Upon Further Review: Colts Week 3

September, 23, 2013
9/23/13
2:00
PM ET
An examination of five topics from the Indianapolis Colts’ 27-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

[+] EnlargeAhmad Bradshaw
AP Photo/Ben MargotAhmad Bradshaw's aggressive running helped fuel the Colts in their win over the 49ers.
Don’t forget about me: The recent hype surrounding the Colts centered on running back Trent Richardson after they acquired him from Cleveland on Sept. 18. Richardson will eventually become the starter, but current starter Ahmad Bradshaw played Sunday like he’s in no rush to hand the starting spot over to Richardson. The tough-running Bradshaw ran for 95 yards on 19 carries. He averaged 5.5 yards on 16 rushes between the tackles. Richardson scored the first time he touched the ball, but he’s still finding his way with his new team, which was expected since he’s had only three practices. He averaged 2.7 yards on 13 carries and was 0-of-3 on passes quarterback Andrew Luck targeted him. Bradshaw and Richardson played about the same number of snaps, with Bradshaw getting 30 plays to Richardson’s 28.

Not going down: The offensive line doesn’t only deserve credit for helping the Colts rush for 179 yards, the unit also should be praised for allowing only one sack to a physical 49ers defense. That’s worthy of a high-priced steak dinner paid for by Luck. The Colts did it with two starters out and right guard Mike McGlynn sliding over to start for injured center Samson Satele. The Colts kept 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith, who went into the game with 5.5 sacks, from getting to Luck. “It was a battle,” Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. “I was just working my butt off. When you’re going against a great player like [Smith], you can’t take any plays off.”

No need to go deep: Luck passed for fewer than 200 yards for the second time in three games this season thanks to the Colts' impressive rushing attack. You won’t hear any complaints from him because they won both of those games and it also means he’s not in the position to get sacked. Luck’s average pass attempt traveled a career-low 4.9 yards downfield after he entered the game averaging a league-high 10.1 yards. When Luck did throw downfield, though, he was 4-of-6 on attempts of at least 10 yards.

Some help with the foot: Indianapolis’ defense got a few assists from punter Pat McAfee. McAfee nailed three of his four punts inside the 49ers' 20-yard line. Speaking of special teams, kicker Adam Vinatieri made his first field goal at Candlestick Park. Seattle and Green Bay are the lone stadiums in the NFL in which Vinatieri, who is in his 18th season, has not made a field goal.

Filling in for Landry: There couldn’t have been a better game for safety Delano Howell to make his first career start. The former Stanford safety, starting in place of the injured LaRon Landry, had four tackles, three of them solo, and two defended passes after being inactive the first two games. Howell’s best solo stop -- and best Landry impression -- came in the second quarter when he made an open-field tackle on San Francisco receiver Anquan Boldin that saved a touchdown.

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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