Colts vs. Titans: Final Player Grades, Analysis for Indianapolis
Indianapolis: 19, Tennessee: 13
The Colts pulled off the comeback win in Tennessee with a methodical drive in overtime. Donald Brown got 6 carries for 39 yards in OT, and Luck converted a crucial 3rd and 8 with a 20 yard completion to Reggie Wayne. Vick Ballard finished the drive off with an incredible 16-yard catch and run, ending with a leaping, spinning dive for the pylon.
Keep this slideshow open as it will soon be updated with final player grades.
Andrew Luck: A
Andrew Luck didn't have a perfect game, but it was arguably his most impressive performance to date, with his highest completion percentage and Y/A. He looked better under pressure this game than he has all season, moving in and out of the pocket to extend the play and make key completions.
He gets credit for the comeback due to a stellar fourth quarter and overtime, where he went 8/10 for 88 yards and the game winning touchdown. In a game where he made countless crucial plays, one sticks out above the rest, as he hit Reggie Wayne downfield for 20 yards while being hit.
Luck did have one interception, but it was a result of miscommunication between him and Reggie Wayne, rather than a poor decision or throw.
Donald Brown: A
Brown looked like himself on his first game back, being able to get out of trouble in the backfield with his speed. He took over in overtime, running six times for 39 yards, including a 19 and nine-yard carry (he had another 19-yarder earlier in the game). He finished with 80 yards on just 14 carries.
Vick Ballard: A-
Ballard started out the game well, running for over five yards per carry in the first quarter. It trailed off a little for the rest of the game, but Ballard still was able to find some room, running for 55 yards on 12 carries, including a 17 yarder. But the play of the game was his diving, spinning touchdown catch to win the game in overtime.
Ballard still doesn't have the speed to get outside sometimes, but he runs hard and is a very good complement to Donald Brown.
Delone Carter: A
Carter was the short yardage weapon on Sunday, coming in in the fourth quarter when the Colts absolutely needed a first down. He succeeded with a seven yard run on 4th-and-1, and then followed it up with a leap over the pile for a one-yard TD run.
Mewelde Moore: C-
Moore wasn't in much, but when he was he dropped a short pass for what would have been a first down. He did have a screen pass for 13 later in the game that allowed the Colts to kick a field goal, but for a team with depth issues across the board, Moore brings little to this position.
Reggie Wayne: A
Wayne once again was the only player to be able to get open consistently, and it showed with seven catches and 91 yards. Wayne showed that he still has the athleticism to make acrobatic catches, bailing Andrew Luck out several times.
Donnie Avery: C-
Avery had a bad personal foul in the first half that stalled a driving Colts’ offense, and has only contributed 2 catches for 27 yards in the first half. He wasn't any more involved in the second half, with two more catches for just 15 yards. He also had a bad drop on the goal line, but fortunately the Colts were able to score on a Carter run later in the drive.
T.Y Hilton: B-
Hilton contributed more this week, getting involved in screen passes and downfield throws. He finished with five catches for 35 yards, including a gorgeous sideline, toe-tapping pass in the second half.
Coby Fleener (A) and Dwayne Allen (B)-
Fleener and Allen were once again being reliable safety valves for Luck before Fleener was injured in the third quarter.
Four of the tight ends five catches were for first downs, the other got the Colts into field goal position at the end of the first half.
Allen did have two potential fumbles in the game, but fortunately one rolled out of bounds and the other was declared dead before the ball came out.
Anthony Castonzo: C-
Castonzo struggled this week, giving up a lot of pressure to the Titans’ edge rushers. He was successful in blocking on delays and draws, giving Donald Brown and Vick Ballard room to run in the second half.
Jeff Linkenbach, Samson Satele, Mike McGlynn: B-
I put these three together this week because they did a much better job as a team than in previous weeks. While Tennessee was able to get pressure up the middle at times, Overall Luck was able to step up in the pocket and avoid the edge rushers for most of the game. They were also able to provide Brown and Ballard with room to run up the middle in the latter portions of the game, something that has been incredibly difficult for the Colts this season. The unit still is one of the weaker ones on the team, but it was a good performance overall.
Winston Justice: D+
Justice had another weak game this week, allowing several pressures, including one sack, and his run blocking still leaves much to be desired.
Cory Redding: C-
Redding was a little disappointing in his return. He's the most dynamic defensive lineman, but he didn't give the Colts anything in pass rush this week. He ended up with three tackles on the day, but none were in the backfield.
Antonio Johnson: C-
Johnson was better against the run this week, his second game in the row where he’s been passable. The problem comes in the pass game, where Johnson is unable to get any pressure at all.
Drake Nevis: C+
Nevis was able to get a big sack in the first quarter, but failed to get much pass rush later in the game. He helped to bottle up Chris Johnson for most of the game as well.
Jerry Hughes: B-
Hughes was able to fight through a double team to get a sack in the third, but it was a coverage sack more than anything. Hughes was much less disruptive this week than in weeks previous.
Dwight Freeney: C-
Freeney continues to struggle to make an impact, not being noticed for most of the game (zero stats of any kind). He aided Hughes to get the Colts lone sack in the third, but again, it was more of a coverage sack than anything.
Both outside linebackers seem to generate more attention from the offense this week, but the Colts' interior DL was unable to take advantage of it.
Jerrell Freeman: B+
Freeman is by far the most active linebacker, being involved in play after play for the Colts. You would still like to see him make more plays behind or at the line of scrimmage, but a good game for Freeman finishing with 14 tackles.
Kavell Conner: B-
Conner, as usual, made some very good plays against the run, but also allowed Chris Johnson to get a couple big gains on cutbacks. Conner finished with four tackles, one of which was the linebacking unit's only tackle for a loss (outside of Hughes' sack).
Pat Angerer: Inc.
Angerer didn't get as many snaps this week, due to his recuperation from his foot injury. However, he did have a crucial pass breakup in the fourth, albeit with his helmet.
Jerraud Powers: D+
Powers allowed a couple catches, as well as an illegal contact penalty, but also drew an offensive pass interference in the first half. He continued to play inconsistently in the second half, but was a strong tackler (10).
Cassius Vaughn: D
Vaughn came in after Vontae Davis went out with an injury, and the drop off was noticeable. Vaughn gave up several first down catches, the touchdown pass to Kendall Wright, and a couple penalties.
Antoine Bethea: B-
Bethea looks to be able to tackle again, making some strong tackles to clean up others’ messes. I'd like to see better play from him in coverage, as the corners will need more help deep in man coverage, but still an overall good day from Bethea, who ended with eight tackles.
Tom Zbikowski: C-
Once again, he looked invisible. The only play that stands out from him in the game was a missed tackle on a running play.
Adam Vinatieri: A
The veteran kicker was able to hit both of his unblocked attempts, crucial in a game that only saw 26 points scored in regulation.
Pat McAfee: B-
McAfee's directional punting was lacking today, as his punts only ended up with a net average of 24 yards. However, some of this wasn't his fault. He had a great punt to the Titans' nine-yard line in the first half, but the Colts' coverage allowed a 19-yard return.
FG unit: D
The unit allowed the Colts' field goal attempt to be blocked at the end of the first half, nearly leading to a disastrous touchdown return.
What few kicks that were returned didn't go far, with just 28 yards on three kick returns. The effort wasn't helped by Cassius Vaughn's muffed catch in the first quarter.
Bruce Arians: C+
Arians knew he had to be more aggressive in the fourth quarter, when a fourth down conversion led to a game-tying touchdown. However, he missed an opportunity to do it in the first quarter, instead kicking a 20-yard field goal. He also didn't allow Andrew Luck to go for the game-winning score in regulation, conservatively letting the clock run down instead. Luckily, it worked out in OT.
Arians' play calling was better this week, allowing their short-yardage back, Delone Carter take the crucial carries in regulation, and then ride a surging Donald Brown to victory in OT.
Greg Manusky: C+
Manusky's defense couldn't put it all together in this game, choosing to get gashed by either the pass or run throughout the game. However, when it got down the redzone, the Colts held their ground, and were able to limit the Titans to field goals.