It was bound to happen. Going perfect in our game predictions for a whole season was a nearly impossible feat, but to have it end the way it did today was especially disheartening. The Colts soundly outperformed the Lions both offensively and defensively today. The scoreboard reflected that emphatically. The Colts dominated the Lions after multiple Detroit miscues sunk the team. Surprisingly the Lions did win the special teams battle. They forced two missed extra points and blockdd a punt which lead to the first score for the Lions. So while the score is obvious, lets look back at some of the key plays, stats, and numbers from every quarter.
Miles Killebrew, who missed last week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons made his impact on this game early. He made a strong tackle on the opening kickoff and then blocked an Indianapolis punt to give Detroit great field position. Matthew Stafford found Marvin Jones for the first of his two touchdown receptions on the day. That would represent the only lead Detroit would have all afternoon. Romeo Okwara recorded his team-leading fifth sack of the season. His sack was one of five negative yardage plays the Lions defense forced in the opening quarter. Adrian Peterson once again got the start and the bulk of early carries to almost no success. That trend would continue throughout the game.
The second quarter is when things really shifted in the Colts favor. Philip Rivers came into the game sixth in the NFL in completion percentage. He matched his season average of 69 percent today against Detroit. His best quarter was the second when he threw three touchdown passes. Two of those three were caught by Nyheim Hines. The Lions had no answers for him in coverage and he took advantage of those mismatches in the secondary. His touchdowns book-ended a Jack Doyle touchdown that wouldn’t happened if not for an unnecessary roughness penalty against Danny Shelton. Shelton met two other Lions defenders at Rivers and sacked him, but Shelton threw him to the ground after the whistle. The Lions also had issues on the offensive line. Joe Dahl ended up coming in at guard, moving Hal Vaitai to right tackle where Tyrell Crosby had started the game. That combo wasn’t any better and gave up five sacks during the game. The only special teams miscue that Detroit had came going into halftime when Matt Prater badly missed a 48 yard field goal which would’ve cut the lead to 10.
Things were quiet for most of the third quarter. After Stafford led the team down the field to bring things to within six the team alternated three-and-outs. Near the end of the third quarter the Lions were poised to make things a three point game going into the fourth quarter. That is until Darius Leonard, who had missed the last two games, strip-sacked Stafford. That was the first fumble for Detroit and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. That would lead to what happened in the fourth quarter.
Following the fumble recovery Indianapolis made some things happen offensively, but faced a third and long. Rivers threw deep and ended up getting Justin Coleman to commit a pass interference penalty which gave the Colts a 41 yard gain. Jordan Wilkins came into this game with just two touches over his last two games, but became the featured runner today. He ran 20 times for 89 yards and a touchdown following the Coleman penalty. He would also score the two point conversion to extend the lead early in the fourth to 28-14. The very next play for Detroit was a pick-6 from Stafford which would ultimately put the game out of reach. Stafford did rebound and found Marvin Hall for a 73 yard pass which set up the second touchdown catch for Jones. Trey Burton, who may be better known as the thrower of the “Philly Special”, ran in the final score of the game to make things 41-21.
Conclusion: Colts Dominated Nearly Every Aspect
The Colts dominated this game from the second quarter onward. Detroit showed some fight at various points, but were outmatched up front. Indianapolis’ offensive and defensive lines out-powered Detroit all game and made the difference. Stafford played one of his worst games of the year, but that happens when you rush for 29 yards as a team. The Colts defense lived up to their billing as one of the best in the league. Detroit will have their hands full next week against Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota Vikings.