Backed into obvious passing situations on third downs early in the game, Mariota shook off a slow start to lead a spirited comeback attempt. His beautiful 34-yard play-action touchdown pass to Tajae Sharpe moved him past Warren Moon for most consecutive games (7) in franchise history with two or more scoring passes. His first touchdown throw was just as impressive, as he evaded a Hassan Ridgeway sack and fired a bullet to DeMarco Murray from three yards out. In 23 career starts, Mariota has 31 touchdowns without an interception in the red zone. Over his last seven games, Mariota has completed 67.6 percent of his passes at 8.4 yards per attempt for a 19:3 TD-to-INT ratio and 116.8 passer rating.
“It was great to see, you know? Because we’ve been in a huge drought, we’ve talked about it, and those guys get frustrated, especially when you’re sitting there with the record that you have,” Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said after Indy’s 41-10 victory. “But they’re disappointed, not discouraged, and they keep working. And it’s really just a matter of doing your job and playing hard and trusting yourself and trusting the call and trusting the man next to you, and just being in the right spot when the play shows up.”
Aided by a completely listless effort from the Jets defense last night, the Colts were able to put up the offensive numbers we’ve come to expect from Andrew Luck, Dwayne Allen and cheap jerseys and T.Y. Hilton. Luck’s perfect passer rating was a career high. Hilton put up his most receiving yards since late October and the Colts woke up Tuesday morning with the seventh-highest scoring offense in football.
Smith’s head bounced off the turf after he was hit by linebacker Edwin Jackson on the game’s opening drive. Nick Foles replaced Smith in the first half and then again in the third quarter.
Smith was accurate as usual early, completing multiple passes on third down to move the Chiefs deep into Colts territory. But on a rollout on first-and-10 from Indianapolis’ 22, Smith wavered in deciding when and where he’d slide, resulting in a crushing hit from Jackson.
The 10-year veteran could be a breath of fresh air for a rapidly-stalling Vikings offense. The team is currently 24th in points, 31st in total yards, and 32nd in rushing yards. Peterson had 50 yards on 31 carries through two games this season before placing him on injured reserve in late September. While their banged-up offensive line is a source of many woes, Peterson is one of the few players in football who can negate deficiencies up front.
The Vikings’ star running back is active for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. Defensive tackle Toby Johnson was waived Saturday after Minnesota officially activated Peterson off injured reserve. Minnesota was planning on Peterson returning in Week 16, but a source informed told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that at practice this week “he looks like Adrian. He’s amazing.”
That’s a whole lotta competition for Indy in the conference. So is it high time to stray from my way-too-early Super Bowl premonition? Maybe not, but I’d be feeling much better about it if Colts general manager Ryan Grigson had done some things differently (particularly on one side of the ball).
All in all, have Grigson and Co. done enough this offseason to push Indy to the next level? Do Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck have the necessary pieces to make a real run at the Lombardi Trophy? That’s what this “Make the Right Call” series is all about. Let’s examine …