Week 3 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 6, Indianapolis Colts 13
What you need to know
As the New England Patriot’s defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel always game planned well against Peyton Manning and the Colts. This game was more of the same as the deep pass was completely taken away by the Browns’ pass defense, leaving Manning with shorter opportunities. The one time that Manning went deep, it was into triple coverage, and he was picked off.
Trent Dilfer handled himself very well under solid pressure from the Colts’ defense. After not receiving a sack this season, Dilfer was sacked four times in the first half. Although pressured throughout the game, Dilfer held it together, took the short passes given to him, and finished strong.
Dennis Northcutt’s 82 yard punt return for a TD was nullified by a block above the waist penalty.
Peyton Manning is on pace for an 11 TD season. There will be calls that he has been “Dungified”, meaning that head coach Tony Dungy has stripped the offense of it’s huge scoring potential. Manning played very well, taking what the defense handed to him: the short underneath passing lanes. This was not Dungy reeling in the offense as it was the Browns taking away the long pass. Manning still finished completing all but four of his passing attempts.
Although it won’t show on the score board, Manning really started to move the ball in the second half, and the Colt’s offense came alive after struggling in the first half.
With the Cleveland defense geared to take away the deep passing lanes, Edgerrin James had a field day rushing for 108 yards on 27 carries with a score. Leading two time consuming drives in the second half, James picked the Colts up and carried them to a win.
What you ought to know
Dilfer was held to a similar game plan that Manning was. The defense allowed for short passes in front of the defenders, with no opportunity for the long pass. Dilfer took advantage of the short game, and looked every bit as good as Manning in the game. The Colts’ defense put immense pressure on Dilfer, sacking him four times in the first half after he hadn’t been sacked all season. Dilfer was walking with a limp after a big hit in the third quarter, but continued on without issue. Although he was hurried, Dilfer stayed in the pocket, and finished with a respectable 22-29 for 208 yards against this suddenly very tough defense.
Droughns ran with power. On a rush early in the game, Droughns jumped over a defender on the ground at the line of scrimmage, used a spin move to make another miss, pushed through a third defender, only to be pulled down by a fourth. In a scare for Droughns’ owners, he did leave the field with an injury in the third quarter, but returned quickly showing no difficulties.
Suggs was finally on the active list but did not rush the ball.
Green’s biggest contribution on the day was returning kickoffs.
Bryant was called for taunting for throwing the football in the face of a Colts’ defender after his 19 yard reception. He caught seven of his ten passes and was the key to the passing game for the day. His emotional outburst cost the team 15 yards that the Browns didn’t need to lose. Dilfer looked for Bryant throughout the game.
Edwards caught the ball well, and was able to pick up yards after the catch working opposite Antonio Bryant. Not looked for as often in the first half when the Browns were struggling under heavy pressure from the Colts’ defense, Edwards was able to establish himself in the second half with a number of nice receptions.
Jackson received almost all of this looks in the first half with Dilfer just attempting to get rid of the ball. As the second half came on the Browns were handling the rush better, and Jackson was not a factor.
Northcutt was not a factor in the passing game, but he did have an 82 yard punt return for a touchdown nullified by a penalty.
Heiden didn’t receive a target in the first half. He caught both balls thrown to him in the second half, but was not a factor in the game.
Dawson made field goals from 40 and 22 yards out.
The defense keyed on taking away the deep passing lanes from Manning, allowing Edgerrin James to take the ball repeatedly on the ground. James took what was given and had a solid game against the run defense.
The Browns’ secondary played surprisingly well. Manning was limited to short passes for most of the game. The one time that he went deep, it was into triple coverage, and it was intercepted. The Browns did not give up the deep passing lanes.
|QB Peyton Manning, Pass: 19 - 23 - 228 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - -3 - 0|
Manning finished with a strong completion percentage of 83% posting 19-23-228. Not the five TDs that many were wishing for, but still a very solid game. The Cleveland defense loaded up in the deep backfield, taking away the entire long pass opportunities. Manning responded by taking the short game that was given to him, completing all but four pass attempts. The one time that Manning tried to stretch the field with a long pass, he threw into triple coverage for an interception.
James had a solid game marching down the field as the Colts fed him the ball. James took himself out of the game for a breather at least twice leading to Ran Carthon getting some scoring opportunities in the red zone.
Carthon had three carries for a total of six yards. It should be noted that Carthon had back to back carries inside the Brown’s eight yard line in the Colts’ first possession of the second half. Carthon was stopped at the Browns’ five yard line, resulting in a field goal.
Wayne was non existent in the first half, and then came on in the second with the entire offense moving the ball well. The stat line will show a 51 yard reception, but it was a short pass where Wayne took the ball for a long gain after the reception. Wayne fumbled the ball after a gain in the second half.
No Colt could find any room deep down the field. The one long pass was to a triple teamed Harrison where the ball was intercepted. Harrison was the key to the passing offense throughout the game. He was targeted more than twice that of any other wide receiver in the first half, and as often as Reggie Wayne in the second half. With the deep pass unavailable, Harrison worked to get free underneath. As the Colts’ offense started to click in the second half, Harrison led the mix.
Stokley caught a pass for nine yards early in the game, and was never looked to again.
Clark was looked to in the first half as the Colts’ offense struggled. Clark was nothing more than a dump off to keep Manning out of trouble. As the offense started to move in the second half, Clark was not a factor in the game.
Fletcher reeled in a 23 yard pass in the Colts’ second drive of the game taking the ball down to the two yard line where James promptly punched it in for a score. Outside of that reception, Fletcher caught one additional ball for three yards while on the Colts’ side of the field.
Vanderjagt made field goals from 20 and 23 yards out.
The Colts were impressive again shutting down the run. Although Droughns looked impressive on a number of his carries, the Colts’ defense limited the Browns rushing offense to short gains and contained them throughout the game.
The Colts put a good deal of pressure on Trent Dilfer forcing him to thrown the ball in front of the defense, and then used their speed to stop the play. Dwight Freeney sacked Trent Dilfer three times in the first half, with Robert Mathis adding another.