Colts vs. Chargers: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Indianapolis
The game was stale, with few big plays, and for Colts fans, simply infuriating. The Colts were hampered by self-inflicted wounds throughout the game, whether that was drops, penalties or poor coaching decisions.
In their first nationally televised game of the year, the Colts came out unprepared and could not execute their game plan. While much of the national attention has been focused on the offensive philosophy and its deficiencies, the Colts also were simply outplayed on Monday, as execution failures marred both sides of the ball.
So which individuals were most to blame on Monday Night Football? Find out in this week's report card.
Andrew Luck: B+
Luck's final stats won't blow anybody away (18-of-30 for 202 yards and an interception), but Luck played well for the vast majority of this game. He was under duress in the pocket from the very first snap and did a fantastic job of avoiding pressure and still making plays.
The biggest detraction for Luck, however, was the receivers' drops. There were at least five drops with at least one or two passes that could have been caught with better effort. Many of the drops came on third down and killed drives. Luck was putting players in position to succeed, they just didn't get it done.
Trent Richardson: B-
The former third overall pick was his most impressive running the ball in this one, looking a bit more decisive and picking up a few yards after contact. Richardson also caught a short pass and bounced off of defenders to gain 10 yards on 3rd-and-5.
But, Richardson also had a noticeable breakdown in blitz pickup and dropped a wide-open screen pass in the fourth quarter that led to an Indianapolis punt. Overall, it was Richardson's best game, but some key mistakes still marred his performance.
Donald Brown: B+
The outcast to start the season, Brown continues to be the Colts' most efficient back. Brown ran just three times for 15 yards and caught two passes for 19 yards against San Diego, but each of his plays was successful, either going for a first down or five yards on first down.
Reggie Wayne: B
Wayne became the ninth player to catch 1,000 passes on Monday, his 1,000th coming on this shoestring catch. Wayne was the Colts' leading receiver with five catches for 88 yards, but had at least one drop. The drop was costly too, coming on third down and stalling the Colts' drive.
T.Y. Hilton: C+
Hilton caught five passes on Monday, but gained just 43 yards as the Chargers did a good job of limiting his availability down the field. Hilton did get one chance at a deep ball, and should have caught the ball, but didn't time his stretch correctly. Hilton also had a third-down drop.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: D+
He finished with one catch on two targets for 11 yards, and his other target was a poor attempt at a catch down the right sideline. He should probably just be called the invisible man at this point. Basically the only way the Colts can get him involved is through screens and short slants.
Coby Fleener: C
This is a theme by now, but Fleener had a poor drop in the middle of the field prior to halftime that probably would have been a touchdown had he caught it.
Fleener finished with just three catches for 16 yards on six targets. His routes on third down were consistently about a yard or two short of the first down, which cost the Colts at least two first downs.
Run Blocking: B
The Colts ran for 4.4 yards per carry on the day, but they never really established a dominating presence on the ground. They were simply too inconsistent on the day. A few nice runs would get buried under a couple short gains that set the Colts up in poor situations.
Pass Protection: C+
Anthony Castonzo was better this week, but the rest of the line was not. Mike McGlynn and Samson Satele were their usual less-than-stellar selves, and it really hurt Andrew Luck's rhythm, as he was forced to move in the pocket far more often than he should be. The line only allowed one sack, but that was due to Luck's uncanny pocket presence.
Pass Rush: D-
The Colts got zero pass rush for most of the game. Fili Moala had a nice hit on Philip Rivers early in the game, but outside of that, the Colts allowed Rivers more time than he ever should have had. The one sack the Colts did get from the defensive line came from Cory Redding, who continues his strong start to the season.
Run Defense: C-
The Colts allowed 147 yards and a 4.0 yard-per-carry average. There were a few nice individual plays (Ricky Jean Francois had a few stuffs, as did Redding), but overall there wasn't much to like here at all.
Robert Mathis: D+
The Colts' pass-rush motor, Mathis failed to register a sack for the first time this season. Mathis couldn't get past the Chargers' tackles at all, a disappointment considering LT King Dunlap ranks 49th among tackles in Pro Football Focus' pass protection grades (subscription required). Mathis did get one tackle for a loss, but was invisible for most of the game.
Erik Walden: C-
The much-maligned Walden did manage to get a little pressure on Rivers, but overall was below average. His lack of ability in run defense continues to be apparent.
Jerrell Freeman/Pat Angerer: Inc.
Both players left with injuries, huge blows to the Colts' already-thin linebacker corps. Neither player was playing fantastically before the injuries, but they are light-years ahead of their backups.
Mario Harvey: D
Harvey came in to replace Freeman and was immediately targeted by the San Diego offense. Harvey had 10 tackles, which is nice, but don't let that number fool you. Harvey was incredibly slow and was a key part in the Colts defense allowing San Diego to control the second half.
Kelvin Sheppard: C-
Sheppard wasn't as bad as Harvey, but he wasn't much better. He did pick up a key sack on Rivers, which led to a San Diego punt.
Vontae Davis: C+
It's hard to grade corners without All-22 footage, but Davis didn't seem to have as tight of man coverage as he has over the last few weeks. Rivers was able to complete passes to both Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown at times, although he did avoid Davis for the most part.
Greg Toler: D+
This week's "pick-on-me" player, Toler was the countless target of Rivers, especially on third down. Toler allowed several third-down conversions and committed holding/illegal contact penalties twice on third downs, sustaining drives for San Diego.
Darius Butler: B-
With the Chargers focusing on Toler, Butler wasn't targeted much at all on Monday. He's had a very strong start to the season, and that seemed to continue.
Antoine Bethea: B-
Bethea continues to be the leader of the defense and orchestrates a ton, but he missed a couple tackles very poorly on Monday, including one in the run game that led to big yards after contact.
Delano Howell: D+
He's been a good part-time replacement for LaRon Landry, but fans and media alike are ready to have Landry back in the mix. Howell struggled both against the run and in pass coverage on Monday, including allowing the lone touchdown of the game on a play that probably should have been an interception.
Pat McAfee: D+
McAfee averaged just 40.6 yards per punt and shanked his final punt poorly, setting the Chargers up for their game-clinching field goal. McAfee did have two that he pinned inside the 20, but the sting of that last punt hurts.
Adam Vinatieri: A+
Three for 3, including two field goals of over 50 yards, the first time he's ever done that in a game. He may be getting older, but he's kicking like he's 26.