty to wipe out the sack.

    Justice allowed a few hits and pressures on Luck later in the game as well, a much different performance than last week’s solid game. 

    Overall, the offensive line was much better in run blocking this week, and they stepped up when they needed to in pass protection, giving Luck enough time during the game winning drive to find open receivers. 

Defensive Line

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    Cory Redding: B+

    Redding had a very poor unnecessary roughness penalty in the second quarter, and the 15-yard penalty set the Packers up for a touchdown on the drive.

    But, Redding did have a great sack on Rodgers in the third quarter, as he tried to escape the pocket, and then another in the fourth quarter, providing some great stops in a defensively fantastic second half.

    Drake Nevis: B

    Nevis got more snaps this week, deserved after playing well in limited time in Week 3. He played well, holding his position well on the line and helping to limit the Packers’ run game in the second half.

    Ricardo Mathews: C+

    Mathews had a mixed game, getting pushed back on a few run plays, including a first quarter touchdown run by John Kuhn. He did however get penetration on a few run plays, causing zero or limited gains. 

Linebackers

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    Robert Mathis: A-

    He got a hit on Rodgers in the redzone, forcing a throw into coverage that was incomplete. He had a few pressures throughout the game, including a sack in the fourth quarter. However, he was injured on the play and forced out of the game.

    Dwight Freeney: B

    Freeney did get a sack in the second half, but wasn’t as disruptive throughout the game as the Colts would like. He did have a nice play to disrupt a run to the outside in the third quarter.

    Jerrell Freeman: B-

    Freeman was getting a lot of tackles, in coverage and run support, and led the Colts on the day with eight tackles. You’d like to see a bit more dynamic play, with pass defenses and run stops, but a solid effort.

    The most important tackle of the game was Freeman's open field tackle of Randall Cobb on the final drive, keeping him in bounds and limiting the gain. 

    Kavell Conner: B+

    Conner was back to his run stopping ways this week, after a poor game against Jacksonville. Conner had multiple stops in the backfield against the runs.

    Moise Fokou: A-

    Fokou played very well in rotation, getting some big hits both against the run and in pass coverage. Overall, his tackling was very solid, and provided a big boost off the bench, especially with a fourth quarter sack.

Defensive Backs

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    Jerraud Powers: C+

    Powers had a below-average start to the game, getting beat by Jordy Nelson long (Rodgers missed with the pass), and then again on a double-move curl for 15 yards. He was beat later by Nelson on a similar hook play, and Randall Cobb on a touchdown pass late in the second quarter.

    Powers did get an impressive interception in the second half, somewhat making up for his first half performance. Overall, though, a poorer than average performance by Powers.

    Cassius Vaughn: B

    Vaughn showed some impressive coverage and ball skills to stop an attempted touchdown pass in the first quarter. He did allow a few completions later in the game, but tackled well and wasn’t the liability he was expected to be.

    Josh Gordy: B-

    Gordy allowed a touchdown on a short pass to James Jones on a third down in the second quarter, allowing both the catch and the fight forward for the touchdown. Other than that though, Gordy, like Vaughn, was better than expected, and helped limit the Packers to six points in the second half. 

    Antoine Bethea: C+

    Bethea didn’t make the big plays that he usually does, and had a poor horse collar penalty to give the Packers 15 extra yards. On the Packers’ 41-yard run late in the fourth, he missed a tackle, but made up for it with a good pass defense on the failed 2-point coversion.

    Tom Zbikowski:  C+

    As usual, Zbikowski was fairly invisible throughout the game, but he did have an impressive pass defense in the first quarter, saving a touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter however, he had a horrible missed tackle to set up the Packers’ go-ahead touchdown. 

    From what we saw of the safeties, it's hard to give them an above average grade, but bot helped keep the Packers' pass offense in check in the second half. More All-22 analysis is needed for in depth game grades for all of the defensive backs, but the second half performance as a unit was impressive. For that half alone, I'd give them, as a unit, a solid A. 

Special Teams

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    Adam Vinatieri: B+

    Vinatieri was three for four on the day, his only miss was a 53-yarder that was just left. He hit 50-yarder just minutes later, as well as two chip shots in the second half.

    Pat McAfee: B+

    McAfee didn’t get as much work this game as he has in the first three weeks, but his punts were solid, and had the hang time to allow the gunners to limit the punt returns.

    T.Y. Hilton: C+

    Hilton had a few rookie mistakes in returns this week, including putting the Colts in a terrible position after taking a fair catch on the five yard line late in the fourth quarter. He had no turnovers though, which is a step up for Colts' returners. 

Coaching

10 of 10

    Chuck Pagano: A

    He wasn't here, but his spirit was, and the team used the emotion to take over the second half to get the big upset. #ChuckStrong was present all game. 

    Bruce Arians: A

    The interim head coach showed some guts early in the game, going for it on 4th-and-inches in the first quarter. He also chose to receive the initial kickoff, a choice I never agree with.

    Arians had a poor mistake in the second quarter, throwing the challenge flag on a scoring play, which are automatically reviewed. Thus, challenges are not allowed, resulting in a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff. 

    However, the second half adjustments on offense worked great this week, as the team outscored the veteran Packer team 27-6. The team had so much poise and control in the second half, it's a testament to the coaching and leadership. 

    Greg Manusky: A+

    It cannot be overstated how good of a job Manusky did to hold the Packers to six points in the second half. The Colts were down two of their top three cornerbacks on the day, but the makeshift secondary was phenomenal in the second half. 

    The blitzes worked in the second half as well, as the Colts ended up with five sacks in the second half, a huge factor in the defensive dominance in the half.