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INDIANAPOLIS – Our new 2018 series on 1070TheFan.com this year will be defining ‘hits’ and ‘misses’ from the previous game.
Following arguably their worst performance of the 2018 season, the Colts were dominant against the Bills, with a 37-5 victory on Sunday afternoon.
What was the good and bad from Week Seven of the regular season?
-Marlon Mack Explodes: This is why the Colts are so high on Marlon Mack. The second-year back had 19 carries for 126 yards on Sunday, and took a non-threatening dump pass 29 yards for a touchdown, too. Mack’s explosive nature was a huge part of what the Colts received on Sunday—balance this franchise isn’t used to at all. Sunday was Mack’s second full healthy game this season, so his chances to live up to the staff’s high expectations have been limited. He has to be viewed as a capable complement in the higher end of the skill department, with T.Y. Hilton atop that group for the Colts. Andrew Luck has never had anything close to a consistent runner in his career. Well, Mack is averaging 6.1 yards per carry on 41 attempts this season, a number Luck has dreamed about from his lead back.
-Offensive Line Again Controls The Trenches: Let’s put the rushing performance on the back burner for just a second. The Colts also didn’t allow a sack on Sunday. It’s the second consecutive week that Andrew Luck hasn’t been sacked. That’s happened one other time in Luck’s career. Now, the offensive also manhandled Buffalo in the run game and opened up massive holes all day long for all three of the Colts’ runners. With four offensive linemen starting who were all top-40 picks, the Colts used their elite offensive trench talent to establish a productive run game on Sunday. Some credit to Mark Glowinski at right guard and Braden Smith at right tackle for more than holding their own and paving the way for some big runs, as well. One thing to note: Luck hasn’t been sacked in 125 straight pass attempts, dating back to the first series of the New England game in Week Five.
-How About Mike Mitchell? What a find by Chris Ballard with the signing of Mitchell two weeks ago. Mitchell was very solid in his Colts’ debut against the Jets. He was even better on Sunday, with 7 solo tackles, 2 pass deflections, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble. The timeliness of Mitchell’s turnovers on Sunday were huge. Both came in Buffalo territory in the second quarter, when the game was still in doubt. Mitchell’s presence has been much-needed with the injuries to Clayton Geathers and Matthias Farley going to injured reserve.
-Reliability of Kenny Moore On Display: Kenny Moore did a little bit of everything on Sunday. He had 7 tackles (tied for the second most on the team), 2 pass deflections and an interception. Moore has to be the steadiest defender the Colts have, not named Darius Leonard. The tackling of Moore was again evident, with him actually on the stop that sent LeSean McCoy out of the game. In both of the Colts’ wins this season, Moore has shown up with sound tackling in the open field.
-Flip Turnover Script: Coming into Sunday, the Colts were the worst team in the league in creating points off turnovers (minus 34). They turned 5 turnovers on Sunday into 24 points. Defensive playmaking has been a very consistent ability for that side of the ball in 2018. The 5 turnovers forced were the most for the team since 2008. They came with interceptions by defensive backs Mike Mitchell, Kenny Moore and Corey Moore. Forced fumbles came from Kemoko Turay and Mitchell. The playmaking was there and the offense turned those terrific opportunities into points, making sure Buffalo had no chance to get back into the game.
-An Injured Adam Vinatieri: Sunday was too good to be true. Of course, on a day when it seemed like nothing could go wrong for the Colts, their reliable kicker missed two extra points and is still clearly not over his groin injury form earlier this month. Vinatieri could miss some time with a nagging groin injury that had him on the injury report back in Week Five, but still did not force him to miss any game/practice action. Vinatieri is never a worry for the Colts, but now his health is a concern going into one more game this Sunday before the bye week.
-Ryan Kelly Snapping The Ball: Yes, maybe I’m nitpicking a little bit. But for all the self-infliction avoided by the Colts yesterday (no drops!!!), they did give the Bills 2 points. That came courtesy of Ryan Kelly firing a snap that Andrew Luck did not expect that early. The Colts had a hard count on, but Kelly snapped it back earlier than Luck expected. The miscommunication led to a safety. In back-to-back home games, issues with snaps have led to the Colts giving the opponent 9 points. It’s odd to see such unusual plays happen at home, too, where the crowd is silent. This is an issue that needs to cease.