The Indianapolis Colts had one of their best performances of the season in a 41-21 road win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
While the Colts (5-2) started slow, as was the case in two previous games, they rebounded and smothered Detroit on both sides of the ball.
A relatively clean bill of health gave the Colts a boost as tight end Mo Alie-Cox and linebacker Darius Leonard both returned to action after missing recent games with injuries, and both earned some of the best marks at their positions across the league in Week 8.
Along with Alie-Cox and Leonard, here are the Colts players who ranked in the top 10 of their position in Week 8.
Special teamer No. 2 (91.9), 25 ST snaps (83%)
1 tackle, 1 forced fumble
It was another day all over the field on special teams for Odum, who saw action on kickoff coverage (seven snaps), punt return (five), punt coverage (five), kickoff return (four), and the field goal block (four).
On Odum’s only tackle of the game (a solo), he caused Lions punt returner Jamal Agnew to fumble, although it was recovered by the Lions.
Defensive lineman No. 7 (83.9), 21 snaps (34%)
Stewart was credited with just two tackles, but they were impactful as both were considered “stops,” which PFF considers to be a “failure” by the offense. Stewart was also credited with one quarterback hurry.
Stewart’s run-stop percentage of 20% (percentage of stops forced on run snaps) ranked eighth among NFL defensive linemen, and his season number of 12.1% ranks tied for fifth.
Mo Alie-Cox, Jack Doyle
Tight end No. 3 (81.5), 32 snaps (42%) | Tight end No. 9 (69.3), 45 snaps (58%)
Alie-Cox: 3 catches (4 targets), 37 yards (12.3)
Doyle: 2 catches (3 targets), 18 yards (9.0 avg.), 1 TD
Now with all three primary tight ends healthy, the Colts can really do some damage in the passing game. Alie-Cox and Doyle ranked in the top 10 and Trey Burton was just outside at No. 12 (65.2).
All three of Alie-Cox’s catches went for third downs, and his receiving grade of 82.2 was second among all tight ends. He also earned a favorable pass-blocking grade of 74.
Doyle had a touchdown catch for the second consecutive game, which moved him into fourth place in Colts franchise history in touchdowns by a tight end with 20. Both of his catches resulted in a first down or TD.
Linebacker No. 4 (80.5), 61 snaps (100%)
9 tackles (2 for loss), 1.0 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 QB hit
“The Maniac” returned in a big way for the Colts after his two-and-a-half-game hiatus due to a groin injury.
He led the Colts in tackles and had both his first sack and forced fumble of the season, which was recovered by the Colts in the third quarter.
The Colts had started each of the last two games out terribly on defense, looking lethargic and having to take drastic measures to save themselves in the second half. With their hype man back on the field, they looked ready to go from the jump.
Tackle No. 7 (79.8), 77 snaps (100%)
It wasn’t Smith’s best day in pass protection (57.2, 37th), as he allowed four hurries on the quarterback, but he had an excellent day as a run blocker with a grade of 88.7 (third).
The Colts ran the ball eight times behind Smith or to his outside, and they totaled 33 yards (4.1 avg.), three first downs, and one rush of 10-plus yards.
Sunday was graded as Smith’s best game of the season, and far and away his best as a run blocker.
Quarterback No. 6 (78.8), 77 snaps (100%)
23-of-33 passing (69.7%), 262 yards (7.9 YPA), 3 TD, 123.5 passer rating
Rivers had his biggest 2020 performance in the Colts’ previous game before their bye week, but followed it up with another gem. He once again put up a great combination of completion percentage and yards per pass attempt.
Rivers’ adjusted completion percentage (accounts for drops, throw-aways, spiked balls, etc.) of 84.4% was the fourth-best in the NFL, and his deep passer rating of 135.4 was third.
Punter No. 4 (65.8), 17 snaps (57%)
4 punts, 46.0 avg., 3-inside 20, 1 blocked
The Colts got a scare early on when Sanchez’s second punt of the day was blocked, and he was seen in discomfort on the sideline with a trainer. He’d shake it off and come back to have a solid all-around game.
Of his four other punts, three were downed inside Detroit’s 20-yard line. Only one of his punts was returned and it went for just two yards.
Sanchez’s punts made Detroit’s average starting field position the 20.8 yard line, but if you remove a Colts penalty on one, that improves to 18.3.
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(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 email@example.com.)