*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
The Colts should’ve won this game. The Colts outplayed the Bengals, or at least played ‘with them’ for most of the game. When the Bengals started buckling down and seizing control, they still let Indy hang around. It was 13-13 at the half. It was 27-23 Cincy with 2+ minutes left as Andrew Luck was for sure going to go down the field and win this game late…but then Jack Doyle got stripped of the ball and the a scoop and score later brought The Computer’s #1 handicapping game of the week, an outright road upset call, to a fruitful end.
It wasn’t easy. I was more impressed with Indy’s effort than confident my Bengals ‘over’ win total this year was a slam dunk (it is, but I was hoping to see a better Cincy team in the debut – a Bengals win TNF Week 2, and all our ‘overs’ on the win total will yield a victory in 2018, almost assuredly).
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Joe Mixon (17-95-1, 5-54-0/7) looked the part. We got everything we wanted here, as Mixon owners…all the carries and targets, not subbed out constantly for Gio (44-12 snap count). It was all good, except this one thing…the Cincy O-Line is still really bad. Now, Mixon makes hay, so there is that aspect but this was against a flawed Indy defense. I’m a little worried about him facing the Ravens Week 2.
Regardless, Cincy is showing ‘all-in’ and Mixon looks great, so he’s an RB1 for sure this season…just on volume alone.
-- Andrew Luck (39-53 for 319 yards, 2 TDs/1 INT) looked fine/OK in this game. The top side numbers were really good, but consider he threw 53 times…about 1.5 games of throws in one game. It’s sweet for FF, and if you see Indy down a bunch and throwing a lot all year...Luck works OK.
As far as the effectiveness, Luck was fine. He’s throwing a lot of short passes. I think somewhat because of his O-Line protection but then also natural instinct of protecting himself from more hits. He’d look decisive and solid on one play and then throw passes into coverage that made no sense 2-3 throws later. Luck’s lucky he didn’t have 3+ picks in this game.
He’s fine. A solid ‘B’ QB. I don’t see the ace that once was. Maybe, it’s coming back but it’s not here yet.
-- Because Luck was dumping a lot of passes, you got two guys with attention-getting stat lines:
WR Ryan Grant (8-59-0/9) was Luck’s favorite quick timing throw. Almost like Grant was a tight end…lots of short timing routes. Lots of targets/catches, no yards…that’s the kind of receiver Grant is. It might work for PPR with 5+ catches a game…but low TD counts.
Rookie RB Nyheim Hines (5-19-0, 7-33-0/9) got a ton of dump passes out of attrition, but some purposed. The Colts think they have something here. He’s a dime-a-dozen change of pace guy. If Marlon Mack is fully healthy, Hines’s targets in this game would have been cut in half. Mack is going to get 15+ carries and the majority of RB targets coming up. Mack is going to shock with touch counts ahead.
…which means the end of Jordan Wilkins (14-40-0, 3-21-0/3), when Mack returns. It was Wilkins’ fault the Colts lost. Actually, it was the head coach and GM’s fault – how do they start a season with this guy? Almost every 1st & 10 they tried to run, slow-arse Wilkins would get halted for little/no gain and put the offense in a hole. Trying to convert 2nd and 3rd & shorts…more problems because Wilkins isn’t an NFL body, so defenders just consume him immediately.
-- John Ross (1-3-1/2) got an odd end zone fade TD…short WR going alley-oop-ish, but the timing worked. Ross wasn’t a factor otherwise. Typical, Cincinnati. Supposed fastest guy in the league…and how many bubble screens for him? Zero.
-- Cincy IDPs…
Nick Vigil (11 tackles, 2 TFLs) played another nice game with Vontaze Burfict out. Those numbers fall away when Burfict returns.
Rookie Jesse Bates (8 tackles) had to step up when Shawn Williams was ejected early for targeting. He did step up. Nice debut.
Carl Lawson and Jordan Willis didn’t get any sacks but did combine for 3 QB hits. Willis has a few real flash moments rushing off the right edge.
Clayton Fejedelem (11 tackles, 2 TFLs) had the scoop and score TD, and he played a solid game stepping up at safety after the Williams ejection as well.
-- Indy IDPs…
Darrius Leonard (9 tackles) was in on a lot of tackles, but too many after the runner gashed through the line of scrimmage and starting to get into the 2nd-tier.
Clayton Geathers (7 tackles) comes back after a year away…and same old ‘tackle machine’.
Margus Hunt (3 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 TFLs) was ‘strong like bull’. He just hossed some lineman around and enveloped the backfield. He goes onto the IDP sleeper watch for sure. Might be the time is now/too late on realizing it.
Snap Counts of Interest:
80 = T.Y. Hilton
65 = Ryan Grant
47 = Chester Rogers
46 = Wilkins
37 = Hines
43 = M Hunt (77%)
44 = Mixon
12 = Gio
03 = Tra Carson
53 = AJ Green
49 = Boyd
37 = Ross
36 = Uzomah
23 = Eifert
18 = Kroft
42 = Lawson
39 = Willis