The new Colts era got off to a great start (assuming you turned your TV off after the first quarter). Andrew Luck completed his first career pass and the Colt’s new 3-4 Defense scored on an Interception return to take the early 7-0 lead. From there however, the game was all Bears as they cruised to an easy 41-21 victory.
There is, however, a silver lining in this loss. The young Colts made some great strides and learned a wealth of knowledge against one of the better teams in the NFC. As always, we had some studs who shined not only in the box score, but also by the way they adjusted their play throughout the game. Unfortunately, a rebuilding team also has a few duds who got badly exposed in week 1. So without further ado, here is the Indianapolis Colts Week 1 Studs and Duds and who to watch in week 2 against the Vikings.
Andrew Luck – QB – Say what you want about 4 turnovers and I cannot disagree (unless you mention the first pick which was underthrown, but should have come back for defensive offsides), but for a first outing, this kid played great. He was constantly scrambling for his life behind a poor at best O-Line. He did have some off target throws and a couple of rookie mistakes, but what should be encouraging is the way he adjusted to the defense and learned from his mistakes. Overall, this was a great first outing for a young rookie.
Reggie Wayne – WR – This game would have been ten times worse for everyone if Reggie wasn’t playing. Easily the best player on the Colts side of the ball on Sunday, Reggie showed no signs of slowing down grabbing 9 difficult balls and serving as a safety blanked for a first year starter. He maintained great route running and excellent field vision (as he always does). Thank God we still have Reggie!
Robert Mathis – OLB – Mathis showed us something that we haven’t seen from him in all of his years with the Colts, the ability to drop into coverage. He also reminded us how great he is as a pass rusher, getting a few good hits on Cutler. If we are judging by only one week of play, Mathis slides into the Linebacker role without issue.
Coby Fleener – TE – I was hard on Coby all throughout the Pre-Season for his penchant to drop balls. He showed great hands, route running, and the ability to separate on Sunday finally showing us all why he will be a nightmare for LBs to cover over his career.
The Offensive Line – I will not single out any one player here and will acknowledge that they played better in the second half, but overall, this unit was terrible. They failed to give Luck a chance to even see his second read before he was scrambling around. Their run blocking was even worse as Brown and Ballard were fighting off defenders three yards into the backfield. They HAVE to figure this out or it is going to be a painfully (literally) long season for the men in the backfield.
Justin King – CB – Flat out terrible. Two pass interference penalties (very obvious) and blown coverage throughout the game. Seems like Earl Bennett enjoyed playing against him…….. which is not a compliment.
Donald Brown – RB – Look past his stats as a runner and look squarely at his pass blocking and receiving (or severe lack thereof). This guy flat out stunk. He does not have any idea who to pick up on blitzes and he is looking downfield before he makes a catch (causing him to drop two balls that Luck could have underhanded to him). I give him two more weeks as the starter before Vic Ballard steps in.
Adam Vinatieri – K – Million dollar kickers can’t miss 35 yard field goals….. PERIOD.
WHO TO WATCH IN WEEK 2
Andrew Luck – Did he learn from game one?
O-Line – New additions and a couple of injuries will reshuffle the line. Can they protect better?
Donald Brown – Can he get his act together before Vic Ballard takes the reins?
Dwayne Allen – Quite in week 1, I expect him to play a lot more in week 2 and be a big factor. How does he look in the backfield?
Vontae Davis – With one game under his belt, do we begin to see the elite talent in week 2?