Indianapolis Colts' Preseason: Tom Brandstater Outplays Curtis Painter
The Colts' 37-17 loss to the 49ers was both unimportant and telling. The first team offense looked crisp, including wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez who recorded one reception for 18 yards, in his return from injury.
The defense looked shady as the game progressed, but only the second-and third-stringers had real problems with San Francisco's power running game.Indianapolis allowed Niner's sixth-round pick Anthony Dixon to rush for 100 yards on 21 carries.
Nearly all of the preceding is unimportant except maybe Gonzalez's successful return because the rest can be attributed to this being the first real action the Colts have seen in quite sometime.
The Colts are a championship caliber football team and a blowout lose in preseason play is nothing to get worked up about.
QB Battle Round One Winner: Brandstater By a Mile
The Colts' battle for back-up quarterback heated up or cooled down depending on your perspective.
Although neither Tom Brandstater nor Curtis Painter played very well, Brandstater outperformed Painter in the always-reliable eye test.
Brandstater is more athletic, has a stronger arm and on this day, he was far more accurate. He completed eight of 12 passes for 34 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
Painter had an awful day at the office completing nine passes out of 19 attempts for 64 yards and three interceptions.
Brandstater had a below average quarterback rating of 63.2 but Painter was far worse with a revolting 16.0. To answer your question; yes, the quarterback rating is still on a scale from 0.0 to 158.3.
I would not be the least bit surprised if Brandstater gets more snaps next time out. He may even take over for Manning against Buffalo next week.
Anthony Gonzalez Update: Wideout Looks Agile In Return
Anthony Gonzalez looked just fine in his first game back since injuring his knee in 2009. He was targeted twice and caught a screen pass from Peyton Manning and turned it into an 18-yard gain.
Needless to say (I always hate when people use that phrase) he showed some speed, quickness, and agility after the catch.
Many were speculating whether he would have the same burst that made him so successful in Columbus and in his rookie season and 2008 campaign.
As far as I could tell, during limited playing time mind you, Gonzalez looked nearly 100 percent.
Next week Colts' fans should get a better look at Gonzalez when most NFL teams play their starters for the entire first half.
Colts' Running Game: Still Lacks Big Play Ability and Consistency
No one can say they didn't try. The Colts as a team ran the ball 24 times but only averaged a meager 2.4 yards a carry. Not nearly good enough.
Joseph Addai earned 11 yards on five carries, most of which came on a seven yard touchdown run.
The Colts' backups had a bit more success but the longest runs of the day were 11-yard gains by Mike Hart and Devin Moore.
Indianapolis would like to be more balanced this year and not lean as much on Peyton Manning and the passing game.
But without a more consistent rushing attack and no big play threats to speak of, the Colts' rushing attack looks as if it will be a non-factor once again in 2010.
Whether you choose to place the blame on play calling, the offensive line or the runners themselves, the running game is simply weak.
If I were Bill Polian, I would consider adding more speed to the backfield or at the very least finding someone who can carry the rock more than 15 times a game and average four yards a carry.
It is still a work in progress and the first game of the preseason is too early to write Addai and Donald Brown off.
But someone needs to step up because in order to consider yourself a title contender, you have to keep opposing defenses honest with at the threat of a moderately successful running game.
Rookie Impresses: Pat Angerer Plays Well In Debut
Colts' rookie linebacker Pat Angerer looked pretty sharp in Sunday's contest. He had a nose for the ball all day long, recording eight tackles, five solo and sacked the quarterback twice.
Angerer looked pretty quick out there and could play his way into more playing time this season.
Angerer seems to be adjusting to the NFL quite well and looks to be gaining a firmer grasp on the Colts' defensive playbook.
Although it is earlier and it is important to monitor high expectations, this guy seems to be fitting in very well in Indy and could be very productive in 2010.
Colts' Return Game: Average
Average would be the word I would use to describe the Colts' performance in the return game.
Florida product Brandon James and Samuel Giguere looked good during kick returns, averaging 24.8 and 24 yards respectively, per return.
James returned one punt for five yards and although you felt as if he could make something spectacular happen, he never did.
The one thing you can say for both James and Giguere is neither looked bad in the return game but neither did anything to separate themselves or earn the responsibility outright.
The preseason is long and there will be chances for both to prove themselves, so far they have done nothing to deter Jim Caldwell from giving them both roster spots.