Even a sloppy win is still a win for the Indianapolis Colts. They managed to overcome four turnovers against the Baltimore Ravens to pull off the 20-13 victory.
The defense played an outstanding game against a quality opponent for the first time this season. It gives hope that the Colts might actually have a competitive defense going forward.
We give a hat tip to Pro Football Focus who rate every player on a plus/minus system. For reference, a 0.0 game is average.
Seven trips to the Ravens red zone, and the Colts came away with just 20 points. Three turnovers inside the 20 (once on downs) and another turnover deep in Baltimore territory prevented this game from being a blowout.
Andrew Luck (+1.9) struggled at times but came through when the Colts had to find the end zone. He really only had one bad decision, the red zone interception, as the other INT was off a tipped pass at the line. It was also the first game all season where Luck struggled when he was blitzed.
Dwayne Allen (+2.2) continues to develop into one of the better tight ends in the NFL and is currently ninth in PFF’s ratings at the position.
Trent Richardson had his best game in a Colts uniform (+1.9 per PFF), despite just nine carries (albeit for 4.1 yards per attempt). He had a few very good blitz pickups as well.
On the other end of the spectrum, Jonotthan Harrison (-2.2) had a rough day. He was fine in pass protection, but was particularly bad at run blocking. Its hard to blame him completely as the coaches threw him into the fire against a very good front seven.
You could have easily argued that A.Q. Shipley should have replaced Harrison at half time. Whatever the issues between Shipley and the coaches are you simply can’t bench someone who has played as well as Shipley. It sends a horrible message to the team about merit and earning your spot on the roster.
Three forced turnovers and two failed fourth down conversions for the Ravens. They were 1-for-11 on third down and didn’t find the end zone until there was less than eight minutes left to play. Hard to argue with those kinds of stats.
Bjoern Werner was the highest rated player on the team with a +4.7. He was overdue for a big game and happened to come against one of the better offensive lines in football.
Vontae Davis (+2.3) continued to earn his fat new paychecks with outstanding coverage. Five passes were thrown his way and just two were for completions. The other three? Two were broken up by Davis and the third intercepted.
Mike Adams (+1.7) and Sergio Brown (+1.5) proved to be a potent combination at safety. If Brown continues to play this way the next three weeks, there is no reason to give LaRon Landry his starting spot back.
Despite what some would tell you, Greg Toler (-1.7) is not having a great season. He is a -6.4 overall this year and his best game was against the Jaguars. His pass breakup at the end of the game was on an underthrown pass that allowed him to catch up to the ball.
At the bottom of the list are linebackers Josh McNary, who managed to be awful in just eight snaps, and D’Qwell Jackson, who was terrible in run defense (the one thing he’s supposed to do well). Jerrell Freeman didn’t have a great return to the field, but his presence allows the defense to be far more flexible and leads to the sort of pass rush we saw yesterday.
The Colts benefitted from another poor game by an opposing QB and it was Joe Flacco‘s worst of the season.
Special Teams: B-
Pat McAfee continues to be a revelation on special teams. He had a +1.4 from PFF yesterday, but ranks first in terms of kickers (despite not attempting a field goal) due to leading the NFL in touchbacks by a wide margin. He’s also sixth overall for punters.
Griff Whalen, on the other hand, had a horrible game. He has been solid all season fielding punts, and has been close to breaking one for a touchdown, but his decision making Sunday was rough. Whalen cost the team field position on one by not catching it and fumbled another (even though his forward progress never existed and he was held up and stripped).