PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus
QB Peyton Manning completed 33-of-44 passes for 402 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his passes were intercepted, but both of them were tipped. Manning hit on his first 14 passes before he threw his first incompletion. He spread the ball among nine different receivers, including RB Joseph Addai (nine catches for 67 yards), WR Reggie Wayne (seven receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown), TE Dallas Clark (six catches for 95 yards and a TD), and WR Anthony Gonzalez (four receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown). The Colts did not give up a sack. That's the good news.
The bad news was that Indianapolis failed to take advantage of several scoring opportunities through the passing game. And the Colts had eight passes knocked down.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C
Addai had just 43 yards in 13 carries for the Colts. As a team, Indianapolis had 44 total yards on the ground in 18 total rushing attempts. Backup RB Kenton Keith had just seven yards in four carries.
The Indianapolis running game was not as consistent in the second half of the season as it was early in the year. Some of that was due to the success the Colts had in throwing the ball in medium- and short-yardage situations.
AP Photo/David J. Philip
PASS DEFENSE: D
The loss of DE Dwight Freeney was not as noticeable during the regular season. Backup DEs Josh Thomas and Jeff Charleston did a nice job filling in for Freeney and DE Robert Mathis when he missed some games.
But in the playoffs, where the game goes along quicker, the lack of a pass rush proved to be the Colts' Achilles' heel. San Diego QBs Philip Rivers and Billy Volek had way too much time to throw the football, completing 17-of-23 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. Neither was sacked.
CB Kelvin Hayden recorded an interception in the first quarter, but the Indianapolis secondary may have played one of its worst games of the season. Eight different Chargers players caught a pass.
RUSH DEFENSE: C-plus
RB LaDainian Tomlinson incurred a knee injury early in the second quarter, which should have meant good things for the Colts' rush defense. But Tomlinson's backup — Michael Turner (71 yards in 17 carries) — proved to be a very capable replacement. The Chargers had 99 yards rushing in 30 carries with only one carry of 10 yards or better.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
After a season in which the kickoff and punt coverage struggled at times, the Colts played better over the last few weeks of the year.
Indianapolis gave up a 30-yard kickoff return to Darren Sproles (who had 99 yards on four returns), but otherwise did a nice job. Especially when the Chargers tried some trick reverses on kickoff returns. PK Adam Vinatieri made his only field-goal attempt, hitting from 46 yards out. It was his longest made field goal of the season. P Hunter Smith had only one punt in the game and it just missed being downed inside the 5-yard line. KR/PR T.J. Rushing averaged 25.8 yards on five kickoff returns and 15.3 yards on three punt returns.
What with all the speculation about whether Tony Dungy will return as the Colts' head coach, the Colts came out for Sunday's playoff game with San Diego with a good tempo and played well offensively, but the team struggled to get off the field defensively on a regular basis.
Two interceptions and fumble, along with an inability to score in four red-zone opportunities, spelled a loss for Indianapolis. The coaching staff did a great job this season with all the injuries the team went through. As was the case in the first game against the Chargers, the Colts just didn't finish the deal.