Where did that come from???? Experts and fans alike were blindsided by a shockingly defiant effort from a Colts team many expected to get manhandled Sunday afternoon.
But the opposite happened. They manhandled the San Francisco 49ers, 27-7.
Offensively the Colts controlled the clock for over 36 minutes, wearing a “physical” San Francisco defense down in the closing minutes. And two weeks after gashing Green Bay’s defense for 412 passing yards on the same field, Niners QB Colin Kaepernick threw for just 150 yards with no touchdowns and one pick (and had an 11.8 QBR).
This was a Colts offense that had Mike McGlynn starting for Samson Satele at center and had Jeff Linkenbach not only dressing, but starting at right guard. Their efforts helped the Colts rush for 179 yards on 39 attempts, the most rushing attempts in the Luck-era (Power-running team, indeed).
This was a Colts defense playing without linebacker Pat Angerer and “do-everything” safety LaRon Landry. And with the exception of one forgettable drive, the Colts defense was able to get stops all…game…long. The Niners converted just 25% of their third-down attempts and had five 3-and-outs.
The only thing as inexplicable as the aggression and fervor we saw from the Colts – was the offensive play-calling from the 49ers. The lone scoring drive from the Niners came on their second of the game: run, run, run, run, run, run, TOUCHDOWN. It was the kind of drive we were expecting to see the rest of the game…only we didn’t. Despite it being a one-possession game for over 55 minutes…the Niners thought it would be best to pass.
Time and time again Kaepernick ran around trying to find an open teammate, only to throw it in the dirt, run out of bounds, or take a sack. It was mind-boggling, and played right into the Colts’ hands.
I could give the defense as a whole a game ball…I could give it to the o-line…I could give it to Ahmad Bradshaw who rushed for 95 yards on the day.
But today’s game ball belongs to one man: Ryan Grigson.
Last week the Colts were dealing with the aftermath of a disappointing home loss to the Miami Dolphins. A few days later they were dealing with the loss of (another) one of their best offensive weapons, Dwayne Allen. You could understand if the morale was low…and if this team needed a shot in the arm, they got it on Wednesday with the Richardson trade. It woke everyone up and sent the message that this team won’t mope, won’t flinch despite a daunting schedule ahead.
The Richardson deal may signify a bright future…but the present looks pretty damn good too. Grigson saw an opportunity, took it, and the timing could not have been better.
Speaking of good timing: Jaguars next week, y’all…