The Indianapolis Colts came away with a 26-23 OT victory against the San Francisco 49ers. There were plenty of good and bad performances during this game. I evaluated the studs and duds from the Colts’ week five matchup.
Marlon Mack – The rookie running back displayed flashes of the player he can be, as he carried the football nine times for 90 yards, including a remarkable 25-yard touchdown. I did some additional research on Mack’s overall performance. He averaged 4.75 yards after a defender closed within one yard of him in Week 5. What’s even more impressive and perhaps mind-boggling is that the NFL average is only 3.74 yards this season. Once Pagano and the coaching staff cut Mack loose, he’s off to the races.
Jabaal Sheard – The Colts most dominant pass rusher beat 49ers Pro Bowl Left Tackle Joe Staley more than once Sunday. On his sack of Brian Hoyer, Sheard said, “Yeah man that’s what they brought me here for, I’m just doing my job.” Although Sheard only has 2.5 sacks in five games with the Colts, he is rated as PFF’s #12 edge rusher. The pressure Sheard has been applying to the quarterback is one reason for the Colts improvement on defense.
T.Y. Hilton – When T.Y. Hilton dropped a pass early Sunday, everyone on Twitter went ballistic. His response? Hauling in 7 catches for 177 yards, amounting to a monstrous 25.3 yards per reception. It took some time, but it looks like Hilton and Brissett are meshing quite well together. Hilton is now third in the NFL in receiving yards, behind Antonio Brown and A.J. Green. He is averaging a ridiculous 19.4 yards per catch on the season. Hilton is quieting those who thought Hilton’s production would drop without having Andrew Luck.
Adam Vinatieri –I read a tweet after the game that read, “Three things you can always count on in life. Death, taxes and Adam Vinatieri nailing game-winning field goals!” Well said, my friend. Vinatieri drilled his 27th game winning kick when he buried the 49ers in overtime on Sunday. The greatest kicker of all time was 4/4 on the day. Alongside Vinatieri, there was another legend in the building on Sunday…
Peyton Manning – It was like old times in Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday. The whole gang was in town. The unveiling of the statue was beautiful and it’s truly amazing to think about what Peyton Manning means to the city of Indianapolis. It’s just right that no other Colt will where No. 18 again. He’s the first Indianapolis Colt to ever have his jersey retired. Said Manning, “I thank God every day I’m an Indianapolis Colt.” Peyton Manning is the definition of a living legend.
Chuck Pagano –At first thought, a record of 2-3 without Andrew Luck isn’t so bad, given the lack of talent on the current roster. However, if you watch the games, you realize this team is extremely fortunate to be 2-3. The Colts have beaten the pathetic Browns and lowly 49ers by a combined six points. For the third time this season, Pagano’s team fell apart in the fourth quarter. Holding a 23-9 lead with eight minutes to go, the 49ers stormed back to tie the game with 20 seconds left. Luckily for Chuck, the greatest kicker of all time bailed him out. Oh, and by the way, this time he did credit the actual 49ers. Not the Rams.
Donte Moncrief – Many Colts fans are starting to grow frustrated with Moncrief, and rightfully so. Moncrief has the potential to win any matchup because of his size and speed, but it’s simply not happening. Moncrief will have flashes, such as his catch against the Seahawks last week, that make you go WOW, did he just do that? And then, he’ll follow it up with a subpar performance against a weak 49ers secondary where he is subsequently demoted for Kamar Aiken. Through the first five games, Moncrief has not shown the Colts much reason to warrant giving him an extension.
Vontae Davis – Since 2015, Vontae Davis has struggled, and Sunday was no different. He was beaten over the top numerous times, including a play in the fourth quarter where Brian Hoyer lofted a pass to tight end George Kittle that set up the game-tying touchdown. Injuries have certainly played a part, but it’s evident Davis has lost a step. Kevin Bowen tweeted Sunday how much the Colts trust Rashaan Melvin. I think it’s safe to say he has supplanted Vontae Davis as the Colts number one cornerback. Melvin shadowed Pierre Garcon for the entire second half and Garcon only had one lucky catch. That’s it. Many Colts fans figured the Colts would throw big money at Davis this upcoming offseason. Perhaps that money goes to Melvin now? We shall see. He is certainly making a case.
The Inside Linebackers – Abysmal. That has been the theme for the Colts inside linebackers this season. Jon Bostic and Antonio Morrison struggled on Sunday, particularly in coverage. The two allowed 85 yards on 10 targets, including a touchdown. This position continues to be the Achilles heel of the defense. Chris Collinsworth labeling Bostic as “the undisputed leader of this defense” during the Seahawks game was beyond laughable.
The Offensive Line – Once again, the Colts offensive line was dominated by the opposition’s front. Jacoby Brissett was sacked a total of six times. Nobody on the line played well besides Anthony Castonzo. Although the running backs had some long runs, those were mostly on the outside of the field. The Colts face some tough fronts in the coming weeks and Ryan Kelly and Anthony Castonzo will have to shoulder the burden of the blocking.