Colts vs. Jaguars: Full Roster Report Cards for Indianapolis
Indianapolis left Jacksonville with a 37-3 win and all eyes on Seattle, but first, let's reflect on this one.
The defense played phenomenally for the second straight week, with the secondary playing well to complement a dominant ground defense. The Colts offense started out slow but was jolted by running back Donald Brown's 50-yard run in the second quarter and woke up to score 30 points.
The Jaguars are really bad, so keep that in mind, but the Colts played a solid game and did what they needed to in this one. Avoiding a letdown in this game was paramount, and the Colts did extremely well in not allowing that to happen, both during the game and as an overarching goal for the game.
So we know the team played well, but why? Who were the individual MVPs in this one?
Andrew Luck: B
It's hard to fault Luck for a 22-of-36 day when he throws for over seven yards per attempt and two touchdowns, but the second-year quarterback was oddly off target during the first quarter, and the offense sputtered because of it. Luck had communication issues with both T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward-Bey that led to missed plays and an interception.
Luck's been a bit off throughout the first four games. It's been speculated about quietly over the last few weeks, but he almost seems like he's taken a step back, at least when it comes to reading the field and finding open receivers.
He's still an incredible talent with great mobility and intelligence at the line of scrimmage, and he has led the Colts to 3-1 with key conversions on third down, an area where he was outstanding as a rookie and continues to be as a second-year player.
Trent Richardson: C-
The former third overall pick was better this week than he was against the 49ers, mixing a few more six- to eight-yard runs in, but he still underwhelmed. Richardson ran for 60 yards but took 20 carries to do so, and still struggled to find room to run between the tackles. His pass protection has been a mixed bag so far as well.
Richardson did score another goal-line touchdown against Jacksonville, a role that he should see more of as the season progresses.
Donald Brown: A
Brown's time was limited, but he was incredibly effective when he was in, running for 65 yards on just three carries and adding 11 receiving yards on two catches. Brown's 50-yard scamper in the second quarter was the turning point for the Colts offense. The fifth-year back isn't going to be the Colts' lead back, but he certainly has a place as a change-of-pace back.
Reggie Wayne: B
Wayne finished with five catches for 100 yards, his 42nd game with at least 100 yards. The grizzled veteran made each catch count, as he earned a first down or touchdown on each catch. However, Wayne had two drops early in the game, and it took a while for him and Luck to round into form.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: D+
The former Raider has shown through four weeks why he was allowed to leave Oakland so easily, simply not making much of an impact. Heyward-Bey caught three passes for 33 yards, only one of which was actually helpful. One pass was a four-yard screen on 3rd-and-24, while another came from Matt Hasselbeck after Luck sat down.
T.Y. Hilton: C+
The Jaguars are the latest team to take Hilton's big-play ability out of the game, as the former FIU student was held to 48 yards on five catches. Hilton finished with just 9.6 yards per catch, the lowest average on the team.
Coby Fleener: A-
The second-year tight end continues his solid start to the season with 77 yards on five catches, including a 31-yard touchdown. Fleener made several tough catches in traffic and was a dependable target for Luck with just two incomplete passes thrown his way.
Dominique Jones: B
Jones blocked fairly well Sunday and caught a pass out in the flat that he took for 21 yards. Jones doesn't have a particularly important role to play, but he's playing it well.
The Colts finished with a team yards-per-carry average of 5.3, but if you remove Donald Brown's 50-yard run, that number drops down to 3.7. The offensive line simply didn't open up much throughout the day for Trent Richardson, whether that was up the middle or around the edges. When Stanley Havili got a few carries in the fourth quarter, it was like running into a wall full speed.
The tackles on both sides have carried the Colts' pass protection, but they weren't quite as stout Sunday and couldn't make up for Mike McGlynn and Jeff Linkenbach's ineptitude in the middle. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus was an indirect cause for both of Luck's sacks, although left tackle Anthony Castonzo had a decent game.
Run Defense: A+
The Colts came into Sunday determined to shut down Maurice Jones-Drew, and shut him down they did. Jones-Drew ran for just 23 yards on 13 carries, the worst game he's ever had against Indianapolis (minimum of five attempts). His worst game previously? A 15-carry, 46-yard effort in 2010.
Pass Rush: B-
The pass rush was slightly above average Sunday as the Colts managed to accumulate nine quarterback hits on Gabbert, and Cory Redding picked up a sack. The defensive line didn't get as much penetration as the defensive coaches may have liked, but it did enough to make things hard for Gabbert without needing to blitz.
Robert Mathis: A+
Mathis continues his torrid pace to start the season, earning three more sacks Sunday to settle in at 7.5 just four weeks into the season. Mathis is currently tied with Justin Houston (KC) for the league lead and has 99 for his career. He has a real shot at breaking Dwight Freeney's franchise record of 107.5 in the next few weeks.
Erik Walden: B
Walden was a part of a defense that kept Jones-Drew contained and even managed to get a couple pressures on Blaine Gabbert. Walden wasn't spectacular by any means, but he did his job.
Jerrell Freeman: C-
Pat Angerer: C
Both inside linebackers were pretty invisible for most of the game as the defensive line did most of the work in run defense, and the Colts gave up a decent amount of targets in the middle of the field and flats. The difference between them? Freeman got tacked with a defensive holding penalty, and Angerer did not.
Vontae Davis: A-
Outside of a couple iffy angles in run support, Davis was exceptionally strong once again against Jacksonville. Davis finished with two pass breakups and an interception, and he provided tight coverage throughout the game. His strong tackling at the catch helped limit the Jaguars to minimal yards after the catch as well.
Greg Toler: B+
Toler wasn't targeted as much as Davis was but also didn't make the plays that Davis did. Together, however, they put the clamps on the Jaguars receivers much like they did against San Francisco last week. With minimal safety help over the top, the Colts corners gave Gabbert very little to work with.
Darius Butler: A-
Butler continues to look strong in the slot, tackling well and making plays on the ball with an interception and another pass deflection. Of course, Butler also returned the pick back for a touchdown, so bonus points are his for the taking.
Antoine Bethea: A
The Colts secondary is playing with more energy than Indianapolis has seen since the days of Bob Sanders, and it all starts with Bethea, who emanates leadership from the back. Even without starting safety LaRon Landry next to him, Bethea flies all over the field, making plays against both the run and pass.
Delano Howell: B
As well as Howell has played in Landry's stead, the Colts defense sees little drop-off. Howell is a sure tackler and has shown decent instincts in coverage. His versatility has allowed the Colts to continue to run their safeties in interchanging roles.
Adam Vinatieri: A
The old man was 3-of-3 on the day, making 22-, 46- and 28-yard field goals against Jacksonville. He isn't quite as consistent as he once was, but "Vinny" was perfect on the day, and that always nets an A in my book.
Pat McAfee: B
McAfee wasn't bad with an average of 46 yards on his punts, but his net average was just 36 yards, as a touchback and an "out-kick-your-coverage" situation allowed Jacksonville to get some of those yards back. He did kick off six times and four times forced a touchback.