Colts get the win; rookie linebacker has stellar performance

The Colts did something on Sunday, that they had not done since week 15 of the 2016-17 season. They held an opponent under 10 points. In a game that featured tight end Eric Ebron and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton finding paydirt for the second straight week, the Colts defense was really the bigger headline. To open the game, Indianapolis drove 75 yards on 11 plays to go up 7-0. From that point, they would never trail, but weren’t without mistakes. The next two Colts drives would be a three and out, and a three play drive that ended in an interception (the first of two Andrew Luck interceptions). Following the pick, the Redskins drove 27 yards in 5 plays, settling for a 49 yard field goal. The Redskins momentum would be short lived though, as the Colts marched down the field on the next drive, capping it with an 8 yard Nyheim Hines touchdown. This put Indianapolis up 14-3, and they would take that lead into halftime.

To open the second half, the Redskins ran an 8 play 38 yard drive that fizzled out near midfield, as the Colts defense forced Washington to punt for a fifth time on the day. The next Indianapolis drive would be costly, as Andrew Luck threw a bad pass into double coverage. The pass found it’s way into D.J Swearinger’s hands for a second time. The interception would allow Washington to put three more points on the board, making the game 14-6. The Colts faced their 4th three and out of the game on the very next drive, which gave the Redskins a bit of momentum. Still, the momentum would only go so far, as the Washington offense was stopped in the red zone. They would settle for another Dustin Hopkins field goal, and inch closer to a score of 14-9. That’s as close as the Redskins would get on Sunday. Indianapolis answered right back with their only long drive of the second half. T.Y. Hilton would cap the 13 play drive with a touchdown, putting the Colts back up by 12 points. The next Redskins drive showed that the Colts may have found a second round gem in this year’s draft. Rookie linebacker Darius Leonard (18 tackles/1 sack/1 forced fumble) knocked the ball from of the hands of Washington tight end Jordan Reed, while cornerback Pierre Desir jumped on top for the recovery. The turnover, with five minutes left in the game, proved insurmountable for the Redskins. Washington would get one more chance to put points on the board, but the Colts defense once again stood their ground, forcing the Redskins into a turnover on downs. 21-9 is the final, and there are quite a few big takeaways from this game, as the Colts prepare for the Eagles next Sunday.

Takeaways

1) Jordan Wilkins was productive: The Colts rookie quietly rushed 10 times for 61 yards (6.1 avg). Indianapolis will need this type of ground production in order to keep the pressure off of Andrew Luck.

2) Darius Leonard was a beast: Rookies who act like veterans are my favorite kind of rookies. Leonard stepped up on Sunday with 18 tackles, a sack, and a key forced fumble in the fourth quarter. This could be the beginning of something special for this young Colts defense.

3) Colts can win, even when Andrew Luck isn’t playing his best ball: A fairly pedestrian day, Luck only threw for 179 yards, and also threw two interceptions. The turnovers could have been costly, but the defense stepped up, and held the Washington offense two field goals as opposed to touchdowns.

4) Indianapolis might have more defensive depth than we realize: Defensive tackle Jihad Ward, who had been taking up space on the Colts, had a great day. With a sack and 3 quarterback pressures (led team), we may see Ward on the field again next weekend.

5) The offensive line held up, even with missing pieces: Coming into the game, Washington’s defensive front looked worrisome. The Colts have lost three offensive linemen since the start of the preseason, and were thought to be a week unit. However, this line managed to show excellent resolve, keeping Luck upright (gave up only 1 sack for -2 yards) and paving the way for Colts running backs (running backs ran for 4.25 yards per carry)

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