State of the AFC South: Week 2


With the 1st week of the 2013 season in the books, the Colts managed to escape with a win against Oakland thanks to another one of Andrew Luck’s 4th quarter comebacks. The Colts would go to 1-0 alongside their division rivals Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans. Jacksonville fell to 0-1 with loss. Each game will be gone into in depth looking at the positives and negatives I took from each one from each team in the AFC South.

Sep 8, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage as Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor (2) takes the snap from center Stefen Wisniewski (61) against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts defeated the Raiders 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders 17 @ Indianapolis Colts 21

What I liked

  •  Andrew Luck worked his magic yet again in the 4th quarter increasing his 4th quarter comeback/game winning drive to eight.
  • Darrius Heyward-Bey made good catches but the touchdown making block in order for Luck to run in for the go-ahead Touchdown.
  • Vick Ballard was really exceptional in blocking. He caught blitz pickups well which was a nice change of pace for how the O-line played overall.
  • The Colts ran the ball for over 100 yards which was really nice to see after  years of being in the bottom of the league in rushing.
  • The Colts defense surrendered just over 50 yards to the Raiders running backs.
  • LaRon Landry had a team high 15 tackles in his Colts debut

What I didn’t like

  • Terrelle Pryor ran for over 100 yards against the Colts defense and threw for over 200. It was like Terrelle Pryor was playing sandbox football out there.
  • The Colts couldn’t get to Pryor at all. Whether it be the front seven running around or LaRon Landry getting stiff-armed by Pryor, the defense had no answer for Pryor.
  • The offensive line allowed four sacks which played as well as they played last year in having Luck run for his life. It is unacceptable, especially against a flawed defense like the Raiders.
  • Andrew Luck needs to learn to get rid of the ball. He holds onto the ball too long which is very costly especially on a 4th and 1 in which Luck rolled to his right and held onto the ball for what felt like an eternity.
  • The coaching staff went into conservative mode after the Colts jumped to a 14-0 lead. I know a win is a win, but I personally am not a fan of the “playing not to lose” mindset. I understand Pagano is a defensive minded coach but with Andrew Luck as your quarterback and the offense he has, he should take a bit more risks.

Conclusion: The Colts were lucky as they were outplayed throughout the whole game. Luck bailed them out again and the Colts registered their first Week 1 win since 2009. Colts host the Miami Dolphins this week. Andrew Luck had his lowest passing yardage of his career Sunday but will face the team this Sunday in which he had his most passing yards against.

Sep 8, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers center Kelvin Beachum (68) centers the ball against the Tennessee Titans during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans 16 – Pittsburgh Steelers 9

What I liked

  •  Tennessee did an excellent job in stopping the Steelers run game. I counted numerous tackles for losses against the revolving door of Steeler running backs.
  • The Titans front seven did a good job man handling the Steelers offensive line and getting to the quarterback for five sacks.
  • The Titans newly bolstered offensive line did a great job in protecting Jake Locker only allowing one sack.
  • Steve Kern punted very well and consistently pinned the Steelers deep into their own territory.
  • Jackie Battle made big 3rd and short conversions as well as the Titans lone touchdown of the day.

What I didn’t like

  • Darius Reynaud took the opening kickoff for a safety as he stepped out of the endzone then stepped back in and kneeled it.
  • When given time, Ben Roethlisberger made big passes that shredded the Titans secondary. Don’t let the stats fool you, when the Steelers weren’t ineffectually running the ball, Roethlisberger threw at will.
  • That Troy Polamalu sack on Locker was unbelievable. He just jumped a microsecond after the ball was hiked. Although this was a one time play, Polamalu was untouched.

Conclusion: Big road win for Tennessee over a solid Steelers team. Although the offense wasn’t the showcase, the Titans let their defense do the talking for them. Jake Locker managed the game well and didn’t have a turnover. They travel to Houston this coming week to battle the divisional rival Texans.

Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) calls an audible during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs 28 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 2

What I liked

  • Jacksonville blocked the first punt for a safety which if not for that, they would have been shut-out.
  • Bryan Anger is a good punter who has great range in his young leg.
  • I really dig the new uniforms and helmets for the Jaguars. I surely cannot be the only one.

What I didn’t like

  • Blaine Gabbert threw two bad interceptions, one returned for a TD.
  • The  Jaguars run game couldn’t get it going as they only amassed 21 yards on 25 carries.
  • The offensive line allowed six sacks on Gabbert.
  • Terrible tackling by the Jaguars throughout the game. One could’ve saved a touchdown to Donnie Avery.
  • The Jaguars couldn’t get to Alex Smith at all throughout the game as he was sacked only one time.

Conclusion: Saying things are looking bleak in Jacksonville is an understatement. Blaine Gabbert is not the answer at quarterback and hasn’t been since his rookie campaign in 2011. He will miss his next start thanks to needing 15 stitches in his hand. Chad Henne will be making the start this coming week versus the Raiders.

Sep 9, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) under center during the first half against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans 31 @ San Diego Chargers 28

What I liked

  • After his first pass of the game, Matt Schaub torched the Chargers secondary going 34/45 for 346 yards with 3 TDs. He also led the charge for a fourth quarter comeback victory scoring 24 unanswered.
  • Ben Tate got half the carries than Arian Foster but only got two less yards than Foster did for the whole game. Ben Tate make take upon a bigger role in the offense and he has the talent to assist the Texans.
  • After the Chargers took a 28-7 lead, the Texans locked down the Chargers offense forcing four 3-and-outs totaling in only 10 yards of offense for the rest of the game.

What I didn’t like

  • The Texans defense got torched early on by Philip Rivers who had four touchdowns. The Texans have had a problem in the past stopping the elite quarterbacks of the league and it showed today.
  • Arian Foster didn’t look like his old self with Ben Tate looking more like Foster than Foster did.
  • Texans only got to the quarterback twice for sacks. With a bolstered line like that, they need to get to the quarterback more often so he doesn’t spend the whole day in the pocket throwing all over them.

Conclusion: This was more of a Chargers choke-job than a Texans victory, but a win is a win. It was a team effort in which the Texans overcame a 21 point deficit and won. The Texans host divisional rival Tennessee in a battle of unbeatens this weekend.

The AFC South is one of three divisions in the NFL to have three undefeated team. However, they will have a minimum of one next week as the Titans and Texans clash. The Colts host the Dolphins while the Jaguars venture into the Black Hole in Oakland.

I leave you today with quick predictions for those  games and don’t forget… GO COLTS!!!

Titans 17 – Texans 27

Jaguars 20 – Raiders 24

Dolphins 17 – Colts 27


Frank McMahen is a Staff Writer at Naptown’s Finest. Follow Frank and Naptown’s Finest on Twitter.