Grading the Colts

The grades are in from regarding the Colts' performance against the Titans!

The Colts were efficient throwing the football Sunday, picking up 187 yards as QB Peyton Manning completed 13-of-17 passes, spreading the ball around to five different receivers, with three touchdown passes and no interceptions. Manning had a 151.2  efficiency rating in the game. The two sacks given up by Indianapolis 
were wiped out by Tennessee penalties.
RB Edgerrin James picked up 77 of his game-high 107 yards rushing in the second half of the Titans game as the Colts controlled the clock and the line of scrimmage. James scored his 12th rushing touchdown of the season. 

The Colts got to Titans QB Steve McNair four times, with DE Dwight Freeney coming up with a pair of sacks and forcing a fumble on a pass play. Even with first-round draft pick, CB Marlin Jackson, making his first NFL start, Indianapolis' pass defense stretched at times but did not break. McNair threw for 220 yards between the 20-yard lines but failed to get the ball into the end zone. One apparent touchdown pass was broken up by S Mike Doss while four pass attempts from the Colts' two-yard line were batted away -- with Indianapolis' second-team linebackers in the game no less.
Tennessee rushed for 40 yards as a team as the Colts limited RB Chris Brown to 32 yards in 12 carries and limited Steve McNair to just three yards in two scramble situations. The Titans averaged 2.0 yards per rush attempt.
Not a bad day for the Colts special teams, but the old bugaboo -- kickoff coverage -- raised its head against Tennessee. The Titans averaged 28.5 yards on six kickoff returns, including a 53-yarder in the fourth quarter. A combination of shoddy tackling and some inconsistent kickoffs by PK Dave Rayner gave Tennessee good field position to begin drives most of the day. Kickoff returner Dominic Rhodes averaged 24 yards on two kickoff returns but appeared to be just one block away from breaking something longer. 

A short week to prepare. A bit of a fatigue factor after a Monday night game. And a possible slip-up game in AFC South rival Tennessee. But despite all the possible pitfalls, the Indianapolis coaching staff had the Colts prepared and ready to go against the Titans. And then there's all that talk about an undefeated 
season to contend with.

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