Ah, and there's much rejoicing in Coltsland now that the new edition of the team has its first win. It was tenuous, and it almost slipped away, but the Colts are now on the board. Here are some of ColtPlay's observations:
QB: I always knew Andrew Luck was a rare talent, but this game really indicated how special he really is. With no running game (the team went 26-63-0, a 2.42 average, if you subtract Luck's four runs) and opponents infesting the pocket, he managed to perform brilliantly.
HB: Donald Brown had one of those days he seems to have far too often. He dashed once for 15 yards around left tackle on a shotgun play, but the rest of the day saw him go 15-30 on the ground. Perhaps mindful of his two drops last week, Luck didn't throw to Brown once. The excitement that surrounded backup and erstwhile heir apparent Vick Ballard appears to have evaporated. Almost useless as a rusher against the Vikings, he failed to catch the single pass thrown his way. Speaking of shaken faith, my own in Mewelde Moore as a useful, role-playing veteran is waning. I can forgive his -2 yards on one rush because it was a dumb play call and the O-line did not help him at all, and I like his 8-yard reception on 2nd and three, but his drop was really, really ugly. The situation is bad here, but expect it to stay the seam because there's not really any other option.
WR: Can we stop the Donnie Avery hate now? Against the Vikings, he performed well inside and out against favorable matchups and not-so-favorable matchups. Do I expect 100-yard games from him regularly? No, but i do think he'll be a fine contributor for the rest of the season at least. A lot of Avery's looks probably came because the Vikings did their best to bottle up Reggie Wayne. They didn't do a great job as Wayne caught everything thrown his way, including a touchdown. Kris Adams was the third receiver again, but after catching just two of six passes for 26 yards in two games, I'm not sure he'll keep it. Barring the triumphant return of Austin Collie, the options to replace Adams would be rookies TY Hilton or LaVon Brazill. So far, both have looked talented, but lost.
TE: Neither Coby Fleener nor Dwayne Allen have lived up to the preseason hype yet, but both have showed promise. Against the Vikings, Fleener had some key catches, but also a drop. Allen scored a touchdown on his first and only catch of the season. Neither did anything good or bad as a blocker, but ColtPlay favorite Dominique Jones didn't play much, but he did get a little push in the run game.
OL: Awful, just awful. Surprisingly, Jeff Linkenbach was not the worst, Seth Olson was. After Samson Satele went down and Mike McGlynn slid over from right guard to take his place, recent signee Trai Essex played. If it wasn't for his two penalties, Essex would have graded out as the best of the Colts' linemen. that says a lot.
DL: The starting ends, Cory Redding and Fili Moala, both played very well, but were let down by Mookie Johnson's inability to deal with Vikings center John Sullivan. His backup, Martin Tevaseu, did little better, and the backup ends, Ricardo Matthews and Drake Nevis, added little.
OLB: Am I nuts, or did Jerry Hughes actually look like an NFL player? Maybe the new scheme was all he needed. Still, I'm reserving judgement until I see some consistency. Robert Mathis continued his pass-rushing excellence, and was more solid against the run than I had seen in a while. Backups Mario Addison and Justin Hickman played a bit, but didn't make much difference.
ILB: When everyone was going crazy over Jerrell Freeman for his Pick-6 last week, I took the time to point out his missed tackles and problems shedding blocks. Now it looks like I was quibbling after he played lights-out against the Vikings. Well, he had problems in coverage (especially against Percy Harvin, but that's forgivable), but maybe I am quibbling. His excellent performance was equaled (and perhaps helped out) by a similar effort from Kavell Conner. Backup Moise Fokou also looked quite good. This will be quite the position of strength when Pat Angerer comes back from injury.
CB: After a shaky debut, Vontae Davis rebounded with a good game, much to the relief of Colts fans everywhere. On the other side, Jerraud Powers provided his usual solid showing. Harvin made life hard for slot guy Justin King, but he held up fairly well, certainly better than most would have predicted in the offseason.
S: Both Tom Zbikowski and Antoine Bethea played at a high standard, although Bethea did have a costly missed tackle. Backups Sergio Brown and Joe Lefeged showed up, but didn't make any difference good or bad.
ST: The Colts are blessed with two outstanding kickers. Adam Vinatieri won the game on a long field goal after the Vikings tied it up, and Pat McAfee continued his excellence on both kickoffs and punts. TY Hilton did not look exciting on returns, but at least he held on to the ball. Coverage teams continued to be fast and energetic, but not all that disciplined.