Week 4 Game Recap: Indianapolis Colts 31, Tennessee Titans 10
What you need to know
Marvin Harrison played with a cast on his left wrist. It had no effect on his game when catching the ball to his left, but he did struggle some when having to turn his body to the right to make the catch. Harrison was the Coltsí offense in the air this week. He was unstoppable.
In the first three weeks of the season, opposing teams were successful against the Colts using a five DB back field. This time the Colts countered with a two TE formation throughout the game with TE Dallas Clark in the slot. This formation cost Brandon Stokley much of his playing time, and he was rarely even on the field much less available to the offensive attack. Should this pattern of the defense employing five defensive backs where the Colts run a two TE set continue, WR Brandon Stokley might very well be an after thought on the season. This is certainly something to watch.
Manning looked like the QB we watched last season, moving the ball with ease to his TEs and Marvin Harrison. The offense completely focused on Harrison down field, and then combinations of TEs underneath. Outside of Harrison, no other WR was looked at or really used in the offense with Reggie Wayne being the only other WR to even catch a ball (although one of his two receptions was for a TD).
RB Edgerrin James should have posted a good deal more fantasy points on the game. Starting at the Titanís nine yard line, James had two straight carries to the Titansí one yard line. On the very next carry from the one, James lost a yard, resulting in a FG. That was three back to back carries inside the Titansí ten yard line. James also lost a nine yard carry in the game on a tripping penalty against Center Jeff Saturday. Should James have punched in that touchdown, or at least not lost a yard at the Titanís one, and then not lost the nine yards to a penalty, he would have not only had a rushing score, but broken the 100 yard rushing mark on the day.
The Titans played a lot of five defensive back sets challenging the Colts to use shorter options, which is exactly what the Colts did. The Titanís defense allowed the Coltsí TEs to make gains all day, letting Manning move the ball with ease which in turn opened up WR Marvin Harrison down field.
RB Chris Brown started the game well with a number of solid gains. As the game wore on, Brown hit a wall, and was entirely ineffective. Opening the second half, Brown carried the ball twice where both runs were for one yard lost, and then he didnít carry the ball again for the rest of the game as the Titans went to QB Steve McNair to move the ball on the ground. In what could have been a pivotal play for both Brown and the Titans, Brown had a six yard carry from the Coltsí eight yard line to the Coltsí two yard line called back on a holding penalty on Titanís RG Benji Olson.
When a Fantasy Owner looks at the box score, he is going to see that RB Chris Brown carried the ball 10 times for 31 yards, while the son of Walter Payton Ė Rookie RB Jarrett Payton carried the ball four times for 37 yards. Although Payton may be something down the road, do not let this stat line fool you into believing something special happened here. With the game completely lost, and the Coltsí defense in 7-8 man prevent in the final seconds of the game, Payton took four straight carries for long gains against zero coverage in garbage time.
What you ought to know
|QB Peyton Manning, Pass: 20 - 27 - 264 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0|
Manning looked like the QB we saw in the 2004 season. With the successes of opposing teams in the last few weeks using five defensive backs, the Titans opened the game in the same set. This time the Colts were prepared employing a two TE set throughout the game with Dallas Clark lining up in the slot. Manning was easily able to continue to move the ball to TEs Clark and Fletcher, forcing the defense to move back in to guard them. At that point, Manning lit up the field concentrating on Marvin Harrison. Manning received very little pressure (facing maybe four blitzes on the game) with the Titans concentrating on the deep passing lanes and was able to pick apart the shorter end of the field with ease.
With the Titans geared to stop the long down field pass, James once again had a great outing. James ran easily against the Titansí defensive front. He wasnít very active in the passing attack with the Colts looking for TEs for the short gains, but he did pick up another 14 yards in the air. James should have had a good deal more fantasy points on the day. First he had three straight carries from the Titansí nine yard line where he not only lost a yard on one of his carries, but failed to punch in the score. Secondly he lost a nine yard run called back on a penalty. James was easily in position, and should have scored a rushing touch down. If nothing else give him back the lost yard at the Titansí one where he should have scored and the lost nine yard run and he hits 100 yards on the day.
|RB Ran Carthon, Rush: 4 - 7 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets)|
Carthon did get four carries on the day. One of those carries was for seven yards, and the other three netted a total of zero yards. Additionally, three of Carthonís carries came at the end of the game with the outcome clearly a Coltsí victory. On the Coltsí last drive of the game, Carthon carried the ball three straight times in the middle of the field resulting in basically nothing. He did have a reception for ten yards. The most influential thing Carthon did on the day was fumble the opening kickoff.
Harrison played with a cast on his left wrist. This seemed to have zero effect when he had to turn his body to the left to make the reception. When Harrison turned his body to the right to make the reception he did struggle a little with the ball. Harrison has never been a receiver that relied on his hands, making more of a body catch, so it was not a huge issue, but it was something that held him back on the right side of the field in out patterns. On the game, Harrison was the passing offense. Manning zoned in on him shortly after the game opened. The Titans opened in a five defensive back set that the Coltsí opponents have had great success with so far this season. The Colts responded with a two TE set attack, bringing the Titansí defenders back into the short field. From there, Harrison put on a receiving display, picking up the offense, finding ways to get open, running past defenders, and making them miss. Harrison controlled this game shortly after kickoff.
Wayne caught a 25 yard touch down strike on the opening drive of the game. That 25 yard catch was one third of his total targets in the game, one half of his total receptions, and over one half of his total yards. Manning concentrated on Harrison and Dallas Clark throughout the game, often not even looking for Wayne as the game progressed. The touchdown that Wayne brought in on the opening drive was blown coverage on the part of the Titansí defense. Titansí DB Adam ďPacmanĒ Jones was playing man to man on Wayne, and SS Tank Williams was supposed to roll over for the deep coverage. Williams bit on the center of the field; ďPacmanĒ Jones couldnít keep up with Wayne, who easily got behind him for the score.
Stokley did get on the field for a few plays, but was never thrown to ending the day with zero targets. The Colts played a lot of two TE sets with Clark in the slot where Stokley usually plays. This is definitely an alarming change for Stokley owners. Itís to be seen whether teams continue to force Indianapolis into the two TE sets but if they do, expect similar opportunities to what he saw this game.
Clark caught two passes in each half. Clarkís first reception in the first half was on third and long with a blitz coming where Manning found him for a nice gain under pressure. His second first half reception was also with eight in the box and Manning under pressure. Clark was an early look throughout the first half, and was certainly a vital cog in the offense. In the second half, Manning only really even looked for Harrison as his first option, and then Clark as his rarely used second option, virtually ignoring every other Coltsí receiver on the field.
Fletcher was thrown to in the first half, but was not looked to once in the second half. Fletcher caught a pass in the Coltsí opening drive, was targeted in the second drive, and caught his last pass of the day just before halftime.
Vanderjagt kicked a 20 yard FG, and added four extra points.
The Coltsí rush defense absolutely in every way took Chris Brown out of the game by the second half. Brown started the game well, picking up a number of solid runs for gains. As the first half came to a close, Brown was gaining less and less on every carry, with the defense swarming him at the line of scrimmage. Brown opened the second half with 2 carries for a loss of a yard each, and wasnít given the ball again. The Colts took him entirely out of the game. QB Steve McNair took over the rushing duties for the Titans, and did have some success around the corners.
The Titans played five in the defensive backfield for most of the game. Opening the game with the bulk of the defense deep to take away the pass, the Titans were able to make reception after reception to their TEs underneath, where the Colts speed on defense would close the gap for a short gain. WR Drew Bennett was double and triple teamed all game, and completely taken out of the offense.
|QB Steve McNair, Pass: 28 - 37 - 220 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 40 - 0|
The Titans opened with two and three TE sets running the ball with Chris Brown. McNair took advantage of this set using his TEs very successfully to move the ball down the field. 64% of McNairís completed receptions for the entire game went to his TEs. (20 of 36 total targets went to TEs). With RB Chris Brown entirely taken out of the game in the second half, McNair became the teamís primary rusher, taking the ball on the ground outside the corners with good success. He did lose 28 yards on a pass to Drew Bennett that was ruled complete initially and then reversed after review.
|RB Chris Brown, Rush: 10 - 31 - 0, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (2 targets)|
Brown had eight of his ten carries in the first half, looking strong to open the game. He finished the first half respectfully, but hit a wall in the second. Starting in the second half, Brown carried the ball twice, both for one yard losses. At this point, the Titans were only down by two touchdowns and seemingly in the game. After his last two carries for negative yards, Brown never carried the ball again, with QB Steve McNair just taking over the rushing duties for the team. Brown did stay in the game, catching two passes in the second half, both for good gains. In what could have been a pivotal play for both Brown and the Titans, Brown had a six yard carry to the Coltsí two yard line called back on a holding penalty on Titanís RG Benji Olson.
Walter Paytonís son was activated for the game, and promoted to the teamís second string RB behind Chris Brown. Payton saw no action of any kind throughout the game until total garbage time on the Titansí last series. With the outcome of the game solidly a Titansí loss, Payton took four straight carries for 37 yards gained against a Coltsí defense playing six and seven man deep prevent. There isnít a backup in the league that needs to be more ready than the #2 Titans RB though so watch this young man very closely.
Fleming had one reception early in the game, and was not an offensive factor.
With the Colts playing five defensive backs to open the game along with double and triple teaming Drew Bennett, Jones was able to make some gains in the first half. All three of his targets came in the first half. Jones showed athleticism, hustle, and heads up play as one of the bright spots of the offense in the first half. With the Titans down in the second half and throwing the ball on every play, Jones was surprisingly rarely even on the field. Jones did carry the ball around the left end for a yard gain.
The Colts played a lot of five deep in the backfield, concentrating on shutting down Bennett. With Bennett double teamed all game long; he had a total of two receptions and was not a factor in the game. The Colts were very successful with their game plan to remove Bennett from the offense. Bennett did have a 28 yard completion taken away from him after the play was reviewed and then changed to an incomplete pass.
With the Titans throwing the ball on almost every single play in the second half, Williams came into the game after not taking the field in the first half. He made two nice receptions against single coverage with very little pressure on him.
Calicoís single reception was a nine yard gain to the Coltsí 37 yard line. Both targets came in the second half, as the Titans were throwing the ball on every play trying to get back in the game. Calico was not a factor in the game.
Along with fellow TE Bo Scaife, Kinney was clearly the focal point of the Titansí offense. He lead the team in targets in the first half with three, and then again in the second half with five (tied with Scaife). The first and second receptions of the game went to Kinney. Kinney had a great game, but it should be noted that the Colts were playing deep, allowing the underneath passes to go almost unchallenged. Kinney was the go to receiver on the entire day.
Along with fellow TE Erron Kinney, Scaife was the focal point of the offense. With the Colts taking away the deep passing routes and the WRs as a whole, the Titans relied completely on their TEs to advance the ball in the air. Scaifeís touch down was against single coverage where the Colts all but allowed him to be the receiver that had to make the catch. The Colts seemingly had little confidence in Scaife, almost forcing him to be the one that had to make the catch by defending every other option so well. Scaife responded with a fantastic game. The only possible low point of Scaifeís game was early in the game he caught a reception, and fumbled the ball with little contact against him. It was ruled down by contact, but it was clearly a fumble in the replay.
Troupe had five targets on the day, with four receptions. The Colts were systematically taking out the receiving options on the Titans. Troupe reeled in the third and fourth passes of the entire game for the Titans almost unguarded. After some early success, the Colts worked on taking him out of the game as well.
Bironas kicked a 34 yard FG, and added an extra point.
RB Edgerrin James was able to move the ball up the field against the Titansí defense. The Titans played in a five defense back set for much of the game, allowing James to run freely. When the Titans would try and stop the run, the Colts would either go again with James on the ground yielding slightly less success or throw the ball with great success. The Titansí run defense played adequately, but was no match for the Coltsí offensive machine using a great game plan on the day.
After the success of opposing teams against the Colts with a five defensive back formation, the Titans attempted to copy that success in this game. The Colts countered with a two TE set with Dallas Clark in the slot, easily defeating the defense.