|Colts vs Redskins: Week 2 winners and losers|
There is nothing quite as sweet as getting a win in your road opener against a tough opponent. That’s exactly what the Indianapolis Colts did when they walked into FedEx Field and upset the Washington Redskins 21-9. It was a solid performance from both sides of the ball Indianapolis Colts Womens T-Shirt , and one that never really felt like it was out of the Colts’ hands. The defense in particular managed to really limit the potent rushing attack of the Redskins, which enabled the offense to put up points and play with the lead. So let’s take a look at the winners and losers from this week two matchup.WinnersDarius LeonardPhoto by Patrick Smith/Getty Images18 tackles. Clearly this guy’s parents didn’t teach him to share, as he just basically went out there and hoarded all the tackles for himself. 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss, 1 pass defended, and 1 forced fumble. If the Colts would have lined him up out wide on offense, he probably could have caught a touchdown pass too. In all seriousness, this is how you put yourself into serious consideration as Defensive Rookie of the Year. Darius Leonard was all over the place making plays, and you can bet people will know his name going forward. This guy is going to be a fun player to watch for a long time, and of the type the Colts haven’t had in a long while.T.Y. HiltonHilton made his presence known early, and proved to be a major factor all game. 7 of 11 for 83 yards and a touchdown, Hilton worked perfectly as a security blanket for Luck, playing a major role in the offense’s success on 3rd down in the first half. Given the tendency for this offense to spread the ball around and get everyone involved, we likely won’t see insane numbers to Hilton this season. However, his involvement and ability to make plays after the catch has already been on display, and was even more significant today. If the Colts can get their offensive line healthy, they can likely work the deep ball more and that’ll further help Hilton’s effectiveness.Jordan WilkinsPhoto by Rob Carr/Getty ImagesWilkins looked like the best running back on the field in yesterday’s game and was the Colts’ most effective back in the Colts’ running back by committee approach. With Marlon Mack still looking to me like a guy who is playing at less than 100%, Wilkins stepped right up. He seemed patient, balanced Indianapolis Colts Hats , and willing to take what the defense gave him and then some.He finished the day with 10 carries for 61 yards. Wilkins doesn’t need to be a dominant player, and I expect his year to look less impressive on the stat sheet than it does on film. This game showed what a patient runner he is and how good his vision is as well. If not for quick thinking and a nice play by him, a terrible screen pass call would’ve resulted in a safety. This guy looks like a very solid addition to the running backs room. Jabaal SheardThis was a strong effort from both Sheard and Margus Hunt. Sheard was in on 3 tackles, 2 for a loss, a sack, 2 QB hits, and a batted ball. This is exactly the kind of performance the Colts hope to see against a very good offensive line. Sheard certainly wasn’t doing this alone, and much of their success was as a result of stunts and twists, but it was a good showing, and the kind they need to keep seeing this or better from him if they want to have any chance to get wins against some of their tougher opponents. Pierre DesirGeoff Burke-USA TODAY SportsAfter not seeing a single defensive snap last week, Desir made the most of his time on the field yesterday. He had 4 tackles, 1 for a loss, had a critical pass breakup in the end zone that prevented a touchdown, very nearly intercepted another that he broke up, and recovered a fumble that was forced by Darius Leonard. Not a bad showing for a guy who last week played second fiddle to a guy with a broken hand. He certainly made a case for keeping himself in the lineup going forward.Honorable Mentions: Jihad Ward, Eric Ebron, Nyheim Hines, Offensive LineLosers3rd Quarter Offensive Play CallingPhoto by Michael Hickey/Getty ImagesThe biggest and most concerning loser of this game is definitely the 3rd quarter offense, and the play calling that is leading to it. It seems as though the team has a very good game plan in place for the offense throughout much of the early first half. At some point Indianapolis Colts Womens Hoodie , however, there has been a clear drop-off through two games in terms of the offensive effectiveness. I don’t know what the cure is here, but they’ve got to come out of half time with some scripted plays for the second half, so that the offense can find some momentum. This coaching staff is going to have to figure out a way to adjust and deal with all those defensive changes from the other team. Maybe that means coming out of the half running no-huddle to wrong-foot the defense, or maybe it means scripting some situational plays so that they know they can get a couple quick wins to get started. Whatever they land on, they have got to figure something out, because better teams are going to beat them if they go flat for a whole quarter every game. Andrew LuckPhoto by Rob Carr/Getty ImagesThe biggest danger to the Colts getting a win today was due to Andrew Luck’s play. His two picks both led to points by the Redskins, and the Colts’ defense bailed him out by holding them to field goals rather than touchdowns. Luck’s first pick of the game is hard to pin on him, because it was a good play by the Redskins’ defense to get a hand on the ball, and a heads up play by Swearinger to get under the ball for the pick. Defenses get paid to make plays, and this was an example of a very good one.However, the second one was just another example of Luck getting antsy and trying to force the ball in to Hilton when the pass isn’t there. He has Jordan Wilkins open on a dump pass to the left side, Chester Rogers crossing the middle of the field, and Jack Doyle on a drag route from left to right. All these guys are better options than Hilton given the coverage, but that’s where Luck goes. If they cannot eliminate these kinds of silly turnovers, they’ll put themselves in bad spots and give up games they should win. This young defense cannot hold out every time, and it would be foolish to put pressure on them to do more than hold on to a lead. Hopefully Andrew will settle down and begin getting more comfortable with his many receiving options and learn to throw the ball away when the good options simply aren’t there. For now though, we can simply bask in the glow of a win on the road and look forward to a meeting on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champion Eagles. When Andrew Luck gazes over Cincinnati's defense Sunday, he'll see some of the league's top pass rushers.Defensive tackle Geno Atkins often gets the interior push. Michael Johnson Womens Customized Indianapolis Colts Jerseys , Carlos Dunlap and Carl Lawson routinely bring the outside pressure.So with Luck making his first start in more than 20 months, the Cincinnati Bengals hope to make life miserable as the Colts quarterback re-acclimates himself to regular-season life in the NFL."My biggest concern, they have a really good front seven," Luck said. "It's always a tough defense. Geno Atkins is a heck of a player, (Carlos) Dunlap on the edge, got guys that can cover. So it's always a challenge."Circumstances could make this season opener even more challenging for Indy.Longtime left tackle Anthony Castonzo missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury and was limited in practice earlier this week. Denzelle Good, who appeared to be the favorite at right tackle, hasn't played since hurting his left knee in the third preseason game.Then there's rookie left guard Quenton Nelson, the No. 6 pick. He's likely to draw the assignment on Atkins, and there's no assurance second-year running back Marlon Mack will return from a hamstring injury that has kept him off the field since the preseason opener. If Mack can't play, rookies Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines may be asked to help protect Luck, one of the league's highest-paid players.No, it's not an ideal start for a quarterback who missed the 2017 season while recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder.But the Colts may not have a choice."We will do everything we can do to neutralize the pass rush — no matter what five guys are up front," new coach Frank Reich said. "And that will be No. 1 on the pass game agenda each week: How do you protect the passer?"The Bengals have other concerns after losing eight straight in Indy.They're expecting to face a crowd eager to welcome back Luck and capable of making enough noise to slow down the pass rushers."I think everybody there is going to be excited," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "We know the kind of player that he is. I guess if you're going to play Andrew Luck, you'd rather be playing him now than Week 12."NEW STRIPESThe Bengals debut their redesigned offense under coordinator Bill Lazor after giving a few previews during the preseason. They made more of an effort to get big plays, something missing last season. Andy Dalton looked comfortable with the new playbook in his limited preseason time, completing 71 percent of his passes with four touchdowns, one interception — the receiver fell on his route — and a passer rating of 130.9."I feel real comfortable with the way I played www.coltscheapshop.com ," Dalton said.DOUBLE DOSELast year, in Philadelphia, Reich took advantage of a plethora of solid tight ends.Expect more of the same this season in Indy.The Colts signed free agent Eric Ebron, Detroit's first-round pick in 2014, to help stretch the field as Pro Bowler Jack Doyle continues to exploit the middle. Indy also has former basketball player Eric Swoope and Ryan Hewitt, a former Bengal, on the roster. And all four could play Sunday.NEW O-LINEThe offensive line was the biggest issue in Cincinnati's offense finishing last in the league in 2017.There's only one returning starter — left guard Clint Boling — as the unit's been overhauled.It'll be the first time that left tackle Cordy Glenn, rookie center Billy Price, right guard Alex Redmond and right tackle Bobby Hart play together in a regular-season game.RECORD WATCHAdam Vinatieri's 23rd NFL season could be the most remarkable of his career.The four-time Super Bowl champion needs seven field goals to break Morten Andersen's record (565), five field goals from the 40-49-yard range to take over the top spot from Gary Anderson and 58 points to break Andersen's mark of 2,544.How has he done it? By keeping things in perspective."You definitely want to start off on the right note," he said. "We know how important it is, we know how much our owner wants to win this first game. We know how important it is to win at home in front of our home crowd, all the above."NO BURFICTFor the fourth straight season, the Bengals will be without linebacker Vontaze Burfict at the outset.He missed the first six games of 2015 while recovering from a knee injury and has been suspended for the start of each of the past three.This time, Burfict will miss the first four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancers.