Monday, November 25, 2013
Upon Further Review: Colts Week 12
By Mike Wells
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- An examination of five topics from the Indianapolis Colts' 40-11 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Hurting even more: The Colts have struggled on defense since cornerback Greg Toler went down with a groin injury before the Nov. 3 game at Houston. Fellow starting cornerback Vontae Davis left the game in the third quarter Sunday, also with a groin injury. The Colts have to hope Davis’ injury won’t keep him sidelined for an extended time the same way it’s kept Toler out for the past four games. Toler could return to the lineup for the next game against the Tennessee Titans. Receiver LaVon Brazill left the game in the fourth quarter with a back contusion.
A record for Mathis: The Colts sacked Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer three times on Sunday. One of those sacks was a strip-sack by linebacker Robert Mathis. That was the 40th strip-sack of Mathis’ career, moving him ahead of Jason Taylor for first on the all-time list. Mathis leads the league in sacks with 14.5. Mathis didn't talk about his accomplishment because he left the locker room without speaking to reporters.
Where’s T.Y.? Receiver T.Y. Hilton has vanished from the offense after having back-to-back games of at least 121 yards receiving. Teams have offset Hilton’s speed by providing help over the top, which has made him a nonfactor in the past two games. He followed up his 44 yards receiving against Tennessee on Nov. 14 by having five catches for 38 yards against Arizona. Hilton left the game momentarily with a shoulder injury. “You hate to see people go down like that,” quarterback Andrew Luck said. “He’s a tough warrior. He’s a tough sucker.”
By the numbers: The Cardinals didn’t have to pressure Luck with extra men for him to have the second-lowest passing game of his career. Luck completed only 55.4 percent of his pass attempts when facing four or fewer rushers. Arizona sent extra pressure on only 12 of Luck’s 42 dropbacks. Luck finished the game 20-of-39 for 163 yards. He threw for a career-low 159 yards against San Francisco in Week 3.
Running game is an embarrassment: Not that Luck has many options to choose from at receiver, but the Colts are better off putting the ball in his hands and letting him dictate things than trusting their running backs. Trent Richardson and Donald Brown, the team’s top two running backs, combined for 16 yards on nine carries. The Colts ran the ball only 15 times. They’ve rushed for more than 100 yards just once in their past four games. “We want to run the football, but again, when you get down like we got down it’s hard to stick with the run,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “And we were going against the No. 2 run defense in the league.”