Despite Chuck Pagano’s most desperate efforts to give the game away to the Cleveland Browns, the Indianapolis Colts have tasted victory for the first time since Andrew Luck sprinted off the field like a mad man in a meaningless game against the Jaguars in the regular season finale of 2016. Despite a statistical line that shows similar amounts of passes versus runs called in the second half as the first, Pagano once again reminded the NFL that he is an awful clock manager. However, his team was able to hold off a late push by a struggling Deshone Kizer & co., sealing a 31-28 victory & avoiding an 0-3 start. Most notably was the turnout of the NFL’s receiving yards champion of 2016, TY Hilton, who put the team on his back on Sunday.
TY Hilton: Elite
Despite local media singling him out for a lack of effort or production, the Pro Bowl wide-out Hilton made waves on Sunday, hauling in 7 of his 9 targets for 153 yards and a silky 61 yard touchdown where he made the Cleveland Browns his sons. After blocking Gregg Doyel on twitter after a scathing column questioning his integrity and attitude, Hilton literally and figuratively put the team on his back, racking up his 25th career game with 100 or more receiving yards and moving into 4th place in the franchise’s record books for career receiving yards. With next week’s game coming against a downtrodden ‘Legion of Boom’ in Seattle, Hilton will need to walk the talk again this upcoming weekend.
Running Back Spotlight
As much as we may hear about how impressive it is for Frank Gore to still be churning out yards at his age (and it is impressive), his efficiency when allowed touches in the ground or in the air can be called into question. Through three games, Gore is averaging a skimpy 3 yards per carry. While this figure is not shocking, the way that he is used in games should be tailored to his abilities, not as a feature back. Should Rob Chudzinski continue to telegraph run calls to an obliterated right side of the offensive line on 2nd & 10? Probably not. What is the solution you may ask? Hand the ball off to the most efficient runner on the team: Robert Turbin.
Coming off an impressive outburst of production with 8 touchdowns in 2016, the 2017 version of Robert Turbin has not seen an expanded role, though has maintained his productivity. Though the sample size may be small, of Turbin’s 10 carries this season, 4 have resulted in the chains moving. First downs have almost become synonymous with Turbin. 3rd down? Turbin time. For the Colts to take a step forward in the run game to alleviate pressure off of both Gore & fresh-faced Jacoby Brissett, Turbin needs to be given the chance to prove himself.
A Look Ahead
The Colts will be headed west to take on a Seattle squad that was denied a late comeback in Nashville in Week 3. This marks the first time that the Colts have visited Seattle since 2005, a game that was dedicated to the memory of former Coach Tony Dungy’s son James. Additionally, this is only the eleventh time that these franchises have squared off. Oddly enough, both teams come into this game at 1-2 & struggling mightily in their own ways. One statistic that I found particularly interesting is that the Colts have fewest passing TDs through 3 weeks, yet are managing the 3rd highest average yards per reception (along the likes of New England, shockingly good LA Rams, & directly above the high-volume Atlanta Falcons). Though Seattle ranks in at #9 in the defensive counterpart to this stat, something is bound to give for this Colts aerial attack as Brissett seems to be taking as much control as one can in 3 & a half weeks with a team. However, look for the Colts’ rushing attack to be a big factor as the Seahawks have allowed the 3rd most rushing yards through three weeks of play.