The Indianapolis Colts made the trip into Gillette Stadium Thursday night knowing that they weren’t anywhere near 100 percent. The defense’s best player — and league’s leading tackler— Darius Leonard being a no-go put an instant dent in the abilities of the team. Anthony Castonzo is still a week or so away Skai Moore Jersey , and his offensive colleagues T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle were also inactive for Week 5.Now, when you figure in all of the in-game injuries that this one churned out, the fact that the team was able to give themselves a puncher’s chance at any point in this game was quite impressive. After the 38-24 loss, resulting in a fall to 1-4 on the season, the Colts desperately need the extra few day’s rest before they again travel to the east coast to play the New York Jets in Week 6.In the meantime, here are the game balls for those who stepped up for the Colts Thursday night.OFFENSEAndrew LuckMan, if there is a guy who has rolled his eyes at the national media through his performances the last two weeks, it’s Andrew Luck. Luck, again, topped 50 pass attempts for a third time this season and was phenomenal with his accuracy. Going downfield was a focus, but with so many drops the numbers won’t lend that to the narrative. Luck threw 3 touchdowns along with 2 interceptions on the night — one resulting from a drop — and considering the lack of playmakers around him, I don’t know how you could be anything other than mesmerized by his play.Well over 350 yards in back-to-back games, and the pinpoint accuracy he showed in 2016 were just a couple major factors in his getting my game ball. His massive improvement in resetting his feet, moving through to second and third progressions and his improved navigation of the pocket are just icing on the cake for me. Luck is throwing a lot more than anyone would like him to have to right now, but let’s face it, a lot of things have to go right for the Colts to be in position to win a game when Luck isn’t throwing at least 40 times. The team simply isn’t there yet. Though i’m sure many tuned out last night because of the score, i’m just as certain that many stayed put just to continue watching Luck persevere and dice up the Patriots’ defense.Eric Ebron is getting an honorable mention for his 9-catch, 105-yard performance that netted 2 of Luck’s touchdown throws. Ebron continues to be a nice weapon for Luck and this offense Authentic Anthony Walker Jersey , and he was on the receiving end of some big throws that helped move the chains throughout the night as well.DEFENSEMatthias FarleyWith Leonard, Kenny Moore and Nate Hairston out Thursday night, the secondary was in a bad way against the Patriots. Anthony Walker and Clayton Geathers going down during the game made that situation even worse.This is ‘home’ for Matthias Farley, though. The Colts No. 3 safety is very involved in the rotation in the secondary and has been one of the better Colts defenders over the past two seasons. Farley was actually able to put it on the stat sheet Thursday night. He picked off a tipped ball and nearly had the lane to return it for a touchdown, and later laid the hit on Rob Gronkowski that forced a Najee Goode interception as the Patriots looked to be driving towards another score. He finished with 6 total tackles and would have been a key part in a full comeback had the Colts not given the ball back themselves afterwards.With Geathers suffering a pretty significant hit to the neck — which had been a major cause for concern in relation to his future — and suffering a concussion as well, we may be seeing a lot more of Farley in the starting lineup.Lenzy Pipkins earns the honorable mention tag for the defense today. He’s been up and down the Colts roster all season so far and stepped up with a physical presence (9 tackles) in the secondary with Nate Hairston and Kenny Moore sidelined from injuries in Week 4.OTHERColts offensive lineNearly 60 dropbacks Thursday night, and the only sack the Patriots got was on the first series of the game. The Colts have had to use rookie Braden Smith, Joe Haeg, Le’Raven Clark, Denzelle Good and J’Marcus Webb (no longer on the roster) at tackle with Castonzo being out and the Austin Howard experiment failing before the season even started.Luckily, the Colts interior has been largely free of any lingering injuries and have been doing a really nice job in anchoring this offensive line so far. Listen: the Colts have 1 game — I said 1 — in which they’ve allowed more than 2 sacks this year. Of course he’s been hit a fair amount, but performances like Thursday night are not of the norm for a Colts offensive line.Luck is currently being sacked at a rate of once every 24.5 attempts and is allowing for him to do what he does best. When you take that versus the once every 17 attempts that he’s had to endure throughout his career previous to the 2018 season, it’s impossible not to take notice. The group has stepped up big time if you ask me. With the revolving door at tackle, consideration to the defensive fronts they’ve had to battle, and the assist that the coaching staff is lending them with chip blocks and pulling different linemen, the product this year is much more palatable.FanPulse: How Colts, Redskins fans see Sunday’s game Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse — a survey of fans across the NFL, powered by SurveyMonkey. Each week Youth Kenny Moore Jersey , we send 32 polls to 100+ plugged in fans from each team. Colts fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.How confident are you in the direction of the team? Last week: 93 percent confidenceThere are a couple of possible explanations for the reduction in confidence. First, the Colts lost to the Cincinnati Bengals at home in their season opener and displayed some of the more annoying attributes from the 2017 season. It is deflating for any fan base to watch their team look good in the first half only to see things fall apart in the second. It is also disappointing to see the offense, led by your returning franchise quarterback, sputter out by coughing up a game-sealing turnover just when they had you believing in a late game comeback.Second, the poll last week and this week is different. Last week’s poll included varying degrees of confidence. This week’s poll forced those who might have been “somewhat confident” a week ago to make a choice and some of those people could have chosen “meh” over “confident” when their options changed.Ultimately, despite a disappointing loss, there were some reasons to feel confident about the direction of the franchise. There is little doubt that this year’s offense will be superior to last year and there are some young defensive players who have quite a bit of potential, and some of them are starting to show it.This is a good poll question to monitor throughout the year. I’m interested to see just how fickle fans are based upon short-term wins and losses.Will the Colts win or lose in Week 2?Odds: Redskins are 6-point favoritesStampede Blue FanPulse: Colts by 2Hogs Haven FanPulse: Redskins by 9It should come as no surprise that each fan base is predicting a positive outcome for their respective team. What is particularly interesting is the variance in confidence level. The Redskins had a fantastic season opener a week ago and certainly deserve to feel confident about the future. Throw in that it is clear that their fans are likely not familiar with the Colts and have last season’s awful record as a back-drop and it can help explain why they feel so good coming into the game.Colts fans, on the other hand, appear to accept the idea that their team isn’t a known quantity at this point. While I think most Colts fans wouldn’t necessarily see the Redskins as a juggernaut, they would recognize that winning on the road can be challenging and their team is young and could struggle to find consistency early in the season. I think Colts fans likely believe they are capable of winning most of their games this year and less confident that they will. I also suspect Anthony Castonzo’s outlook would also sway the results so the timing of the poll certainly will have an impact on the outcome.Other than QB, what is most valuable to an NFL offense? The results to this poll are a very strong indication that fans around the league place a great deal of value on protecting the quarterback. It is certainly true that left tackle is often the blind side protector for quarterbacks on passing downs and that they are more often lined up against a defense’s most talented pass rusher. It is also true that in the modern in NFL, more so than at any other time, passing game will often determine the outcome of games. It would be interesting to see how this breaks out against other position groups. Would any other position on the offensive line beat out skill positions? How would left tackle stack up against pass rusher? What are your thoughts on these poll questions and their outcomes?
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