Week 3, Colts vs 49ers: Game Notes

Colts celebrate Trent Richardson’s Touchdown

This game seemed it was going to go down to the wire as both the Colts and the 49ers were neck to neck through the first three-quarters. However that all changed when Andrew Luck ran for a six-yard touchdown which made the score 20 – 7. With only a little over four minutes left in the fourth quarter, a comeback was unlikely.

However, the 49ers were not going to give up easily. With only four minutes left, Colin Kaepernick took a sack on third down but also fumbled the ball which later the Colts scored the final touchdown with a Bradshaw one-yard run. Overall it was a great game for the Colts especially on defense and special teams.

Offense: The Colts started the game with the ball and went 80 yards to score the first touchdown of the game. Things however started to slow down for the Colts when they made one field goal in the 2nd quarter and in the third quarter. For the most part the offense controlled the ball by rushing a total of 179 yards while Luck only threw for 164 passing yards.

The good thing was that the offense did not turned over the ball in the game which showed the efficiency of the no-coast offense. The only complaint I have is that Luck did not have many passing yards however who needs passing yards when you can get them through the ground game.

Defense: This probably the best defensive showing in the Pagano era. Not only did the Colts came up with the interception to seal the game but they also limited Kaepernick to only 170 total yards (150 passing and 20 rushing). What’s more impressive is that the Colts bottled up Kaepernick after giving up 112 rushing yards to Raiders QB Terrell Pryor on Week one.

Great discipline overall by the defense especially after they lost a big game against the Dolphins. Remember everyone thought that the Colts were going to lose by a big margin however it seems that it was the other way around. Hopefully the Colts can win another road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and hopefully this time the defense does not let a game-winning Jaguars 80-yard touchdown pass.

Special Teams: This was a great game for the special teams. If anything, it was the reason why the 49ers could never score a touchdown after their first touchdown drive. Punter Pat McAfee did an excellent job by punting inside the 49ers 20 yard line three times (out of the possible 4 punts).

It gave Kaepernick and the 49ers offense bad field position which ultimately led the 49ers to punt 6 times. Also the kickoff coverage was excellent where they only let the 49ers kickoff returners to 36 yards in three tries (12 yards per playable kickoff return).

Overall with the excellent kickoff coverage, excellent defensive stops, and the excellent ground game it was hard for the 49ers to stop the Colts. Now the next opponent for the Colts is the Jacksonville Jaguars who has not won a game and has been outscored by 64 points this season.

If the Colts can get a win against the Jaguars then they finish their two back-to-back road games with wins and head back to Indianapolis to face a dangerous Seattle Seahawks team.

Interesting stats by Pro Football Focus:

Pressured vs Not Pressured: Andrew Luck graded by PFF with a +1.9 however what’s more interesting is the stat that I’m about to put. Apparently Luck fared well when he was not pressured by completing 18 passes out of 19 attempts for 164 passing yards and with on scramble.

However when there was pressure he couldn’t complete any passes out of eight total attempts and he was sacked. It didn’t help that Luck was pressured 10 out of 30 drop-backs but it was an improvement  while against the Dolphins Luck was pressured 36% of his drop-backs.

Great game for Freeman: ILB Jerrell Freeman graded by PFF with a +2.9 as he got a sack and a fumble during the fourth quarter.

Three offensive lineman grades: Anthony Castonzo did really well against the 49ers front 7 by grading a +4.0 overall by PFF. Joe Reitz did well in terms of run blocking by grading a +1.5 in run blocking. Jeff Linkenbach apparently didn’t have a great game (I thought otherwise) by grading out with a -3.6 overall.

Pep Hamilton wasn’t kidding about the power run game: Even though the Colts have Andrew Luck as a QB, the Colts were not kidding when they said that they want a power-run game. As of Monday (Sept. 23) 2:30 pm, the Colts are ranked 3rd in rushing yards only behind the Panthers and Eagles.

Also the Colts are tied with the Vikings with the most rushing touchdowns and are ranked 4th in rushing yards per game. What’s more surprising is that the Colts raised their rushing yards-per-carry by one total yard (3.8 2012 season, 4.8 by Week 3 of 2013). Not bad by a team that still has some offensive line issues to work with.

Quotes from ESPN.com and NFL.com:

Chuck Pagano thought that the game was hard-fought and that the Colts were prepared for the 49ers. “That was a heavyweight fight right there,” Pagano said. “That was a 15-round slugfest. That was exactly what we thought it was going to be. It’s what we prepared.”

Guard (Played center against the 49ers) Mike McGlynn thought that the Colts were disrespected by the media and the entire NFL fan-base. “I think we were very disrespected,” said Mike McGlynn, who started at center for the injured Samson Satele. “We knew nobody in the country picked us and it doesn’t matter.”

Chuck Pagano said after a hard-fought win against the 49ers, “It one of those games where you look back on and maybe in 5 or 6 years down the road and say it was a signature win. And maybe it’s one of those wins that propel you to do great things.”

Other quotes:

Cory Redding giving credit to the secondary, “They played huge. They made a few plays. But it was our front seven. They were humming around and making plays.”

49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh on how the Colts offense played, “Very good. Very efficient. They did make the plays. They did make the plays when they needed to.”