IND-BUF Grades: Colts' high-powered offense struggles
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from Sunday’s Colts-Bills game.
– The passing game struggled, but don’t point to the offensive line this time. In previous seasons, yes, the Colts’ line has been subpar, but they did a nice job holding up against a fierce Bills defense that blitzed QB Andrew Luck on 30 of his 53 dropbacks, but only managed to pressure him 11 times.
– The real struggle for the Colts came against Buffalo’s coverage that blanketed their receivers for much of the afternoon and put a lot of pressure on Luck to be pinpoint accurate—which he certainly was not. The Colts scheme also relied heavily on isolation routes, hoping for their wide receivers to simply beat their man in coverage, rather than scheming up plays that make it difficult to play man coverage. WR T.Y. Hilton still came away with a nice +2.0 grade, but newcomer Andre Johnson posted ac2.1 grade after catching four of his 10 targets for only 24 yards.
– Defensively, the Colts managed only one positive grade in their front-seven, and it went to rookie DE Henry Anderson (+0.3). The third-rounder led the team with seven tackles and five stops, while posting a +1.0 grade against the run while playing 49 of 59 snaps.
RT Jack Mewhort +2.6
LT Anthony Castonzo +2.1
WR T.Y. Hilton +2.1
RG Todd Herremans +1.8
CB Vontae Davis +1.4
– The defensive backs stole the show, playing tight coverage for much of the game and looking like a great fit for new head coach Rex Ryan’s defense. Bills DBs deflected eight total passes on the day, led by CB Stephon Gilmore’s four.
– At QB, Tyrod Taylor had a nice debut for Buffalo, finishing at +0.4, including one of the week’s best throws, a 51-yard strike that hit WR Percy Harvin in stride for a touchdown. Beyond that, there weren’t a lot of challenging throws, but he found the open man to finish with an accuracy percentage of 83.3 percent (ranked seventh in the league this week). The one blip was his fumbled shotgun snap, which he quickly recovered, though putting the ball on the ground is always dangerous.
– As has generally been the case with recent Rex Ryan defenses, they get after the quarterback (aforementioned 30 blitzes on 52 dropbacks), though not many got home to actually achieve pressure. The blitzes did bring the illusion of pressure, which is often just as good, but with pass rushers like Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams posting identical -2.1 pass rush grades, more is still expected from the Bills’ defensive front.
LG Richie Incognito +3.5
CB Stephon Gilmore +3.2
CB Mario Butler +2.6
WR Percy Harvin +1.6
DE/DT Corbin Bryant +1.4