Critical Takeaways from the Indianapolis Colts' Week 3 Win

Joe Tacosik@@JoeBobTacoCorrespondent ISeptember 25, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after scoring in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts walked away victorious in their Week 3 matchup against the heavily favored San Francisco 49ers. The Colts, coming off a Week 2 late-game loss to the Miami Dolphins, had plenty of questions heading into Sunday's game that were answered. Moving forward, we'll take a look at a few of those answers.

Presence of the Run Game

The Colts have always had a history of being a pass-first offense, I didn't have to tell you that. Which is why it came as a surprise when the Colts ended Sunday with more rushing than passing yards.

As seen in the table, Indianapolis running backs had a field day with the San Francisco defense. Indy's game plan coming into Sunday was very evident throughout the game—to run it right at the 49ers and make them stop the attack.

If the Colts can keep Ahmad Bradshaw rolling, accompanied by Trent Richardson's growing knowledge in the new offense, Indy could become known for their featured backfield, something foreign to the people of the Circle City since the days of Edgerrin James.

Containing Kaepernick

Last week, I called for criticism regarding head coach Chuck Pagano's defensive adjustments in the wake of the Miami loss.

This week, I am calling for praise.

Pagano and the staff called a nearly perfect defensive game, managing to hold the 49ers to 284 total yards. San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick struggled to figure out the Colts defense, only completing 13 passes for 150 yards and an interception. On the ground, the third-year QB only managed 20 rushing yards on seven attempts.

Anyone who says the 49ers 'abandoned' the run in their loss to Colts is simply ignorant. Watch the tape. Colts shut down SF run.

— Brad Wells (BBS) (@StampedeBlue) September'>https://twitter.com/StampedeBlue/statuses/382679203248107520">September 25, 2013

This defense, the one the Colts exhibited on Sunday, is one that could carry the team on a deep playoff run. Now, we must wait and see if this was a defensive adjustment for the season or just a one-game hit of luck.

Luck's Presence

[Insert comical, play-on-words headline involving Andrew Luck's last name here.]

No, but honestly, this kid is special. There is no luck involved.

Quarterback Andrew Luck's quest to prove his validity in the NFL continues, as the second-year Stanford man is continuing to impress. Though Luck had a career-low 164 passing yards Sunday, his biggest contribution came on a six-yard bootleg touchdown on a 3rd-and-3 in the fourth quarter.

Luck's decision to keep the ball and roll out was apparently unplanned, according to Chuck Pagano's interview with Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star.

Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano didn’t know Andrew Luck was going to keep the ball on a key third down at San Francisco’s 6-yard line in what became a touchdown to solidify Sunday’s victory. But he wasn’t surprised. ...

“All I heard was ‘sucker,’ ” Pagano said with a laugh during Monday’s media briefing at team headquarters. “Long play call and then I heard ‘sucker’ at the end of it.

“As soon as I saw him in the end zone and (spiking) the ball, it felt awesome.”

"It felt awesome" is exactly how I would describe watching Luck's touchdown run on Sunday. The touchdown sealed the upset-victory, and was an exhilarating exclamation point on the day.

Looking Forward

Indianapolis has a very typical "trap-game" coming up in facing Jacksonville, Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, CBS). The Colts must be careful in looking forward to Week 5 against the Seattle Seahawks and focus on the task at hand.

While the Colts should handily win in Jacksonville, this would be exactly where coming off a signature win could hurt a team. However, with Richardson having more rest and a better grasp on the playbook, combined with the defensive adjustments Pagano made last weekend, I look forward to watching this team have the opportunity to, once again, impress the country.


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