In the season that has been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Rivers, quarterback Philip Rivers had a good game against the Las Vegas Raiders in a matchup that held huge implications for the AFC playoffs and seeding.
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Story Of The Game
The 44 points the Indianapolis Colts put up were helped a little by a pick-six thrown by Derek Carr that first bounced off the hands of his intended receiver, but it does show the overall performance of an offense that was cooking against the Raiders' defense all game long.
Rivers was efficient, passing for 8.7 yards per attempt and 244 yards overall without an interception or a turnover-worthy play, but the Colts also dominated on the ground with Jonathan Taylor again putting up big numbers.
Taylor notched 150 rushing yards and two scores, with one big run accounting for much of that. Nyheim Hines also chipped in with 58 yards on seven carries, moving the chains three times himself.
The Colts didn’t have things all their own way, and the Raiders' offense threw plenty of punches of their own, racking up 455 yards and almost 200 yards on explosive passing plays alone.
The big difference between the two offenses was turnovers. The Raiders had three to the zero from Indianapolis, including the previously mentioned pick-six. In addition to that interception, they had another pick and a lost fumble that just gave the Colts too many opportunities in a game that neither defense could redress the balance.
The Colts massively improve their chance to make the playoffs and sit in the No. 6 seed in the AFC with the Cleveland Browns still to play on Monday night. By contrast, the Raiders fall to 7-6 and now have some major work to do to even make the postseason.
Taylor carried the ball 20 times for the Colts, racking up big yardage and breaking nine tackles along the way. He also caught a couple of passes for 15-plus yards, moving the chains once in the passing game, as well. This was a career high for Taylor in both rushing yards and touchdowns, but it was his cameos in the passing game as both a receiver and a blocker that will be notable in the film room to his coaches when they review the tape.
Michael Pittman Jr. saw four targets thrown his way, catching two of them — the only two catchable ones — for 42 yards.
Julian Blackmon continued as a starter on defense, playing 57 snaps, most of which were in coverage because of the way the game unfolded. Given the plays the Raiders put up in that area, it’s not surprising to see him struggle relatively in terms of PFF grade on first run. Blackmon missed a couple of tackles and allowed each of the passes thrown into his coverage to be caught for a first down on the play.
The Raiders are still struggling to work out how best to incorporate Henry Ruggs III into the offense to take advantage of his devastating speed. He caught all three of the passes thrown his way, but those plays went for a total of just 18 yards and moved the chains only one time, while Nelson Agholor was the receiver getting the joy of the deep targets.
Bryan Edwards was on the field for five passing snaps but wasn’t targeted, and he was the only other rookie to see snaps for the Raiders on either side of the football.
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