News & Analysis

NFL Week 3 PFF ReFocused: Indianapolis Colts 36, New York Jets 7

The Indianapolis Colts‘ defense pulled no punches on Sunday, picking off Sam Darnold three times and taking two to the house en route to a 36-7 victory over the New York Jets.

New York fell to 0-3 for the second consecutive season under head coach Adam Gase. 

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story of the game

The Colts' defense took control of this game on the very first drive when Xavier Rhodes intercepted a Sam Darnold pass and took it 44 yards to the house. The interception was the first of two for Rhodes on the day. The veteran was targeted five times in coverage, allowing one catch for 11 yards and picking off two passes. 

TJ Carrie also joined the pick-six party, returning an interception for a touchdown as the third quarter expired. 

Darnold completed just four passes on targets 10-plus yards downfield for 79 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He totaled just 168 yards passing with three interceptions on the day. The former No. 2 overall pick now has four interceptions against three touchdown passes on the year.

While there will continue to be questions about whether Darnold is the future of the franchise, he can't take all the blame. The Jets have been riddled with injuries — this week he was without his top two starting receivers, Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder. To make matters worse, the lone bright spot on offense, Mekhi Becton, left in the first half with an apparent shoulder injury.

Sep 27, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes (27) celebrates his second interception of the game in the first half against the New York Jets at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Philip Rivers performed in typical Rivers fashion, getting rid of the ball in 2.49 seconds with an average depth of target of 6.8. Rivers’ touchdown pass in the first quarter to Week 2’s highest-graded player, Mo Alie-Cox, was his 400th touchdown pass of his career. 

Jonathan Taylor dominated the carries among running backs a week ago (72% of carries), but the Colts went with more of a committee approach this week as the game was well in hand early. Taylor (45%), Jordan Wilkins (31%) and Nyheim Hines (24%) split carries more evenly this week and combined for 119 yards and nine missed tackles forced. 

Frank Gore led the way for the Jets with Le’Veon Bell on the IR for at least one more week. Gore rushed for 57 yards on 15 carries with 44 of those yards coming after contact. 

Rookie Watch

Taylor led the way on the ground for all rookies with 59 yards. La’Mical Perine saw seven carries for 24 yards in a minimal showing for the Jets. 

Michael Pittman was the leading rookie receiver for the Colts, seeing four targets and catching three of them for 26 yards. In a depleted receiving group for the Jets, Lawrence Cager caught two of four targets for 35 yards on the day. 

Julian Blackmon played 39 defensive snaps for the Colts and Isaiah Rodgers was on the field for 11. Bryce Huff was the only rookie defender to see the field for the Jets, playing seven snaps.

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