Rams vs. Colts: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Indianapolis
This isn't going to be a fun one.
We've done eight weeks of report card grades for Indianapolis already this season, but no game has gone this poorly. The Colts simply couldn't catch a break in this one, as everything that could go wrong did.
Offense, defense, special teams and coaching all get partial blame for the loss, but it's one that the team will need to bounce back from quickly, with a game against the Tennessee Titans coming on Thursday night.
Before we look ahead, however, we have to look back at this one.
Andrew Luck: D
I love Andrew Luck. The vast majority of the time, he isn't to blame for what goes wrong for Indianapolis.
On Sunday, he was terrible.
It started with Robert Quinn's sack/fumble on the Colts' first drive. The hit, and subsequent pressure throughout the game, rattled Luck. His throws were visibly affected, sailing high and wide of open receivers. His reads were also affected, as he, like last week, seemed to rush his reads and miss open receivers at times.
Luck finally settled down a little in the second half, but he was forced to makes some tight throws out of desperation and picked up a couple of interceptions. His three picks on the day doubled his season total.
Luck will bounce back, and he still has the brightest future of any young quarterback in the league, but this was the second-year pro's worst game of his career.
Trent Richardson: C-
Donald Brown: C
Neither back was really able to find any kind of space Sunday in the running game. Richardson ran five times for two yards, and Brown ran twice for minus-one yard. The Colts tried Richardson on a few outside runs, but he simply doesn't have the speed to get around the edge. Brown was run up the middle a couple times, including a stuff on third down early in the game.
It's hard to blame the backs in this one. The Colts abandoned the run early, and the their backs added more help through the air—Brown with 64 yards and a touchdown and Richardson for 33 yards.
T.Y. Hilton: B+
Hilton once again led all of the Colts receivers with 130 yards on seven receptions. He will continue to be the team's No. 1 target with Reggie Wayne out.
Hilton was very efficient on Sunday, catching seven of eight targets. The negative for him? He should have had a touchdown, but he tripped after catching a long ball down the middle. A few plays later, Luck threw a red-zone interception, and the Colts missed out on points.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: D/Griff Whalen: D
The two receivers caught six passes for 66 yards on Sunday and didn't get consistent separation at all. Heyward-Bey continues to frustrate everybody with his inconsistent hands, and his $2.5 million contract sure seems exorbitant. Whalen was a practice squad player a few weeks ago and looks like it.
Uh-oh. DHB did drop that one on third down. Should have been first down. Instead, #Colts punting. Fans unload with boos. Deserved.— Phillip B Wilson (@pwilson24) November 10, 2013
Coby Fleener: C-
Fleener and Luck's connection was a bit off to start the game, but they ended up connecting on four passes for 36 yards and a two-point conversion on the day.
At times, Fleener looks great, but at other times he completely disappears. And his blocking leaves something to be desired—his poor chip on Robert Quinn directly led to the defensive end's sack/fumble in the first quarter.
Pass Blocking: F
Run Blocking: F-
What a mess.
The Colts offensive line has had some poor games in the past, but this may be one of the worst it's had in the Pagano era. It seemed as if at least one guy was allowing penetration on every single play.
In the running game, the Colts handed off to their backs a combined nine times for two yards. Their complete inability to run the ball bled into their passing game as well and is a huge concern going forward.
The pass protection wasn't there either. Luck was banged-up early with sacks (the Quinn one being the big one, but he was sacked another time by Quinn and once by Chris Long as well), hits and hurries.
Run Defense: B
Pass Rush: C-
The Colts did a decent job of containing Zac Stacy, who ran for just 62 yards on 26 carries. The defense was able to keep him bottled up for the most part. It did allow Byron Cunningham to run for a 56-yard run late in the game, but it was the Rams' final possession at that point.
Unfortunately, they Colts were unable to get any kind of pressure on Kellen Clemens when he dropped back, outside of pressure from Robert Mathis. The defensive line's job this week was to keep Clemens in the pocket, but it allowed him to escape the pocket and convert key first downs by making throws on the run several times.
Robert Mathis: B+
Mathis had two sacks to bring his total to 13.5 on the season and 105 in his career. He needs just 2.5 sacks to tie Dwight Freeney's career and single-season franchise records. He disappeared as the game went on, but that's mostly because the Rams stopped passing.
Jerrell Freeman: C+/Pat Angerer: C+
The two inside linebackers finished with 18 combined tackles and did a good job of containing the Rams' running game. Unfortunately, they did allow a few short passes to gain extra yards on key third downs early in the game, allowing the Rams to move the ball on a few drives. Overall, however, it was a solid game for both linebackers, which was nice to see, as they've had some inconsistent days this season.
Erik Walden: C-
Walden finished with two assisted tackles and zero impact in pass rush. He set the edge well enough, but he was simply invisible for most of the game. His backup, Bjoern Werner, finished with three solo tackles, one for a loss.
Vontae Davis: D
Davis didn't get repeatedly burned in this game, but the two mistakes he made were big ones: 57- and 81-yard touchdown passes. One was a blown coverage that was a communication error, and the second was a rub play in which Davis got caught in traffic trying to track Tavon Austin across the field.
It's the second week in a row that Davis has allowed two touchdowns. He's been solid outside of those four plays, but those four plays have had a huge impact on the game.
Cassius Vaughn: D-
Unlike Davis, Vaughn actually was picked on for most of the game. He was much more consistently bad, even if he didn't have the lows that Davis did. The loss of Greg Toler to injury has been a big one for Indianapolis over the last two weeks.
Antoine Bethea: C-/LaRon Landry: C-
The two combined for eight tackles, but where were they when the Rams moved down the field with big plays? The corners deserve more blame for the defensive failures, but the safeties have to be more present.
Adam Vinatieri: Inc.
The veteran didn't have a single attempt Sunday. Of course, this is the week I picked him up in fantasy.
Pat McAfee: A
He punted six times for 49.7 yards per punt. The big punt return by Austin was not his fault.
David Reed: F
Three returns, zero times reaching the 15-yard line.