Colts’ unselfish offense and Darius Leonard return key monster win
By Adam Weinrib
The Indianapolis Colts got offense from all corners of the field and increased intensity from Darius Leonard in Sunday’s win over the Lions.
Nightmare November coming for the Colts, huh? Right. Sure.
Even though the schedule’s about to tighten up even further following the month’s opening game against the Lions, Indianapolis showed everything they needed to and more to cement themselves as genuine playoff contenders prepared to weather the impending storm.
Add in the Titans’ struggles on Sunday, and suddenly, the upcoming slate looks a little more manageable.
Though things were sweaty at times, the Colts pulled off a 41-21 victory at Ford Field predicated on a ton of different hands contributing to the offense, as well as a renewed sense of defensive intensity, thanks in large part to Darius Leonard’s return.
And by the end of the fourth quarter, the “crowd” was stunned.
This was truly a team effort, from the unselfish tight end group willing to do anything and everything (Trey Burton in the wildcat? Sure!) to the running back corps, which got encouragement from Marlon Mack on Twitter while splitting their carries effectively and giving Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines the glory.
Of course, we have to spotlight Leonard, the defense’s leader whose important presence cannot be overstated.
When the team needed a momentum-changer after surrendering a swift TD to cut a comfortable lead to 20-14 (Rodrigo Blankenship’s extra point woes are a problem for another day), Leonard delivered with aplomb, forcing Detroit’s first offensive fumble of the year.
Could the Colts have survived a Lions onrush without Leonard centering things on defense? Sure. Possibly.
But luckily, we’re past the point of needing to determine that. Leonard’s back for the most important stretch of this campaign, and the Philip Rivers-led offense certainly looks a lot more stable now than it did before the bye week.
Rivers wasn’t merely a caretaker today; thanks to some excellent play calling, he was making easy completions in space throughout, while the defense regrouped every time it needed to and forced the action.
The deed isn’t done yet, but this victory was enormous for setting the tone.