Tale Of The Tape: Indianapolis Colts At San Diego Chargers
- QuarterbackWhile Andrew Luck was getting a run for his money as the top rookie quarterback in the league last year from RGIII and Russell Wilson, Luck appears to have gotten even better in 2013. While his yardage totals are not overwhelming – he is throwing for 213.0 yards per game – Luck is completing 62.2 percent of his passes and has a 7-2 TD-interception ratio. Luck also runs with speed, power and guts.Philip Rivers is having a much better season than he did in 2012, however his performance against the Raiders in Week Five was not his best as the Chargers’ offense needed a wake-up call after it slept through the first half. Rivers is an accurate passer who can get the ball downfield and he has a 13-5 TD-interception ratio.
- OffenseThe Colts acquired running back Trent Richardson early in the season to upgrade the running attack. While that may still happen, Richardson has not dominated in his first appearances with Indianapolis. Reggie Wayne can still get open and is the team’s most dependable receiver with 28 receptions. T.Y. Hilton had an explosive game in the Week Five win over the Seahawks.Ryan Mathews is not a star, but he was giving the Chargers a solid contribution out of the backfield through the first four games of the season. He suffered a concussion vs. the Raiders and his status for this game has not been determined. The Chargers will turn to Danny Woodhead if Mathews can’t play. Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown are Rivers’ top receivers.
- DefenseThe Colts have exceeded expectations on defense in the early part of the season, as they rank 11th in yards allowed. Defensive end Robert Mathis has played like a defensive MVP with his 9.5 sacks through the first five games. Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman is one of the team’s most underrated performers as he leads the team with 43 tackles and 3.0 sacks.The Chargers have been quite generous, as they rank 26th overall in yards allowed. Free safety Eric Weddle has been a key factor, as he leads the team with 36 tackles and five passes defensed. Outside linebacker has a quick first step when coming around the corner as he leads the team with 4.0 sacks. Corey Liuget will play a key role on the Chargers defensive line.
- Special TeamsThe Colts have done a decent job with their punt and kickoff coverage. They are waiting for Hilton to use his explosive speed as a punt returner. Head coach Chuck Pagano has full confidence in PK Adam Vinatieri and P Pat McAfee. Vinatieri has made 9-of-11 FG attempts while McAfee is 46.6 yards per punt.The Chargers have held their own with their special teams coverage and head coach Mike McCoy believes that it’s just a matter of time before Woodhead or Eddie Royal busts a long return. The duo of PK Nick Novak and P Mike Scifres is just ordinary.
The Colts are feeling awfully good about themselves after beating both the 49ers and Seahawks early in the season. The Chargers must respond after blowing a game against the Raiders. If they don’t come up with their best game vs. Luck and the Colts, this could get ugly. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor