Week 15 Grade: Indianapolis Colts Defense vs. Denver Broncos


The Indianapolis Colts got off to a great start Thursday night when they held the Broncos scoreless deep into the second quarter in building a 10-0 lead.

Grade: D+

Rookie cornerbacks Quincy Wilson and Kenny Moore played exceptionally well through the first portion of the game. Moore even intercepted a pass from Broncos’ quarterback Trevor Siemian.

Then disaster struck for the Colts when Siemian went down with an injury and the Colts-killer himself Brock Osweiler entered the game. Suddenly the stout Indianapolis defense withered away as Osweiler carved them up. However, Jabaal Sheard did his part to keep the game close by getting pressure on 27 percent of his pass-rushing snaps.

While the Colts allowed Osweiler to throw for two touchdowns and 194 yards on just 17 attempts, it was C.J. Anderson and Cody Latimer that really hit Indianapolis where it hurt.

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Latimer, a product of Indiana University, has had a disappointing NFL career, but he had a career night in Indianapolis. Latimer set a career-high with 60 receiving yards and hauled in a touchdown, just his third in the last four seasons. Latimer finished as the Broncos’ highest-graded wide receiver according to Pro Football Focus with a grade of 82.7.

Anderson gashed the Colts’ defense for a mind-boggling 158 rushing yards, over 100 of which came after contact. Anderson was instrumental in shutting the game down in the fourth quarter, caring the ball 30 times and forcing seven missed tackles. Anderson’s performance helped Denver compile over 200 yards rushing Thursday.

One other Bronco who hurt the Colts in a big way was Jeff Heuerman. The 25-year-old tight end had a single catch Thursday night, but it was a monumental one as he hauled in a 54-yard touchdown reception from Osweiler. On a play-action pass, Osweiler found Heuerman deep down the middle of the field then broke a tackle by Darius Butler before scoring.

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Overall, this game was just the latest in a long line of poor second half performances by Indianapolis. The good news is there are only two games left this season.