The Indianapolis Colts absolutely thrashed the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, putting them into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC South with the Texans coming to town next Sunday.
That felt good right? To see the Colts absolutely manhandle an opponent like that, even if it is the hapless Jets? Talk about exorcising some demons. The Jets have beaten up on the Colts in recent history and Darrelle Revis in particular has been the bane of both Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton‘s existence.
The duo had no problem with Revis on Monday night, or the rest of the Jets lackluster secondary. Ever seen a player as wide open as Dwayne Allen was for a touchdown even once, let alone twice?
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In fairness, the Jets are not a good team. Their offense has been terrible and their defense is a mishmash of fantastic run defense (with an exceptional front seven) and the probably the worst secondary in the league. To the Colts credit they recognized these facts and mercilessly exploited the Jets poor coverage.
It was a rarity for the Chuck Pagano coached team. The Colts actually seemed to gameplan this week and it paid off in a big way. Too often the Colts head into games and seemingly have no plan whatsoever, but not on Monday night. They knew what they wanted to do and executed it perfectly.
Now, the Colts are winners of three of their last four games and three straight when Luck is on the field. Either the Colts are peaking at the right time or their last three opponents have not been very good (both can be true).
The Colts don’t normally do blowout wins. They either win or lose a game that is much tighter than it needed to be or get decimated. This was the second biggest win for a Pagano team since 2013 when they beat the Jaguars 37-3. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the final stretch of the season.
Here’s what stood out from Monday night:
MVP? This is a longshot, but hear me out: Andrew Luck could be MVP this season. It doesn’t seem likely, especially considering how much attention other players are getting but consider a few facts. Luck’s roster is really bad, with little to no defense. His protection bounces between mediocre to bad (a three man rush sacked him last night). And his coaches rarely put the team in a position to win. Yet here the Colts are, tied for first place with a chance to make the playoffs. Yes the division is bad, but it was usually bad when Peyton Manning was MVP too. This is an off year for the award too with no one really standing above the rest. Luck would have to play really well down the stretch AND lead the team to the postseason for consideration, but there is a chance it happens. Imagine the Colts without Luck. Wait, don’t, it’s too depressing.
Ghosting. Hilton was out there doing Hilton things, this time against one of the former great defensive backs in the league. He has his fourth straight 1,000 yard season and this could end up being his most productive year in the league. Hilton and Luck looked like someone playing Madden, I kept waiting for them to force feed Hilton a touchdown as a reward for all his hard work.
Moving on up.Frank Gore passed Tony Dorsett to move into eighth on the all-time rushing list. Despite the tough front seven of the Jets, Gore churned out more tough yardage than the line could possibly give him. It felt as if he dragged two defenders, and an offensive lineman, for a couple extra yards on every carry.
Resurgent. Since not catching a pass (and dropping plenty) against the Titans three weeks ago, Allen has been on a hot streak. He’s caught nine of his ten targets over the past two games for 121 yards and those three touchdowns last night. It looks like Allen regained his focus (always look the ball into your hands kids) and the Colts are back to using him in a way that plays to his strengths.
Feed Moncrief.Donte Moncrief has a touchdown catch in each of the past five games and six of the seven he’s played this season.Think the Colts missed him while he was injured? Had it not been for that shoulder injury, he’d probably have double digit touchdowns by now. Moncrief makes the Colts offense far more dynamic and is a hell of a red zone threat for Luck.
Big hits. The best tackles of the night (besides Edwin Jackson absolutely crushing Matt Forte on third down for a loss) was from a New Jersey State Trooper and security guard who took on a couple of dummies who ran onto the field.
The Colts will host the Texans on Sunday, who have only won in Indianapolis one time in their franchise history. This game will determine who sits atop the AFC South as we enter the final four weeks of the season. The frustrating thing is that this game should be a nail in the Texans coffin, not a toss up game.
The Colts had the Texans dead to rights in Houston back in Week 6 before losing in overtime thanks to Pagano’s trust in his defense. They also should have beaten the Jaguars in London and the Lions in Week 1. More blind trust in the defense those weeks too.
For now, the Colts fate rests in their own hands. If they can manage to keep winning (no easy task with two road games against potential playoff teams), they’ll find themselves in the playoffs. At least they don’t need any crazy string of dominos to fall to have a shot like last season, yet.