Kravitz Dopey Report Card: Colts vs. Bills (October 21, 2018)

(Photo: Indianapolis Colts/Twitter)
Bob Kravitz

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Every week, Bob Kravitz offers his Dopey Report Card on the Indianapolis Colts' performance. This week, he breaks down the Colts' win against the Buffalo Bills.


The way the Colts gashed the Bills, they were virtually unrecognizable. A week ago, I had a hard time getting excited about the second-half yards because the Jets, who had a 17-point lead, were playing to protect that lead. This week, I'm genuinely excited. Marlon Mack showed he has a chance to be a three-down back, and impressed between the tackles, which is something we wondered about heading into the season. This also ranked as the most dominant offensive line performance in several years. Understand, Buffalo isn't good defensively; it's great, and yet, the Colts opened huge holes all game.


The only way the Bills had to win this game was by playing keep-away with the running game, specifically with LeSean "Shady'' McCoy. Then McCoy suffered a head injury early in the game, and the Bills were doomed. Granted, McCoy's replacements were productive, going for 135 yards on 22 carries, but when you get a lead on the Bills, they have no good way of responding. Just as the Colts had some nice second-half numbers against the Jets, the Bills got their numbers while the Colts were protecting a huge lead. Newsflash: Darius Leonard had 17 tackles, 12 solo. The usual.


Let's talk about the passing game and not start the discussion with Andrew Luck. Let's talk about the offensive line, which seems to have found a combination that works. The quintet of Anthony Castonzo, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski and Braden Smith has come together and given the Colts their best O-line play in what feels like forever. Not only did they maul Buffalo in the passing game, but they've given up just one sack in three games. Keep in mind the improvement coincides with Castonzo's return; think he isn't important? OK, back to Luck. He was smart and efficient and guess what? No drops, or at least none that I can recall. Good to have T.Y. Hilton back, even if he didn't have a massive game.


Yeah, so it was Derek Anderson and a team completely bereft of receiving threats. But the Colts did what they had to do, intercepting three passes and forcing two lost fumbles. Mike Mitchell has been a Mike Adams-like addition. I had an interesting talk with Mitchell after the game; he knows he was financially impacted by the fact that the safety market dried up as owners attempted to show they weren't colluding against co-safety Eric Reid, who was temporarily blackballed because of his political activism. "I'm not going to say why, but you guys can figure it out,'' he said. Well, we did figure it out. But give the man credit: He worked his tail off to stay in shape, and has played very well his two games here in Indy. Sunday, he had a forced fumble and an interception.


It was apparent from Adam Vinatieri's first kick that something wasn't right. Even the kicks he made were low line-drives. If you watched closely, he couldn't follow through on his kicks. It would appear he's suffered a recurrence of his groin injury, and after the game, he said to expect he will be on the injury list this week. It's a shame because he came into the game just 10 points shy of Morten Andersen's all-time points record, which is the one record he wants the most. Vinatieri missed two PAT's, which has to be a first for him. Now we'll see if he misses any games, but the record will fall – at some point.


There's no question, Frank Reich and his staff had this team ready to play. They started slowly on offense, but then the running game took over and Buffalo was helpless to do anything about it. Reich also opened up the playbook with some reverses and jet sweeps, all of which were hugely effective. Really liked him going for it on fourth and 1 at midfield early in the game. True, it helps to know that you're playing a team that can't and won't score, but this was solid from top to bottom, much like the Washington game.


The one thing the Colts couldn't do was beat themselves. Mission accomplished. Zero turnovers. Just four penalties the entire game. They knew they were supposed to win this game against a decimated Buffalo team, but they didn't play like they knew they were supposed to win. Instead, they played with a nasty edge and beat Buffalo into submission. For one day, they showed who they can be. Now the question is whether they can do it on the road next week in Oakland before a second half of the season that features five home games.