Grading the Colts

The grades are in from Scout.com on the Colts' performance against the Browns....

PASSING OFFENSE: B+
Save for one interception when QB Peyton Manning threw into three-deep coverage, the Colts were efficient in their passing game against Cleveland. Manning completed 16-of-23 passes for 228 yards, hitting six different receivers. Opposing defenses continue to lie back, conceding the short pass and the Colts are taking what's there. 

RUSHING OFFENSE: B 
Edgerrin James recorded his second straight 100-yard rushing game, going for 108 yards on 27 carries. Backup Ran Carthon fell victim to a couple of missed blocks near the goal-line. The Colts continue to have their struggles in the red-zone, but most of the problems have been due to missed assignments more than anything else.
 
PASS DEFENSE: B+ 
Cleveland came into the game without giving up a sack. That changed Sunday as the Colts got to Browns QB Trent Dilfer four times, and got three sacks from DE Dwight Freeney. Indianapolis continues to give up yards between the twenties, but have been able to keep opposing offenses out of the end zone. S Bob Sanders continues to improve in his pass coverage. 

RUSH DEFENSE: B+ 
A sore point for Indianapolis in the past, the Colts have tightened down the rush lanes in its first three games. Cleveland's Reuben Droughns had 76 yards in 22 carries, but the Browns averaged just 3.3 yards per rush attempt. The addition of DT Corey Simon has helped to lead the Colts' run defense so far this year. 

SPECIAL TEAMS: B
This grade would have been a bit lower had Dennis Northcutt's 86-yard punt return for a touchdown had not been called back due to an illegal block penalty. Other than that, the Colts' special team was good, but not great. P Hunter Smith had two kicks downed inside the 20-yard line and K Mike Vanderjagt hit both of his field goal attempts. Kickoff specialist Dave Rayner has been consistent through the first three games. Indianapolis' punt and kickoff coverage has been a hit or miss -- literally -- situation. 

COACHING: B-plus
Indianapolis stayed true to what it wanted to do offensively. As defensive teams continue to try and take away the Colts' deep passing game, offensive coordinator Tom Moore will stay with his dunk-and-run game plan. Defensively, Indianapolis has been able to come up big in key situations. Coordinator Ron Meeks has more tools to work with this year, and he's using everybody.


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