Indianapolis Colts Report Card

The grades have been tallied for the Indianapolis Colts in their 23-20 win over the San Diego Chargers Sunday. See what the Colts have to be thankful for as they head into Thanksgiving, and what they need to improve on before their trip to Cleveland this weekend.


Despite a strong pass rush and an injury to Pro Bowl C Jeff Saturday, the Colts did a nice job of protecting QB Peyton Manning and allowing him to have a productive evening against San Diego. Manning completed 32 of 44 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He threw one interception and was sacked once. In a game in which WR Reggie Wayne was limited to just two catches for 34 yards, Manning found RB Joseph Addai seven times while completing six passes each to WR Anthony Gonzalez, WR Marvin Harrison and TE Dallas Clark. Indianapolis converted two key fourth-down plays with the passing game, once leading directly to a touchdown and the other to the game-winning field goal.


The Colts were limited to 91 yards on 23 carries between RBs Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes. Addai had 70 yards on 16 carries, including a season-long 23-yard run. Indianapolis averaged 4 yards per rushing attempt, which was good enough to keep San Diego's defense guessing as to what the Colts were going to do.


Yes, San Diego QB Philip Rivers completed 24 of 31 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns and did not have an interception. But the Colts pass rush did sack Rivers twice and forced a key fumble. DE Robert Mathis had an outstanding game, with three total tackles, 1.5 sacks and two tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble. DT Eric Foster was also credited with half a sack.


As a team, the Chargers had 120 yards on 25 rushing attempts and averaged 4.8 yards per rush. The Colts, though, did a nice job for the most part in slowing LaDainian Tomlinson, limiting him to 84 yards on 21 carries. There were some tackling issues for Indianapolis, which accounts for runs of 20 yards by Tomlinson and 21 yards by Darren Sproles. But all in all, the Colts were able to contain San Diego's ground game and not allow any major breakouts.


Perhaps the finest job of the year by all of the Colts' special teams units. Indianapolis did a great job of hemming in Sproles, who had a 45-yard punt return for a touchdown and an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in last year's regular-season meeting. This season, however, Sproles had one punt return for 4 yards and averaged 20.2 yards on two kickoff returns.

P Hunter Smith had a net average of 39.0 yards (40.3 yards overall) on three punts, including three downed inside the Chargers 20-yard line. PK Adam Vinatieri hit on all three of his field-goal attempts (23, 38, 51) while doing a nice job on his kickoffs.


After the team got off to a somewhat rocky 3-4 start, coach Tony Dungy and his assistants have been able to keep the focus on improving each week and not looking too far ahead. Indianapolis has now posted four consecutive wins and is right back in the hunt for a postseason playoff berth. Dungy's approach of not getting too caught up in outside distractions and his "one game at a time" philosophy has served Indianapolis well.

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