Game Balls: Ravens at Colts

ColtPower.com hands out game balls for the Colts' big 31-3 win over the Ravens on Sunday. Who shined and got recognized, and who got snubbed? See who we picked out on offense, defense and special teams inside!

Offense: WR Marvin Harrison

Following a week in which it was widely held that he had "lost a step" or "suddenly gotten old," Harrison brushed off his critics, and his shoulders, and reminded everyone why he's headed for Canton in a few years.

The first touchdown was vintage Harrison. With the Colts in a running formation, Baltimore cornerback Chris McAlister got caught looking into the Colts' backfield. McAlister hesitated in his backpedal, and that was all the space Harrison needed. He blew by McAlister, hauled in a pass from Peyton Manning and was off to the races for a 67-yard touchdown.

Harrison picked up his second touchdown in the second quarter, freezing McAlister in the endzone to easily free himself for another delivery from Manning on a quick slant.

Harrison would make just one other catch in the game, but he had silenced his naysayers for now. After a tough 12 months for the quietly spectacular receiver, it was nice to see him back in the spotlight.

What's really interesting about Harrison's stats this season is that through five games, he has 20 catches for 247 yards — which was exactly his total through five games last season. So if he's lost a step, it's not because of the knee injury that sidelined him after those five games last season.

An honorable mention is due for Dominic Rhodes, who not only had the best run for a Colts back this season — a rollicking, 38-yard jaunt that included three pirouettes — but also a touchdown later in the game.

It was nice to see Rhodes get an ovation from the Indianapolis crowd, something the Super Bowl XLI hero never got after signing with Oakland in 2007.

Rhodes' career has been defined by necessity, and he has time and again come up big when the Colts really needed him. With Joseph Addai and Mike Hart sidelined, the Colts need him again in 2008. He showed Sunday he's still capable of doing the job.

Defense: DE Robert Mathis

The box score tells the story on this one: Mathis had six tackles, three of them sacks. His three tackles that weren't sacks resulted in a net four yards for the Ravens.


Robert Mathis had plenty to celebrate Sunday
Andy Lyons/Getty

Mathis showed again Sunday that he's one of the best defensive linemen in the league at not only getting to the quarterback, but getting to the ball. He stripped Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco once, and later recovered a fumble.

Mathis' first sack also ended an 11-play Baltimore drive that came with the Colts leading 17-0. If the Ravens had continued to move the ball down the field there and put points on the board, the game may have been a bit closer.

Through five games, Mathis is tied for ninth in the league — with Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth — with five sacks.

Honorable mention goes to much-maligned Tim Jennings, who led the defense with 10 tackles, defended two passes, made an interception and forced a fumble (recovered by Mathis).

Not a bad day's work for a reserve pressed into action after Kelvin Hayden's knee injury. Although he gives up a lot in size and is a frequent target of fan's ire, Jennings is a hard-working player that has shown a good amount of improvement this season. He'll need to keep playing at a high level if the Colts' defense wants to continue the improvement they showed Sunday.

Special Teams: S Melvin Bullitt

Bullitt had a good day on defense, recording five tackles and an interception, but he made his biggest impact on special teams with two big hits on kickoffs in the first half that got the crowd excited. Both kickoff hits were within the Baltimore 20-yard line, and helped the Colts win the battle of field position all day. Baltimore's starting position was its own 18-yard line — not a recipe for success with a rookie quarterback. The results speak for themselves.

Honorable mention to Pierre Garcon, who added a pair of special teams tackles himself. The best way for a rookie receiver behind Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez to catch the eye of the coaches is on special teams, and you can bet Garcon did that on Sunday.


Colts Blitz Top Stories