Browns vs. Colts: Final Player Grades, Analysis for Indianapolis
Colts: 17, Browns: 13
The Colts took advantage of a poor Cleveland defense in the first part of the game, moving the ball with ease. But, as the game went on, the Colts' offense went conservative, and stalled more often than not in the second half.
However, the Browns were unable to take advantage, as they also only scored on one possession in the second half.
Keep this slideshow open as it will soon be updated with player grades.
Andrew Luck: B+
Luck still needs to improve his deep accuracy, but overall made much better decisions this week, and moved the offense with ease. His willingness to tuck the ball and run led to two touchdowns, something he didn’t do much against the Jets last week.
He seemed to struggle to get into a rhythm in the second half, and took three sacks, including one that led to a lost fumble. Luck threw 11 passes in the second half, completing six. Only one of those completions was more than 10 yards, a 13-yard strike to Donnie Avery on 3rd-and-20. But, in this game, with the lead against an inferior Browns' team, it was better for him to take the short throws and not force anything downfield, lest he turn the ball over as he did last week.
Overall Luck was 16 for 29 with no interceptions or passing touchdowns. He did have two rushing touchdowns.
Vick Ballard: B+
Ballard once again struggled to find room to run, getting just over three yards per carry in the first half (although he did convert a third and short).
In the second half, however, he came alive, along with the Colts' run blocking, and allowed the Colts' to take a lot of time off the clock. Ballard had a Donald Brown-like run to the outside late in the fourth for 26 yards, a big chunk of his 84 total yards (on 20 carries). Ballard also had a 19-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter to help set up the Colts' first touchdown.
Delone Carter: B-
Carter had a few nice runs, but it seemed like he left some yards on the field at times. He also had a dropped pass in the second quarter. He finished with eleven runs for 41 yards.
Mewelde Moore: C-
Moore brings a variety of skills to the table, but is the least talented runner of the group. He had three carries for 11 yards.
Reggie Wayne: A
Wayne continues to show why he’s been an All-Pro, being the most reliable player on the Colts’ offense once again. He made a lot of tough catches with pressure from the defender this week, preserving drives, especially earlier in the game. He finished with a game high six catches and 73 yards.
Donnie Avery: B
Avery had a few nice catches, but as the game wore on, he couldn't connect with Luck on any downfield passes. He finished with four catches for 46 yards.
T.Y Hilton: C+
Hilton continues to be the third option at wide receiver, but his hands continue to be a question, having another drop. He finished with just two catches for 22 yards.
Coby Fleener: B-
Fleener was a reliable target for Luck on third down against the Browns, catching two passes to convert on third downs.
Dwayne Allen: C
Allen also was able to be a weapon on third down, using his strength to power forward for extra yards.
Once again, both tight ends were phased out of the offense as the game wore on, and weren't heard from after the Colts' first second half drive.
Anthony Castonzo: A
Castonzo played very well in the game, protecting Luck well and continuing to be the most consistent run blocker on the squad.
Jeff Linkenbach: C+
Linkenbach was my initial instinct for the worst run blocking lineman of the day. I didn't notice the backup in pass protection as much as we have before, which was good, but the line will surely benefit from getting starter Joe Reitz back, which will likely happen next week.
Samson Satele: B
Satele rebounded from a terrible game against the Jets with a good game in run blocking and pass protection this week.
Mike McGlynn: B-
McGlynn still isn’t the strongest run blocker, but it has improved since last week’s debacle. He did give up at least a portion of a sack in the third quarter.
Winston Justice: C
Justice allowed a couple pressures in the first half, a disappointment after not allowing a single pressure last week. He also had a false start that helped to stall the Colts’ long third down drive.
Antonio Johnson: B
Johnson was much better this week, after one of his worst games of his career against the Jets last week. He even got a quarterback hit on Weeden, something that he generally struggles with.
Drake Nevis: B+
Nevis looked good starting this week, holding his ground and keeping the Browns’ running game from getting going. The Colts’ coaches will have to consider starting him over Fili Moala when Moala returns from injury.
Clifton Geathers/Lawrence Guy: B
Both backups looked good this week in run defense, helping the defense stall the Browns’ run offense. They didn’t provide much in pass rush, but the run game was lacking for the Browns.
Jerry Hughes: B-
Hughes caused a false start in the first to push the Browns back five yards on third down in the second quarter, but they were still able to score on the next play. Hughes was able to get pressure on the quarterback several times in the second quarter as well as two run stops to get the back down in the backfield.
Dwight Freeney: C+
Freeney was better this week in pass rush, but still is obviously not 100%. He did end up getting a quarterback hit and a stop on a screen play.
Jerrell Freeman: B+
The inside linebacker was all over this week, getting a quarterback hit, and having numerous run stops. Freeman did have a personal foul on a blow to the quarterback’s head, but overall had another impressive day for the former CFL player.
Kavell Conner: A-
Conner continues to be a strong defender on run plays, starting the game off strong with a stop in the backfield. As the Browns’ were in passing situations for most of the game, he was needed, but when he was, he was effective.
Pat Angerer: B
Angerer looked good in his return to live action, showing up all over the field with hard hits and textbook tackles. The coaches will surely be looking to get their inside linebackers optimal time in the game as the season wears on.
Jerraud Powers: C-
Powers had another sub-par game this week, and was targeted throughout the game. Not only did he give up a 33-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon, but he would have given up another long touchdown had Gordon not dropped the easy catch. However, Powers also knocked down a pass on the Browns' fourth down try as they tried to go ahead on a two minute drill.
Vontae Davis: B+
Davis was easily the best cornerback today, as he had tight coverage for most of the game. He did give up a few completions, but overall it was a good performance for the former Miami player.
Cassius Vaughn: C-
Vaughn, like Powers, gave up multiple completions throughout the game. He played well against the Packers two weeks ago, but has been below average since.
Antoine Bethea: A
Bethea bounced back after a poor game against the Jets last week with a great game today. Bethea was all over the field, making stops against the run and hitting hard in the defensive backfield.
Tom Zbikowski: B
Zbikowski was finally noticeable for a good reason this week, knocking down a couple of passes and having a very good open-field tackle to end one drive in the second quarter. The Colts need him to play like that every week if the defense is going to even just be respectable.
Adam Vinatieri: A
Vinatieri only had one field goal attempt this week, and hit the 37-yarder right down the middle.
Pat McAfee: B
McAfee's kickoffs all went deep into the endzone, and his leg was not faltering in punting the ball either, averaging over 48 yards per punt. He got one to spin down at the Browns' 10-yard line, and nearly got another to bounce out inside their five.
The Browns' dangerous Josh Cribbs was largely held in check both in punts and kickoffs, where penalties brought back any long returns. LaVon Brazill in particular had a beautiful open field tackle to corral him late in the fourth quarter.
Bruce Arians: C
I loved Arians' aggressiveness to go for it on fourth down twice, but I wish it would have translated to play calling. The Colts' conservative offense in the fourth quarter again led to the Browns having a chance to win the game. Arians also had some strange clock management/timeout use throughout the game, especially in the first half.
Greg Manusky: B
Manusky's defense was much better this week, especially in the run game. At times individual players failed (I'm looking at you Powers and Vaughn), but the defense as a unit stepped up in the second half, much like they did in the Green Bay game.