Week 5 Game Recap: Indianapolis Colts 28, San Francisco 49ers 3
What you need to know
Given that the 49ers were only able to dress a total of six defensive backs, where three of them were on the practice squad a week ago, Manning and the Colts had execution issues throwing two interceptions. It didnít begin to matter verses the 49ers with a rookie QB in his first start, but it was very uncharacteristic. This was not the Coltsí passing offense that we have come to expect.
Edgerrin James lost a touchdown at the end of a Coltsí 95 yard drive in the beginning of the second quarter. From the 49ersí two yard line, James reached out with the ball only to fumble it away. The replay had the game announcers calling it a touch down that crossed the plane of the goal line, but the play stood as a fumble.
The Colts unleashed an incredible pass rush against Alex Smith in his first NFL start. On the whole, the Colts were not impressive for the game. James ran well, but fumbled at the goal line. Manning threw two interceptions. And Marvin Harrison struggled find ways to be part of the offense.
Safety Bob Sanders left the game with an arm injury before half time.
Rookie QB Alex Smith got his first start of his career. Head Coach Mike Nolan said that going forward; the starting QB job was Smithís job to lose. Smith was decimated going 9-23, 74 passing yards with four interceptions.
RB Kevan Barlow had a great game, and was impressive rushing for 99 yards in the outing. As really the only bright spot on the 49ersí offense, Barlow ran with power, found the gaps in the line, and picked up hard yards. Smith spent the day on his back, facing a relentless rush, and just trying to get rid of the ball. Should the 49ers stay with Smith as they have said they will, the team will need to lean on the rushing of Barlow. How well heíll fare with little threat of a passing game remains to be seen.
The 49ersí defensive back field has been decimated by injury, leaving them with a total of six dressed DBs for this game, where three of them started the season on the practice squad. Expect that the 49ersí passing defense to be vulnerable for weeks to come although they certainly held up okay against Manning.
What you ought to know
This was a substandard performance for Manning and the Coltsí offense. Manning finished with 255 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Manning was unable to find his go to receiver in Marvin Harrison, who the defense was surprisingly able to take away. The passing offense didnít need to carry the game, and Edgerrin James carried most of the positive offense on the day.
Sorgi came into the game for the last drive with the Coltsí victory already assured. Sorgi handed the ball off a few times, with two kneel downs to finish out the game.
With the game solidly in the Coltsí favor from the beginning, James rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown. He ran well, shredding the 49ersí defense almost at will. On the early Rhodesí touchdown, James brought the ball all the way down the field with a 33 yard run, but took himself out for a breather, allowing Rhodes to take the score. James also fumbled the ball away at the 49ersí two yard line killing both his chance to score, and the drive. It appeared to be a bad call and many felt he actually did score a TD but the call stood as a fumble.
Outside of the early touchdown, Rhodes didnít carry the ball until the last series of the game with the Colts' win already guaranteed.
Carthon was not a factor in the game.
Wayneís three targets in the first quarter came in three out of four consecutive plays with the Colts starting at their own three yard line. In dangerous territory, Manning looked for Wayne play after play to get the ball up field. In the second half, Manning looked for Wayne on almost every play. Manning was required to check off to Stokley with Wayne in coverage, but every ball thrown could have ended up in Wayneís hands if he had been more open. Wayne was clearly the go to receiver of the offense in the second half.
Unlike prior weeks where Stokley was rarely even on the field, Manning looked for him all day with Harrison struggling. Stokley came alive in the second half leading the team in targets, and finding ways to be the open receiver. Stokley lost a reception for an eight yard gain on a holding penalty on the last Coltsí possession of the half.
Harrison still wore the cast on his left wrist for the game. He looked to be part of the offense early in the game, but the 49ers threw what little defensive back pressure they had at him. With Harrison as virtually the only guarded WR for the Colts, Manning threw the ball elsewhere for most of the game.
Walters had one catch late in the game with the Colts win solidly in place.
With Stokley and Wayne seeing most of Manningís passes on the day, Clark was not used much. He did have two nice receptions in the first half, but gave way to the receivers in the second half and was virtually ignored in the offensive attack.
Vanderjagt kicked four extra points.
The rush defense played no where to the level of the dominating pass defense. RB Kevan Barlow was able to get going and put up one of his best games in a long time.
The Colts displayed an incredible pass rush pressuring Smith all game long. Smith was sacked 5 times with 4 interceptions. Smith couldnít move the ball, and spent a good chunk of the game scrambling for his life, or on his back.
|QB Alex Smith, Pass: 9 - 23 - 74 - 0 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 2 - 3 - 0|
Smith took the first start of his NFL career, and was completely out matched. Smith threw the ball to 11 different 49ersí players, and three Coltsí players. Facing an incredibly tough Coltsí pass rush, Smith was sacked five times, and threw three interceptions. Throughout the game, Smith was just trying to get rid of the ball. He ended passing to six different running backs, and his TE just too quickly avoid the rush.
|RB Kevan Barlow, Rush: 18 - 99 - 0, Rec: 3 - 29 - 0 (4 targets)|
Barlow ran with authority and caught the ball well. His 99 yard rushing day was the only bright spot for the entire offense. Barlow gained 99 yards on the ground and another 29 in the air. This was arguable the finest game Barlow has had in a long stretch of games. With the passing offense in the hands of Smith, Barlow might be the bright spot of the offense going forward.
|RB Frank Gore, Rush: 8 - 31 - 0, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (3 targets)|
Along with Barlow, Gore had a good game against the Coltsí defense. He broke off a nice 11 yard gain, and had a 14 yard reception.
With QB Alex Smith just trying to get rid of the ball, Hetherington had a two yard reception.
Beasley had a target in each half as Alex Smith was just trying to get rid of the ball.
Jackson was targeted three times for short gains, but failed to make a reception.
Morton had a 13 yard catch on three targets. Like every other receiver, Morton didnít get much of an opportunity to make a play.
Although Lloyd was targeted three times, he failed to make a reception. Alex Smithís attempted pass to Lloyd in the second quarter was picked off and returned for a touch down. On the very next series, another Smith pass to Lloyd was intercepted. Most of Smithís passes were just dump offs trying to get rid of the ball.
Battle was in the game, but QB Alex Smith just couldnít find him down field. Most every pass from Smith was a short dump off under pressure. With the 49ers trying to move the ball in the last series of the first half, Alex Smithís pass intended for Battle was intercepted. As the game got into the second half, Smith didnít even look for Battle once.
The single pass from QB Smith to Amey was intercepted.
Bush was targeted late in the game but wasnít a factor.
Bajema caught one pass for zero yards at the opening of the game, and added nothing for the rest of the way.
Nedney kicked a 30 yard FG. With the 49ers down 14-0, Nedney opened the second half with a successful onsides kick.
The rush defense was unable to hold James who reeled off some long runs, and was able to continually move the ball with every carry. James had a great day and outside of an excellent goal line stand, was generally unchallenged with the ball.
With all the recent injuries, the 49ers were only able to dress six total defensive backs, where three of them had been on the practice squad just a week ago. In spite of this, the pass defense was able to intercept Manning twice, and hold him to a single touchdown.