Positional Grades: Colts Vs. Seahawks

It certainly wasn't pretty Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, and the report card for the Indianapolis Colts should reflect the performance on the field. (Video via Indianapolis Colts YouTube).
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It's pretty hard to take much of anything positive away from the Indianapolis Colts' 28-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday in the season opener.

The loss by the Colts marks the eighth straight season opener that the franchise has lost, which is just a woeful stat. 

Good news is Carson Wentz looked pretty darn good in his Colts' debut, showing off his arm, accuracy and mobility at times. 

Bad news is the Colts' offensive line was a disaster against a good Seahawks' front seven, the defense was arguably worse, and plenty of question marks remain moving forward on both sides of the football as the team now turns its attention to the 1-0 Los Angeles Rams. 

Let's dive into some grades. 

QB — B+

In his Colts' debut, Wentz looked very promising working with Frank Reich once again. Wentz showed off his strong arm, accuracy and overall touch on some throws and really seemed to work through his progressions well. 

There is some concern that he didn't truly push the ball down the field outside of his 24-yard strike to Parris Campbell off of play action, but that can be pinpointed to the offensive line's struggles to keep him clean in the pocket and upright, providing him enough time to make plays. 

The good news is that Wentz was smart with the football, showed no ill effects of the foot injury and surgery, and really just seemed to be in command of the offense. 

RB — B-

I loved what I saw from the Colts' running back duo in Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines on the Colts' first drive of the game. The two ran really hard and made plays after contact. 

After that though, as the Colts fell behind the running game seemingly disappeared, along with the offensive line's inability to create much of any movement up front, which is a real concern right now. 

Fortunately for the Colts, Taylor and Hines remained factors in the passing game, helping the Colts move the chains throughout the game, keeping them within striking distance of the Seahawks for the most part. 

WR — C

Every team should get themselves as Zach Pascal. 

Pascal really came on strong on Sunday, showing he can be a true No. 2 wide receiver in the right offense with the right weapons around him. The veteran receiver hauled in both of Wentz's touchdowns passes on the day, making two tough catches in the end zone, twisting his body to make the first touchdown catch and then getting both feet down along the backline for the second catch. 

Pascal finished with four catches for 43 yards and two scores and was really the lone receiver to do much of anything for the Colts. 

Second-year receiver Michael Pittman Jr. finished with three catches for 29 yards and was mostly a non-factor, while Campbell hauled in the 24-yarder from Wentz for his lone catch of the day. 

Rookie receiver Mike Strachan caught both of his targets for 26 yards in a strong debut as a seventh rounder, but overall the Colts' receivers really struggled to separate from the Seahawks' defensive backs throughout the game. 

TE — C-

It's just one game, but the Colts' tight ends really underwhelmed on Sunday. 

Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox failed to make much of an impact as blockers in the run game, leading to struggles overall.

As receivers, neither was utilized in a way that could make an impact as Alie-Cox had to stay in and chip and help protect Wentz as the offensive line struggled, while Doyle was essentially a check down option, hauling in three passes for 21 yards. 

Hopefully Reich and the Colts get the two tight ends a bit more involved in the passing game in the middle of the field in Week 2, which could open things up a bit more outside for the receivers. 

OL — D-

Dreadful. 

It's hard to believe that's what I'm writing about the Colts' offensive line, but that's what just happened. 

After a decent preseason, starting left tackle Julie'n Davenport was awful on Sunday, allowing a sack and number of pressures. Star right tackle Braden Smith wasn't much better on the opposite side, allowing a big sack on fourth down on an unsuspecting Wentz. 

Inside, center Ryan Kelly and Wentz had a botched snap on a failed quarterback sneak, resulting in a fumble recovery by the Seahawks, while Quenton Nelson was rather quiet after coming back from a tweaked back. 

Right guard Mark Glowinski was pretty poor in the run game overall too and struggled in pass protection as well, challenging Davenport for the worst Colts' lineman in the game. 

This group has to improve in a hurry. 

DL — C+

I was really pleased with what I saw from rookie Kwity Paye, who got off to a fast start in his career, recovering a fumble and creating some pressure on twists and stunts up front. 

Opposite Paye, Al-Quadin Muhammad saw far too many snaps, relegating Ben Banogu to the bench, which is beyond frustrating. AQM did record half a sack in the loss, but with Kemoko Turay out with an injury, Banogu should have gotten some run to see what he can do. 

Inside, DeForest Buckner recorded a sack and was solid overall, but he didn't make enough plays against the run to help the Colts slow down one of the top offenses in the NFL. Neither did Grover Stewart, who disappeared at times while viewing the game live. 

LB — D+

Both Bobby Okereke and Darius Leonard were really rough on Sunday, both against the run and in coverage. 

Sure, the duo combined for 12 tackles, but the Seahawks went right after them on the ground and through the air, carving up the Colts' linebackers, especially Okereke. Leonard did get caught watching the backfield on Gerald Everett's 11-yard touchdown out of trips, crossing right under the nose of Leonard into space for the score. 

Leonard is still trying to get is legs underneath him, so he'll improve, but Okereke got off to a slow start in a big season for the third-year linebacker. 

Zaire Franklin was just fine against the run in limited action, playing just 13 snaps in the loss. He'll be a force downhill in closer games when he's on the field with the threat of the run, but once the game got out of hand he was relegated to special teams action. 

DB — D-

That grade might seem harsh, but the Colts' secondary was woeful on Sunday. 

Far too many big plays, far too many guys running wide open creating easy throws for Russell Wilson. 

I understand not having Xavier Rhodes was a big loss and starting a young BoPete Keyes at outside corner was a tall task, but this group under Matt Eberflus has to be much, much better, especially Khari Willis. 

The Seahawks picked on Willis all afternoon, resulting in two Tyler Lockett scores. Seattle even went after Kenny Moore II in the slot, matching him up against DK Metcalf on Metcalf's 15-yard touchdown to put the game away. 

While the players need to do a much better job of executing, Eberflus needs to ensure he's putting his guys in the best positions to succeed as well. 

Special Teams — A-

Not much to write home about here. 

Rodrigo Blankenship drilled a 21-yard field goal and nailed his lone extra point, while punter Rigoberto Sanchez was fantastic punting the football with one Pat McAfee in the house, averaging nearly 47 yards a punt. 

I do find myself wondering if the Colts simply don't have as much trust in Blankenship as they say they do, considering Reich went for it three times in easy field goal range and failed. Sure, three points in those instances doesn't win the game, but those are points the Colts left on the table. 

Maybe that changes in Week 2. 

Have thoughts on the positional grades for the Colts coming out of loss to the Seahawks in Week 1? Drop a line in the comments section below letting us know how you feel! 


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