INDIANAPOLIS — After dropping an opener that nearly everyone thought they would win, the Indianapolis Colts bounced back with a 28-11 home victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts overwhelmed the Vikings in all three phases — offense, defense, and special teams. Pro Football Focus grades reflect that as tight end Mo Alie-Cox and guard Mark Glowinski were named to the ‘Week 2 Team of the Week,’ with Alie-Cox also earning their “Offensive Player of the Week.”
Alie-Cox and Glowinski weren’t alone in their standout grades. Here are the Colts players who ranked in the top 10 of their position.
Tight End No. 1 (94.8), 49 snaps (67.1%)
5 receptions (6 targets) for 111 yards (22.2 avg.)
Alie-Cox was thrust into the Colts’ TE1 role after Jack Doyle sat out with ankle and knee injuries. The Colts tight end group amassed just five receptions for 69 yards in Week 1, and Minnesota only allowed 1 reception for 12 yards to tight ends the week before, so it was fair to question how productive Alie-Cox and the Colts’ band of rookie tight ends beside him would perform.
Alie-Cox’s day got off to a rocky start as a Philip Rivers pass bounced off his chest and into the hands of a Vikings defender for an interception on the Colts’ opening drive. However, the big man shook it off and dominated the rest of the way, making catches of 14, 16, 21, 27 and 33 yards.
Here’s what PFF had to say:
“Former VCU basketball star Mo Alie-Cox had seen just 27 targets in his two-plus years in the NFL prior to Week 2. With Trey Burton on IR and Jack Doyle out for Week 2 with an injury, Alie-Cox needed to step up and he most certainly did. Alie-Cox caught five of six passes for 111 yards and produced a 94.8 PFF grade for the game. Four of those five catches ended up a gain of 15-plus yards, and he made this impressive contested snag.
A relatively unknown player like Alie-Cox would typically just find himself as the Secret Superstar of the Week, but he was too good to limit there — no player on the offensive side of the ball had a better game at their respective position.
Mark Glowinski, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly
Guard No. 2 (89.9), 73 snaps (100%) | Guard No. 4 (81.7), 73 snaps (100%) | Center No. 7, 73 snaps (100%)
While PFF didn’t love the performance by the offensive tackles, the interior offensive line was another story, helping keep the pressure out of Rivers’ face and leading rookie running back Jonathan Taylor toward his first 100-yard day.
Glowinski and Nelson were each docked for only one hurry allowed on the quarterback, while Kelly’s sheet was spotless. None committed any penalties.
When rushing up the middle (outside the left guard to outside the right guard), the Colts totaled 21 carries for 96 yards (4.6 avg.), one TD, seven first downs, and one run of 10-plus yards. The Colts ran the ball behind these three for 52.5% of their runs, which accounted for 63.6% of their rushing yardage.
Defensive Lineman No. 8 (83.6), 44 snaps (81.5%)
3 tackles (1 for loss), 1.5 sacks, 1 safety, 4 quarterback hits
Although he blasted the offensive line a time or two in his Colts debut, Buckner wanted to make more impact plays against the Vikings in Week 2. It’s safe to say he accomplished that.
He was credited with five total quarterback pressures, which was tied for the third-most among NFL interior defensive linemen in Week 2. He split a sack with defensive end Justin Houston later in the game, but Buckner’s biggest play of the day was wrangling Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins for the Colts’ first safety of the year in the second quarter.
Running Back No. 5 (81.6), 17 snaps (23.3%)
9 carries, 40 yards (4.4 avg.), 1 kickoff return, 3 yards
Wilkins is Mr. Dependable. He’s never been the Colts’ predetermined Plan A, but he performs at a high level whenever given the chance.
He received nine carries and got to work, earning three first downs, averaging 4 yards per carry after contact, and forcing five missed tackles. His five avoided tackles were tied for the third-most in the NFL among running backs in Week 2 despite carrying the ball fewer times than the five players who had more or the same amount as him.
Safety No. 5 (79.7), 54 snaps (100%)
3 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup
The biggest play so far in Willis’ young career came in the second quarter when the second-year pro intercepted a tipped pass and turned into a running back as he returned it 43 yards into Minnesota territory.
Willis was targeted twice in the passing game, allowing neither to be complete, resulting in an opponent passer rating of 0.0.
Cornerback No. 8 (79.1), 28 snaps (51.9%)
1 pass breakup
Having Rhodes rank among the NFL’s top cornerbacks in Week 2 is a welcome sight for Colts fans.
His grade in coverage was a little better than his overall grade, earning the sixth-best mark with an 80.3. He was targeted just one time on the day. Cousins was backed up deep in his own territory, let a pass go downfield, and Rhodes was there to bat it away from receiver Adam Thielen.
Rhodes exited the game early with cramps.
Linebacker No. 9 (78.8), 54 snaps (100%)
6 tackles (1 for loss), 1 pass breakup
Leonard was among the top-10 linebackers again on Sunday even though his six tackles are lower than we’re used to seeing from him. He was all over the field and acted as a heat-seeking missile, especially early in the game as he tracked the ball down and killed the play.
He did not miss any tackles and was credited with three “stops,” which is considered a forced “failure” by the offense.
Leonard received the fifth-best linebacker grade in coverage with an 83.9, allowing two receptions on four targets for 9 yards and just 5 yards after catch. He also had one pass breakup that he nearly intercepted, allowing a passer rating of 56.3.
Kicker No. 8 (68.0), 6 snaps (24%)
4-of-4 field goals (100%), 2-of-2 extra points (100%)
It took just two weeks for the rookie “Hot Rod” to have his first big game. He knocked in all four field-goal attempts — from 28, 38, 38, and 44 yards — as well as both extra-point attempts.
This was an important performance for Blankenship. He missed a 30-yard field goal last week, and although he made his next one that day, missed kicks can come in bunches and crush even a veteran kicker’s confidence.
(Jake Arthur has covered the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for nearly a decade and is a contributor for the team's official website, Colts.com. He’s on Twitter and Facebook @JakeArthurNFL, and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.)