Knowing Your Opponent: Colts

The Indianapolis Colts haven't played up to the standard set by 2012's playoff run through the season's first two weeks. But there's still plenty of time for them to reestablish themselves as one of the up-and-coming teams in the AFC. Inside we take a look at the 49ers' next opponent, led by Andrew Luck

Colts' Statistics Through Week 2


Points per game: 20.5 (#18 in the NFL)

Points per game: 20.5 (#18 in the NFL)

Yards per game: 361 (#15)

Passing Yards (per game): 231 (#19)

Rushing Yards (per game): 130 (#5)

3rd-Down Conversion Rate: 52 percent (#3)

Red Zone Scoring Rate (TDs): 66.67 (#11)


Points per game: 20.5 (#14)

Yards per game: 385 (#23)

Passing yards (per game): 249 (#16)

Rushing Yards (per game): 136 (#29)

3rd-Down Conversion Rate: 48.15 percent (#27)

Red Zone Scoring Rate (TDs): 83.33 percent (#29)

AFC South Standings

Texans (2-0)

Colts (1-1)

Titans (1-1)

Jaguars (0-2)

The Indianapolis Colts, as a whole, have allowed more yards than its offense has gained. Both of their games have been played on their home field in Indianapolis, which has caused concern for Chuck Pagano's team. They weren't particularly impressive in Week 1's 21-17 win against the Raiders, a team picked by many to be in discussion for the first-overall pick in next spring's draft.

Should Indianapolis come away with a win over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, the narrative changes drastically and they would suddenly be viewed as a darling of the conference once again, while the 49ers would be 1-2 with a short week ahead. They travel to St. Louis for a Thursday night affair to open Week 4.

The Colts are hurting. Starting safety LaRon Landry is officially listed out for Sunday's game, while linebacker Pat Angerer is doubtful with a knee injury. Tight end Dwayne Allen, running back Vic Ballard and left guard Donald Thomas are already on injured reserve.

Ballard's absence will not be felt after the unexpected acquisition of Trent Richardson. But with both safeties on the injury report (Antoine Bathea [toe] was listed as questionable Friday), the 49ers offense could be in a position to capitalize on facing an inexperienced secondary again. In Week 1 against Green Bay, the 49ers found ways to isolate receivers on reserve Jerron McMillian and it led to Colin Kaepernick's 412-yard performance.

Former Patriot Sergio Brown will play in Landry's stead, while third-year pro Joe Lefeged would take Bathea's place. Both players were undrafted. Former seventh-round selection Kavell Conner would likely take over for Angerer.

Even before those injuries, Indianapolis' defense is the worst unit San Francisco will have faced so far, and it has the benefit of getting it at home, coming off a loss. Since Jim Harbaugh was hired, the 49ers have not lost back-to-back games.

While the Colts' defense is in the middle of the pack in yardage allowed, they struggled in the key areas of third-down conversion and red-zone touchdown rate, where they are at the bottom of the league.

San Francisco's running game has been dormant through two weeks, in part because of their oppositions' focus on shutting it down. Frank Gore has struggled to find running lanes against the eight and nine-man fronts. But attacking the Colts' injury-plagued defense through the air could open things up in the running game. The offensive line has struggled to block for Gore so far. They will look to change that Sunday.

"Every game's different and it can change during the course of a game. We can go back over the past couple of years and see where the run was emphasized more one week and maybe we went into that game saying, ‘Hey, we're going to run it,' and then we change gears during the game," offensive coordinator Greg Roman said.

"I think we have a good plan getting put together and coaches are working hard on it, players are working hard on it. We'll just see how it goes."

Offensively, Andrew Luck is the third top-rate quarterback the 49ers have faced in as many weeks.

"He's a lot faster than you think he is and he's really fast. Stronger than he looks, but then you see the evidence on the tape where guys are hitting him pretty solid, pretty hard and he's able to just flinch it off, kind of [Steelers QB Ben] Roethlisberger-like," Jim Harbaugh said earlier this week.

"He throws with a lot of velocity even though it's a throwing motion it's pretty smooth. Ball comes out a lot faster than you think it does and with a lot more velocity than you think. Just very, very blessed athletically is Andrew."

Their running game has gotten a significant upgrade in Trent Richardson through a mid-week trade with the Browns. Even with Ahmad Bradshaw getting the majority of carries through the first two games, the Colts have averaged 130 per game on the ground. They've been more balanced in 2013 after having the 22nd-ranked running attack in 2012.

With the success they've had to this point, there's no reason to change the look of the offense after adding Richardson.

"I don't think they'll be different at all. They just may hand it off more than they have been. They got a great running back to give it to. It's even more reason for them to have balance in their offense, which I think they're striving to do anyway," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said.

Don't expect San Francisco to blitz Luck very often. His 73.3 completion percentage against extra pass rushers is his best of any situation. Predictably, the former No. 1-overall pick from Stanford completes his throws at the lowest percentage under pressure (52.2 percent), although all three of his touchdown passes have come under pressure. The 49ers expect Aldon Smith and Ray McDonald to play, despite Smith's arrest Friday morning and McDonald's ankle issues.

Tight end Coby Fleener has played a big role in his team's first two games. Luck's former teammate in Palo Alto has five receptions on eight targets and is averaging over 15 yards per.

There hasn't been much drop off for 35-year-old Reggie Wayne, who is leading with the team with 13 receptions. T.Y. Hilton holds the two-yard edge in yards over Wayne and might be the toughest matchup for San Francisco's secondary. The second-year wideout is averaging 16 yards a catch and is the team's best big-play threat.

*Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used in this report*


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