Colts vs. Cardinals: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Indianapolis
Another big loss, this time on the road, another report card that is a bit unbearable to write.
All of the Colts' issues reared their ugly heads on Sunday, and those issues will be discussed at length this week.
For now, however, let's just take a look at the individuals in this week's report card.
Andrew Luck: D
Look, we've talked about this before. Luck is in one of the worst situations a quarterback can be in right now. You can't help but feel bad for him, and he can't be the one to take the blame for what's going on in Indianapolis.
But you also can't just pretend the game didn't happen. Luck didn't play well. There are reasons why he didn't play well (having no offensive line doesn't help), but he didn't play well.
Luck had the worst yards per attempt of his career, threw a bad pick that was returned for a touchdown and couldn't put anything together offensively until the game was already over. It was a bad game. Accept it and move on.
Trent Richardson: C-
Richardson pretty much looked like his usual self. He did have one nice run for eight yards where he hit the hole decisively and didn't hesitate; he needs more runs like that. He got caught from behind by a defensive lineman one play where he had 10-15 yards in front of him, but he simply didn't get through the hole quick enough. That happens far too often.
Richardson finished with 15 yards on seven carries.
Donald Brown: Inc.
Just one week after clinching the game and running for 80 yards on 14 carries, Brown received just two handoffs against Arizona. Yes, the game situation strains things (you can't hand off on every play when you're down three scores), but Brown has to get more looks.
Dan Herron: B-
The running back off of the street looks like a better back than Trent Richardson. Sure, Herron's action came with the game well in hand, but he did a good job when asked to and managed to actually kneel a kick return in the end zone as well, mastering the technique that David Reed has had so much trouble with.
T.Y. Hilton: C
Against a stout Arizona secondary, Hilton struggled, catching five balls for 38 yards. The vast majority of Hilton's action came on screens and short slants, as the Colts struggled to get Hilton open. The physicality of the secondary (and some inaccurate throws by Luck) threw Hilton off enough to keep him from being successful at all down the field.
On the positive end, Hilton did draw a pass interference down the field, his sixth drawn DPI of the season (most in the NFL).
Darrius Heyward-Bey: D+
He's a waste of space on the field at this point. Heyward-Bey finished with three catches for 22 yards. Typical.
LaVon Brazill: C
Brazill did some decent things on Sunday, catching three passes for 35 yards, including a few nice third-down conversions.
David Reed: D
An even bigger waste of space on offense, Reed didn't catch a single ball (two targets) and got his weekly return held short of the 20 when he was tackled at the 16 on Sunday.
Coby Fleener: B-
Fleener needed to have a big day and responded with a team-leading 55 yards and a touchdown on four catches. So, not exactly ideal, but not terrible either. The problem with Fleener is that the Colts didn't use him where the Cardinals are vulnerable (deep down the middle).
Weslye Saunders and Justice Cunningham: D+
Blech. The fact that this is the Colts' best option at tight end is a little sickening.
Run Blocking: F
Nine carries for 16 yards by the Colts' two main running backs. That's really all you need to know.
Pass Protection: D-
The numbers don't really tell the story here; the Colts only allowed one sack, but Luck was consistently under pressure and was never able to find a rhythm.
Hugh Thornton continues a very rough rookie season, and Mike McGlynn hasn't been much better. Even the normally solid tackles struggled at times on Sunday.
Run Defense: D-
As I mentioned in my takeaways, the Cardinals could pretty much do anything they wanted to do on offense, and it was largely because the Colts couldn't force them to stop running the ball. RBs Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall combined for over 100 yards
Pass Rush: D+
The pass rush gets a bit of a boost thanks to Robert Mathis' sack and Ricky Jean Francois finding Palmer twice, but the pass rush was inconsistent and not a real threat for Palmer, who could find someone open on seemingly every dropback.
Robert Mathis: B
Mathis added to his season and career lists with another sack on Sunday, one that actually also forced a fumble. He also had a couple nice plays against the run game, something that can't be taken for granted with Mathis.
Bjoern Werner: D+
The rookie has had a rough season, and without Erik Walden playing on Sunday, Werner's flaws were magnified. Werner has struggled to set the edge all season, and he offered pretty much nothing in pass rush on Sunday. He did have one phenomenal pass breakup with a diving deflection in the first half.
Jerrell Freeman: C
Pat Angerer: D+
Another week, another lackluster performance from the Colts' inside linebackers. Freeman finished with eight tackles, leading the team, including one tackle for a loss. Angerer got worked over on crossing routes on the day, as the Cardinals targeted him early and often.
Vontae Davis: C-
Cassius Vaughn: D+
Darius Butler: C
Davis did have one pass breakup, but struggled to locate the ball in the air for most of the day. His coverage wasn't awful, but Palmer was putting the ball in great places and Davis struggled to get his head around and knock passes down. Vaughn simply isn't very good, and having him in the starting lineup is stress-inducing.
Butler had a decent game with a couple strong plays in run defense and screen plays.
Antoine Bethea: D
LaRon Landry: C-
The safeties both struggled in this one, taking poor angles in run defense and not breaking up any deep balls. The Cardinals had all kinds of success throwing down the field, and tight end Rob Housler finished with 51 yards receiving.
Pat McAfee: B
It was a decent day, nothing to write home about. He finished with five punts for an average of 44.6 yards per punt.
Adam Vinatieri: A
He made his one field goal, so kudos to him.