The Colts struggled to find traction after a strong first half which led to a 34-23 loss to a decent Bengal unit. Today was not a horrible day but there were a few struggle spots especially with star left tackle Anthony Castonzo and running back Marlon Mack both out in this important season opener. The rushing game was lack-luster while the defense surprised us all in a couple ways in which I’m about to dive into.
The much-anticipated return of Andrew Luck came and went as Luck had arguably one of the best returns he could have had. He threw for three hundred nineteen yards in fifty-three attempts in which he completed thirty-nine. Two of his completions being touchdowns and also throwing an interception in his first drive back. Luck had a huge game back not only stat wise but physically. Luck was sacked twice by the physical and tough Bengal defensive line and hit fourteen times one of which was a brutal hit by Bengal safety Shawn Williams which led to Williams getting ejected after Luck ran for seven yards.
Sixth-round draft pick Jordan Wilkins got the start today with Mack out, leading to him rushing for forty yards in fourteen attempts and twenty-one receiving yards on just three receptions. Fourth-round draft pick Nyheim Hines had a decent day as he ran for nineteen yards in five attempts and totaled thirty-three receiving yards in seven completions. Overall it was not a bad day for the rookie backs but the focus this week was definitely focused on getting Andrew Luck comfortable with passing.
T.Y. Hilton had a blast now that he has his QB back, achieving forty-six yards in five completions, racking a touchdown in Lucks return to Lucas Oil Stadium. 2017 free agent Ryan Grant proved his worth catching eight of nine passes thrown his way for a total of fifty-nine yards. The tight end duo Jack Doyle and former Lion Eric Ebron had decent days as Doyle caught seven passes from Luck for sixty yards while Ebron had fifty yards in just four passes. Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers each had eighteen yards, however, Pascal got his yards from just one completed pass where Rogers had his eighteen yards in three completions.
Heading over to the defensive side of the ball, we saw rookie linebacker Darius Leonard be a tackle monster, racking up nine total tackles. Strong safety Clayton Geathers racked seven while sharing reps. Slot cornerback Nate Hairston had six tackles while Anthony Walker had five and a hit on Andy Dalton throughout the day. Veteran Margus Hunt had two QB hits, three tackles for loss, and two sacks on Andy Dalton adding to his three tackles. As for the Colts pass deflections and interceptions, Jabaal Sheard and Kenny Moore each had a deflection while Moore had the team’s only interception of the game which he returned for thirty-two yards.
Ending this off we look at the G.O.A.T. Adam Vinatieri who went three for four on field goals and two for two on extra points. A bit of a soft start to the season but with star left tackle Anthony Castonzo returning most likely next week, there is much more to be seen from this explosive Colts team and coaching staff.