PATRIOTS REPORT CARD VS. COLTS
PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus --
Regardless of a few poor throws here and there, Tom Brady's numbers
always look flawless by the end of the game. Sunday was no exception;
Brady finished 29 of 38 with 289 yards and two touchdowns. He would've
had three TDs were it not for the fact one of Rob Gronkowski's three
touchdowns was ruled a lateral, which means it counted as a rushing
play. Speaking of Gronkowski, he scored three more touchdowns Sunday
and is easily the most feared tight end in the NFL.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- The
Patriots spread the wealth, but they never really made an effort to
establish the run or try to use their running game to close out
Sunday's game. Stevan Ridley got back in the mix with a game-high eight
carries, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis scored again, continuing his role
as the team's No. 1 ground threat inside the red zone.
PASS DEFENSE: C -- As always,
there were flashes of brilliance, most notably Jerod Mayo's acrobatic
interception and Matthew Slater's forced fumble, and this was as solid
an effort as the Patriots had produced all year until the fourth
quarter. Allowing 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter is
indefensible regardless of the score and circumstance. The Patriots
struggled tremendously in man coverage, and that needs to change before
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- Solid effort
from the front seven against the run, especially with Joseph Addai and
Donald Brown on the field. Brown had been the primary threat with Addai
out of the lineup, but Addai's return gave Indianapolis a two-headed
monster. Neither back made a huge impact, though Brown did score on a
touchdown run during the Colts' fourth-quarter comeback.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Other than
Julian Edelman muffing a punt, which he later recovered, the Patriots
did a solid job on special teams. Edelman actually did well on kickoff
returns. Zoltan Mesko was consistent with his punts, and Stephen
Gostkowski nailed his only field-goal attempt.
COACHING: B -- The Patriots
never really tried to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, which
appeared somewhat curious, but the strength of the offense is the
passing game, so New England certainly wasn't sitting back waiting for
the game to end. Any negativity on that end is trumped by the fact that
Bill Belichick once again put together a game plan good enough to win
despite a makeshift defensive lineup.
COLTS REPORT CARD VS. PATRIOTS
PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus --
Kudos to QB Dan Orlovsky, who was making his first start for the Colts
and his first start in an NFL game since 2008. Orlovsky played well,
connecting on 30 of 37 passes for 353 yards. He threw for two
touchdowns and had one pass intercepted. He had TD passes to WR Pierre
Garcon of 33 and 12 yards. Garcon hauled in a career-high nine passes
for 150 yards, also a career best. WR Austin Collie seemed rejuvenated
with Orlovsky behind center, as he caught a season-high seven passes
for 70 yards, also a season best. WR Reggie Wayne added five catches
for 55 yards, and TE Jacob Tamme had five receptions for an additional
49 yards. The only blemishes were the interception, two sacks allowed
and an incomplete pass into the end zone at a wide-open Tamme on the
Colts' second possession of the game. Indy had to settle for a field
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus --
Indianapolis ran for 99 yards on 31 carries, with Donald Brown rushing
for 41 yards on 14 carries and a 5-yard touchdown. RB Joseph Addai
started and had 39 yards on 13 carries. Rookie Delone Carter got 20
yards on three carries but had his third fumble of the season.
PASS DEFENSE: F -- Communication issues
doomed the Colts in the second quarter. With LB Pat Angerer along with
CBs Jerraud Powers and Terrence Johnson all sidelined due to injuries,
backups failed to get on the same page when it came to pass-coverage
responsibilities. New England QB Tom Brady was his usual efficient
self, completing 29 of 38 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns on
the day. He was sacked once by DT Fili Moala (his first career sack)
but had plenty of time the rest of the day to find receivers and
complete passes. TE Rob Grankowski had five catches for 64 yards and
two touchdowns. WR Wes Welker was targeted 11 times and caught 11
passes for 110 yards.
RUSH DEFENSE: B -- The Patriots
really didn't need to run the ball due to the success of their passing
game, but Indianapolis did a nice job at slowing down the New England
ground game when needed. The Patriots had 73 yards in 24 total carries.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- PK Adam
Vinatieri made his only field-goal attempt of the day, a 31-yard effort
in the first quarter. P Pat McAfee averaged 41.7 yards net and 48 yards
overall on just three punts. He had one punt downed inside the
Patriots' 20-yard line. McAfee also had one touchback on a kickoff.
Rookie S Joe Lefeged averaged 17 yards on two kickoff returns and had
one 21-yard punt return. The Colts' kickoff coverage unit allowed an
average of 24 yards on two returns, while the punt return coverage
squad allowed an average of 9.5 yards on two returns.
COACHING: B-minus -- The
decision to go with Orlovsky as the starter was a good move. It
enlivened the offense to have its best overall performance of the
season, and the Colts tied for the most points scored in a game this
season. As for the promotion of long time linebackers coach Mike Murphy
to defensive coordinator and the early-week firing of Larry Coyer from
that job, both were necessary. Coyer was a long time friend of head
coach Jim Caldwell, but as Caldwell likes to say, "This is a
performance-based business." And the defense was underperforming.
Win Too Close For Comfort
Report Cards: Patriots - Colts
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