Colts 36, Redskins 22 ... At First Glance

The Colts had hoped to get out to a fast start while the Redskins came in with little hope, period. But thanks to a strong second-half effort, Indianapolis rolled over the Redskins despite a 14-13 halftime deficit. Here's our take on the game ... at first glance.

Isn't it interesting how trends can show up in games?

Despite the Colts' talk this week about getting off to a faster start, it just didn't happen with them trailing by a score of 14-13 at the half. But the most significant Redskins' trend also played out in this contest. Coming into this game, they were averaging just 7 points per game in the second half of their contests. And once again, they sputtered during the last thirty minutes, scoring 8 points only because they were so desperate to salvage some dignity with a 2-point conversion with less than a minute to play. Washington scored all fourteen of their first-half points in the second quarter, which had also been their most productive scoring quarter heading into this game.

The Colts are 6-0 as they prepare for a pair of tough games against a very good Denver defense, and a Patriots team that usually provides them with a challenge up in Foxboro. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a look at Sunday's game...at first glance.

-- Colts inactives for this game were S Bob Sanders, CB T.J. Rushing, TE Jerome Collins, LB Tyjuan Hagler, DT Dan Klecko, G Matt Ulrich, WR Brandon Stokley, and DT Montae Reagor who was involved in a car accident on his way to the stadium on Sunday and was hospitalized. He's reportedly in stable conditions with a laceration on the top of his head. The other driver involved struck his vehicle, pushing it into the curb and caused it to flip.

-- The only Colts on the gameday roster who didn't see any action were quarterbacks Jim Sorgi and wide receiver Aaron Moorehead.

-- I'm getting weary of hearing people say that the Colts miss Edgerrin James in this offense. As much as I loved watching Edge run and will always look back on his years as a Colt fondly, rookie Joseph Addai sure is adding some excitement to this offense, isn't he? He came into this game with a 4.6 yards per carry average which is better than the 4.2 average that James had last year. And he improved on that mark with a 7.7-yard per carry average against the Redskins. He also got the team's first 20+ yard carry of the season with a 21-yard effort. When you stop to realize that he only got to run 11 times but had 85 yards on the day, that's pretty impressive. And just in case you were wondering, James had 13 carries against the Raiders on Sunday for just 34 yards.

-- Although the Colts didn't get out to a faster start, I was really glad to see them opening up this offense and taking advantage of their skilled quarterback and receivers. It seemed as though they took more shots down the field than they had for a while, and even though they didn't connect on every one of them, it served the purpose of keeping the Redskins wary of it throughout the game.

-- Tight end Ben Utecht makes a difference in this offense, especially with wide receiver Brandon Stokley sidelined. He's running some really nice routes and is displaying some really soft hands as he makes his catches. He pulled in four catches for 52 yards, three of which moved the chains for the Colts.

-- The Colts defense allowed 114 rushing yards, putting them closer to the 110 per game they allowed last year than the 166 they were averaging heading into this contest. While Anthony "Booger" McFarland certainly helped, the Colts seemed to do a much better job of wrapping up and tackling near the line of scrimmage than in recent weeks.

-- Kudos to safety Antoine Bethea for a really fine tackle on Clinton Portis in the first half after he ripped off a 34-yard run and had only the Colts rookie left to beat at the 11-yard line. Bethea engulfed the veteran running back and it ended up being a huge stop. A few plays later, the Redskins had to settle for a field goal attempt instead, and they hit the upright and walked away with no points.

-- Earlier this week one of the writers for our Redskins affiliate at Scout.com mentioned that Portis needed to stop taking himself out of drives at inopportune times. I have to admit that I was shocked to see Portis sucking on oxygen and repeatedly injured while his teammates were still trying to move the ball against the Colts offense. He finished the day with just 43 yards rushing and his 3.6 rushing average was his worst showing of the season.

-- Okay, so make it three games in a row that the Colts have allowed a big return on special teams, including a kickoff return for a TD and now a punt return for a TD. Fortunately, in this game, it didn't really matter. Meanwhile, the kickoff return coverage this week was very good, allowing just 19.0 yards per return. Rob Morris led the way on special teams with 3 tackles.

-- How good was the Colts defense against the pass today? Good enough that the Redskins' leading receiver was backup running back Ladell Betts who finished with five catches for just 41 yards. And if you don't think that Colts cornerback Jason David got into the head of the Redskins' leading wide receiver, Santana Moss, today, you weren't paying attention. He finished up with just 3 catches for 20 yards, one of which accounted for 15 of those 20. David held him to his least productive game of the season to date.

-- Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell continues to be a real head-scratcher. He completed 73 percent of his passes against the Colts, but it was truly irrelevant to the outcome.

-- Peyton Manning's 342 yards passing is his second-best effort of the season, only surpassed by his 400-yard game against the Texans. He also completed a season-best 71.4 percent of his passes and notched his first 4-TD game of the year. But perhaps his most impressive stat is that he's only thrown two interceptions this year and has a 1.0 percent interception percentage after 6 games. Manning blew past former Chargers QB Dan Fouts and former Redskins QB Sonny Jurgensen in NFL career touchdown passes by finishing the game with 256 so far, allowing him to move into 10th all-time. He also passed former Cardinals QB Jim Hart on the career passing yardage list, moving up to 14th all-time.

--While we're talking about Manning, how much did your heart sink when you saw him on the turf grabbing for his throwing shoulder? It was pretty ridiculous that Dwight Freeney got called for roughing the passer when he momentarily grabbed Mark Brunell's facemask but the Redskins were allowed to horse-collar Manning and rip his helmet off. The Colts got a call later in the game that seemed to be a bit generous when Marcus Washington hit Manning low as he was pulled by the jersey towards Manning's legs, but it sure would have been nice to see the refs call both of those plays correctly instead of the way they played out.

-- Although there wasn't a single turnover in this game, the difference between these two teams was readily apparent in the number of penalties they drew. The Redskins committed a number of truly silly penalties. Santana Moss' late-hit retaliation against Jason David when Washington was in field goal position (and then missed it), Antwaan Randle-El's childish and excessive TD celebration -- followed by Sean Taylor's offsides call on the kickoff, which was followed by punter Derrick Frost's unsportsmanlike conduct for taking his helmet off on the field in a fit of anger -- was just ludicrous. And some folks want to blame all the Redskins' woes on Mark Brunell? They better look deeper than that.

-- Speaking of Redskins punter Derrick Frost, maybe he should put more time into his punting than his tantrums. Earlier this week during our pregame analysis, we pointed out the Colts would have a real edge in field position because of the disparity in talent at the punting position, and that held true. Frost averaged just 38.5 yards per punt while Hunter Smith averaged 47.0 yards.

-- It was great seeing Adam Vinatieri back out there booting some field goal attempts. He's not just making field goals, he's driving them through with authority. And three of his eight kickoffs were caught in the end zone.

-- You know, the announcers for Sunday's broadcast were really critical of Hunter Smith for failing to stop Randle-El on that punt return. Smith has made some saving tackles in the past on guys like Deion Sanders, so I think they should have cut him some slack. What they probably didn't stop to think of was the fact that he's coming off an injury and may not have been quite as mobile and fluid as normal. And hey, he's a punter, so give him a break.

-- Did you know that Joseph Addai has now rushed for 4.8 yards or better in four of his first six NFL games? Veteran Dominic Rhodes has done that just once, during Week 5 action against the Titans where he averaged 5.0 yards per carry.

-- Reggie Wayne posted his second 100+ receiving yards game of the season with 7 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Harrison also had 7 catches for 73 yards, and his pair of touchdowns tied him all-time in the Colts record book for career receiving touchdowns with Hall of Fame running back Lenny Moore at 113. Harrison also moved up to eighth all-time in NFL history in receiving yards during the game, surpassing former Patriots receiver Irving Fryar.

-- The Colts allowed veteran Terrence Wilkins to resume kickoff return duties this week since returning from a concussion, but it didn't really pay off. He averaged 24 yards per return on three kickoffs while rookie T.J. Rushing averaged 33.5 yards against the Titans. After starting the season with a 27.8-yard average against the Giants, Wilkins has only averaged 20.8 yards per return which is well below the current league average.

-- How's this for some serious irony? On five of their nine possessions where they didn't commit a penalty, the Redskins offense didn't even get into field goal position. On the other four where they did suffer setbacks, they scored a pair of TDs and missed a pair of field goals.

-- Cato June was in Pro Bowl form, leading the team with 15 tackles (10 solo, 5 assists), more than double anyone else on the defense. And defensive end Josh Thomas did some nice work in spot duty registering a sack and two quarterback hits during the game.


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