Bills vs. Colts: Final Player Grades, Analysis for Indianapolis

Kyle J. Rodriguez@@coltsauth_kyleCorrespondent INovember 25, 2012

Bills vs. Colts: Final Player Grades, Analysis for Indianapolis

0 of 10

    Final Score: 

    Indianapolis 20, Buffalo 13

    The Indianapolis Colts beat the Buffalo Bills at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a crucial Week 12 matchup. 

    With the win, coupled with a Pittsburgh loss, the Colts move to (7-4) on the season, and are in complete control of the fifth seed in the AFC. Sure, they've got there by beating poor to mediocre teams, but the fact that the Colts are 7-4 just a year after winning two games is astounding. 

    Here are some final grades and analysis for Indy's players following this big win.

Quarterback

1 of 10

    Andrew Luck: B

    Luck didn't have a great game, going just 20-for-37 for 240 yards, but he made the big plays necessary for the Colts to win, as they converted eight of 16 third downs to win the game. 

    Luck's sole interception came on a tipped pass, where it was either a poor throw or miscommunication between him and Reggie Wayne. Either way, put the blame on Luck, even though the ball was tipped by Wayne before a defender grabbed it.

    Nevertheless, Luck came up with a big drive after that throw, and was better for the rest of the contest. It's great to see him bounce back like that. 

Running Backs

2 of 10

    Vick Ballard: B-

    Though he finished with just 41 yards on 13 carries, overall Ballard didn't have a bad game. He didn't have much room to work with, and made it worse for himself on a couple plays. But he did a good job of finding yards here and there. He did have a drop at the goal line that forced a short field goal in the first half, as well as a false start in that first quarter. 

    Donald Brown: B

    Brown had even less to work with than Ballard and really couldn't find anything up the middle. But his speed was extremely crucial, especially with an 11-yard run for a first down in the fourth quarter that helped to ice the game. Brown also had a very shifty 23-yard catch and run in the first half to set up a score. 

Wide Receivers

3 of 10

    Reggie Wayne: A+

    Wayne had yet another impressive, consistent day with eight catches for 102 yards, five of those gaining first downs for the Colts. Opponents know that Wayne is the No. 1 guy to stop, but they still haven't been able to stop him this season, as he recorded his 59th straight game with at least three catches, an NFL record. 

    T.Y. Hilton: B+

    Although Hilton had just three catches for 33 yards, one was an 18-yard completion on 3rd-and-11, and another was the sole offensive touchdown on the day. 

    Donnie Avery: C-

    Avery only got three catches on eight targets for 31 yards, including at least one drop. He also had a fumble in the third quarter that was fortunately recovered by Dwayne Allen. 

Tight Ends

4 of 10

    Dwayne Allen: B-

    Allen wasn't as involved this week with just three catches for 36 yards. He did have a nice catch-and-run 24-yarder, but had at least one costly pass that he should have caught. Allen also had a fortuitous recovery of a Donnie Avery fumble.

    Wesley Saunders: C

    Used sparingly, Saunders was mediocre in blocking and came up with just one four-yard catch in the game. 

Offensive Line

5 of 10

    Anthony Castonzo: B+

    Castonzo continues on his streak of good games (now at three) with another solid performance. He kept Luck clean for the majority of the game, and was once again the best run-blocker.

    Joe Reitz: C

    Reitz got beat badly a few times, but also had some impressive stretches. I'll need more film to accurately judge him for this one. 

    Samson Satele: F

    Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus dominated Satele all game. After a couple of impressive outings from Satele, he looks much like he did in the first half of the season, struggling both in pass protection and in the run game. 

    Mike McGlynn: C-

    McGlynn was his usual mediocre self, not being the worst lineman on unit, but not good either. He struggled to provide much room at all on the right side of the line. 

    Winston Justice: D+

    Justice was fantastic to start the season, but he's struggled in the second half of the season. This week he was manhandled by Mario Williams, allowing him his first three-sack game as a member of the Bills.

Defensive Line

6 of 10

    Cory Redding: C-

    Redding had a nice stuff in the third quarter to get a run stop, but other than that he was not much of a factor. The Colts need more from him, especially in a pass-rushing aspect. 

    Fili Moala: B

    Moala had one of his best games of the season, adding to last week's impressive outing. He got a lot of penetration to start the game, and was shedding blocks well to get run stops. Along with posting five tackles, he tallied a batted pass on a very athletic play. 

    Antonio Johnson: C-

    In the first half, Johnson had a nice push to get pressure on Fitzpatrick. Outside of that, he was ineffective and made just one tackle on the day. However, the middle of the line didn't get pushed around very much, and it was good to see Johnson holding his ground to some extent. 

Linebackers

7 of 10

    Robert Mathis: A-

    Mathis was all over the backfield this week. In addition to notching a sack, he had two quarterback hits in the game, including a play where he hit the quarterback's arm to disrupt a pass. 

    Dwight Freeney: C+

    Freeney had a couple nice pass rushes and blew up a run early in the game by holding his edge and pushing the blockers up field. However, he also had an offside penalty, failed to get a sack and allowed several long runs on his side by failing to hold the edge. 

    Jerrell Freeman: A

    Finishing with 16 tackles (three for a loss), a sack and an additional QB hit, Freeman was all over the field. He usually makes a lot of mop-up tackles, but he was proactive today with some big plays on defense. 

    Kavell Conner: B

    Conner was his usual aggressive self, which had some repercussions this week. He read the plays correctly and filled the holes often, but on several occasions this led to big gains on cut backs by the running back. 

    Moise Fokou: C

    Fokou had a nice pass defense but also dropped an interception, and he was underwhelming against the run. 

Defensive Backs

8 of 10

    Darius Butler: B-

    Butler gave up a big 63-yard catch to Stevie Johnson early in the game, but was decent in coverage outside of that play, as the Colts forced Fitzpatrick to throw it quickly. Butler was much better this week in covering the quick stuff. 

    Cassius Vaughn: D+

    Embarrassed by Johnson for most of the game, Vaughn struggled to cover both short and long passes. He got lucky that he didn't give up more with a long overthrow to an open receiver and a dropped pass. On a positive note, he did make a nice play at the end of the game to force the Bills' final punt. 

    Josh Gordy: B

    After not giving up much on a day where Fitzpatrick threw 33 passes, Gordy was surprisingly solid in the slot all afternoon. 

    Antoine Bethea: A-

    Bethea made several touchdown-saving tackles on the day, one on C.J. Spiller's 41-yard run and one on Stevie Johnson's 63-yard catch. These types of tackles were what won the game for the Colts, as the Bills were unable to find the end zone for most of the game. 

    Tom Zbikowski: C+

    Zbikowski made some impressive plays on the day, including a pass defense and an interception. Unfortunately, he made a terrible play by fumbling the ball on his interception return. He also struggled to provide much support in the run game. 

Special Teams

9 of 10

    Pat McAfee: A

    McAfee had a poor game against the Patriots, but came back with a great game this week, helping to limit the Bills to just 24 yards in punt returns. He averaged over 50 yards per kick, including two kicks that pinned the Bills inside their own 10-yard line. 

    Adam Vinatieri: A

    Vinatieri hit both of his chip-shot field-goal attempts of the day (19 and 25 yards), and was perfect on PATs. 

    T.Y. Hilton: A

    The game's first score was an electrifying 75-yard punt return for a touchdown from Hilton, who showed great agility and acceleration. He made a couple moves and then ran away from everyone for an easy score. Hilton would add 36 more yards on three more punt returns on the day. 

    Joe Lefeged: D+

    Lefeged struggled to return kicks on the day, and returned several from deep in the end zone that got little yardage. He only got past the 20 on one of his four returns. 

Coaching

10 of 10

    Greg Manusky: B+

    Manusky did a good job keeping a potentially explosive Bills offense off-balance, getting pressure on Fitzpatrick and keeping the Bills outside of the end zone. The play-calling early in the fourth quarter wasn't great, as it allowed the Bills to move down the field on short slants and screens, but overall it was a good performance. 

    Bruce Arians: B-

    The offensive play-calling was interesting today. The Colts came out with very odd calls in the first half, and they set themselves up with long third downs too often. They also struggled in the red zone. But, they came out in the third quarter and put up a long touchdown drive to put the game firmly in the Colts' hands, one of the few times we've seen them start strong in the third quarter.  

X