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Colts vs. Chargers: Important Takeaways from Monday Night Football Showdown

Oct 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) turns to hand the ball off to running back Ryan Mathews (24) during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA
Mike MoraitisAnalyst IOctober 15, 2013

The San Diego Chargers pulled off an upset on Monday Night Football after they topped the Indianapolis Colts, 19-9.

It was a surprisingly bad performance for a Colts team that has enjoyed wins over top-flight teams like the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. After failing to get their run game going, the responsibility of winning the game was squarely on the shoulders of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who simply couldn't get the job done.

On the flip side, the Chargers got a huge win at home against one of the better teams in the league this season. The biggest shock coming out of this game was that San Diego didn't need Philip Rivers' arm alone to win, as they got 102 yards on the ground from running back Ryan Mathews against a lackluster Colts run defense.

San Diego's defense kept Indy in check all night and never let its opponent get into the end zone. In the end, four field goals and great defense made all the difference in the Chargers' win over the Colts.

Let's take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from this game.


Colts Run Defense is Awful

Oct 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) runs for a short gain during the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

The Chargers haven't been able to run the ball on anyone this season as evidenced by their No. 21 ranking, but that didn't matter in Week 6 as San Diego ran right through Indy's defense to the tune of 147 yards on 37 carries with Mathews accounting for 102 of them.

For Mathews, it was his first 100-yard game of the season to add insult to injury, and it's obvious why the Colts possess the NFL's No. 30-ranked run defense.

This is a huge problem for the Colts moving forward. Normally, Indy has been able to stop the pass this season, but that will be much more difficult if the Colts are forced to stack the box as teams try to attack their biggest weakness.

The success the Chargers had on Monday night won't go unnoticed and rest-assured that the Colts' future opponents will look to pound the rock from here on out as they have all season long.


Keenan Allen is a Stud

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 14:  Keenan Allen #13 of the San Diego Chargers scores a touchdown against Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium October 14, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen has stepped up in a big way in recent weeks as the Chargers are missing key players at the position like Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander.

Allen has answered the bell with two consecutive 100-yard games and a touchdown in each. In Week 6, the California product broke his career-high in receptions with nine and compiled 107 yards through the air.

As Rivers continues to build a track record with Allen, the 21-year-old will keep seeing the ball more and more, week to week, in the Chargers' pass-first offense, and he could play the role that Alexander did last season as an upstart in San Diego's passing game.


Colts Need More From Their Passing Game

Oct 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle (32) breaks up a pass intended for Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener (80) during the second half at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 19-9. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hane
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Five different Colts receivers dropped passes on Monday night with one of them being a potential touchdown grab that was mistimed by Darrius Heyward-Bey.

On a night when the Colts couldn't get their ground game going, it was of vital importance that Indy do something through the air. Instead, a ton of dropped passes halted that possibility and Luck was taken out of the game almost entirely.

With a No. 23 ranking through the air, it's clear the Colts could use Luck more as they did last season when he threw for 4,374 yards, but that can't happen until Indy's receiving corps actually holds onto the ball.

Without an effective passing attack, Indianapolis will be predictable and far easier to stop.


Chargers Defense Has Some Life

Don't look now, but that normally dreadful Chargers defense (No. 27 and No. 23 against the pass and run, respectively) actually looked great in this game and, hopefully, that's a sign of things to come.

San Diego was successful in holding the Colts' No. 4 rushing attack to just 74 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and forced a struggling Andrew Luck to beat them, which he couldn't do. Luck barely cracked the 200-yard mark and failed to get into the end zone while throwing one pick.

The Chargers were able to put pressure on Luck, thus making his job tougher. San Diego had just one sack, but they did total four QB hits and two pass deflections. A little luck was involved, also, as the Colts receivers appeared to have butter fingers all game long.

In total, the Chargers allowed an impressive nine points and zero touchdowns with the Colts being successful on just two of 10 third-down attempts. Should this defense continue to play at this high of a level, the Chargers would have one of the more complete teams in the league when combined with their offense.


Nick Novak is Reliable

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Kicker Nick Novak #9 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates his 50-yard filed goal during the fourth quarter against Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium October 14, 2013 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/G
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Believe it or not, Novak outscored the entire Colts team all by himself after nailing all four of his field-goal attempts.

Granted, he didn't exactly have long distances in most of them with the kicks coming from 31, 33 and 34 yards out, but he did nail a 50-yarder with under two minutes left in the game to give the Chargers a huge two-score advantage.

That field goal alone took Luck and his fourth-quarter heroics out of the mix and sealed the deal for the Chargers' third win of the season.

There's nothing like having a reliable kicker late in games when the score is close, and Novak is proving to be a big asset for the Chargers this season.

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