Colts 17 - Browns 13
There was much to celebrate on Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis. In defeating the Cleveland Browns, the Colts earned their third win of the season, topping their win record from all of last year (2-14) just six games into the season. Moreover, with a .500 record of 3-3, the Colts now rank second in the AFC South behind only the 6-1 Texans. Perhaps most importantly, the team put on another display of #Chuckstrong magic for their ailing leader Chuck Pagano, who is still absent from the sidelines while receiving treatment for leukemia. There was success on all sides of the ball, and, consequently, there were numerous Horseshoe Heroes.
Who says the Colts don’t have a running game? The team’s only two touchdown scores were both earned on the ground, but they came from a somewhat surprising source: rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck showed he, like fellow first-round choice Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins, has some wheels on him, outrunning defenseman like a regular running back. In fact, Luck currently has the same number of rushing touchdowns (3) as star running back Adrian Peterson. He has more than Chris Johnson (2), Maurice Jones-Drew (1), and Matt Forte (1). Wow! And although Luck didn’t record a touchdown pass on the day, on his first scoring drive he was a perfect 4-4 for 67 yards. Now that’s what I call a duel-threat.
Luck wasn’t the only rookie Colt who impressed on the ground, however. With starting back Donald Brown still out with an injury, 5th-round draft choice Vick Ballard has had to rise to the occasion to take over his load, sharing time on the ground with 2011 draftee Delone Carter. On Sunday, Ballard showed that he is improving. He doubled his production from last week, rushing for 84 yards on 20 carries, including an impressive 26-yard run. Last week Ballard ran for just 42 yards on 10 carries.
On the receiving end, Reggie Wayne once again led the way. He led the team in both receptions (6) and yards (73). But what else is new? He also brought back his now famous orange gloves from the Colts’ memorable win against Green Bay. Are they perhaps a good luck charm? It’ll be interesting to see whether Wayne wears them next week at LP Field when the Colts travel to Tennessee.
He’s back! He’s back! The defense was immensely improved on Sunday with the addition of Pat Angerer. Angerer, who missed the first five games of the season while nursing a broken foot, was the star of the Colts last year, leading the team and ranking 4th in the entire league in tackles (146). His presence alone allows the Colts to have many more options at the linebacker position. Angerer recorded 2 solo tackles and 1 assist in his return, but those numbers should only go up as he gets more practice and game time.
Antoine Bethea led the team in tackles on Sunday, with 4 solo and 2 assists.
The Browns came within 1 point of the Colts in the third quarter, but Adam Vinatieri let them get no closer. He put the game away with his 38-yard field goal, his only attempt of the afternoon. He also successfully converted both of his extra point attempts, unlike the Browns, who botched their first extra point attempt in the second quarter.
The Colts will attempt to get their first win streak going of the season when they hit the road to take on division rival Tennessee next Sunday. Be sure to check back then for the results and my game review.
Stay CHUCKSTRONG, Colts fans!