NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 16 Game Recap: Indianapolis Colts 22, Arizona Cardinals 16

Glendale, Arizona, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs by Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (3) during the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Despite missing more than five starters due to injury/COVID protocols, the Indianapolis Colts pulled off a 22-16 road win over the NFC West-leading Arizona Cardinals.

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Jonathan Taylor was bottled up for most of the game, but Carson Wentz turned it on late in the fourth quarter to help secure the win.

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Indianapolis Colts

Quarterback

Wentz struggled against pressure and Arizona's blitzes for most of the night. He averaged just 6.1 yards per attempt and earned a sub-70.0 PFF grade through the first three quarters of the game. In the final quarter of play, however, Wentz went a perfect 3-for-3 for 73 yards and a touchdown to give the Colts the game-clinching two-score lead.

Running Back

Taylor broke off a 43-yard run early in the game but failed to build on that momentum behind a porous, injury-plagued offensive line. He averaged just 2.5 yards per carry on his 26 other attempts in the contest. He was hit behind the line of scrimmage early and often, as he gained more than 90 of his 108 yards after contact.

Wide Receiver/Tight End
Name POS Routes Targets Receptions Yards YAC REC TD REC 1D
T.Y. Hilton WR 26 5 4 51 13 1 3
Mo Alie-Cox TE 22 2 2 42 32 0 1
Michael Pittman Jr. WR 31 12 8 82 40 0 5
Kylen Granson TE 8 1 1 6 0 0 0
Keke Coutee WR 17 0 0 0 0 0 0
Dezmon Patmon WR 2 1 1 14 0 1 0
Ashton Dulin WR 9 2 1 23 3 0 1

It was obvious that Wentz wanted to feed Michael Pittman Jr. the football, as Pittman led the team in targets (12), receptions (8), receiving first downs (5) and yards (82). He also dropped zero passes and caught one of his two contested targets on the day.

Dezmon Patmon recorded just one reception against Arizona, but it was the most important Colts pass on the night. Wentz hit him open in the back of the end zone for the 14-yard touchdown that put Indianapolis up by nine points with 6:45 to go in the game.

Offensive Line

Indianapolis' offensive line was awful across the board. Battling injuries and COVID protocols, Indianapolis' makeshift front five all graded below 70.0 on first review, and none of the starters earned a run-blocking grade above 60.0.

Defensive Line

Dayo Odeyingbo and Al-Quadin Muhammad led the Colts with three total pressures apiece on PFF’s first review of the broadcast film. The unit, as a whole, was impressive, as well. The seven defensive linemen who played 15-plus snaps all earned PFF grades above 65.0 (on first review).

Linebackers

With Darius Leonard sidelined, EJ Speed and Bobby Okereke were Indianapolis' starting off-ball linebackers. Speed was a standout performer in run defense and shared the team lead in tackles with George Odum at nine. Speed, however, was picked on a bit in coverage, as he allowed more than 80 yards and six receiving first downs on first review.

Secondary

Indianapolis’ defensive backs held up well in coverage and in run support all night long. Veteran Xavier Rhodes led the secondary in yards allowed with 33, but he allowed all of that on just one reception to A.J. Green in the second half.

Arizona Cardinals

Quarterback

Kyler Murray’s grade will be propped up by some efficient underneath passing down the stretch and multiple big-time throws down the field, but the offense still struggled to create big plays consistently.

Murray and the rest of the Cardinals offense lived and died by the underneath passes to running back Chase Edmonds and tight end Zach Ertz. The downfield dimes to Antoine Wesley in the end zone and Green over Rhodes were obvious highlight plays, but they were too few and far between for the Cardinals to score enough points to win.

Running Back

With James Conner sidelined, Edmonds led the way with 16 carries for 56 yards, four rushing first downs and a score. He also hauled in eight receptions for 71 yards in the passing game. He was dynamic and forced missed tackles at a solid rate, but his impact remained limited due to how often his touches came at or near the line of scrimmage.

Wide Receiver/Tight End

Ertz led the wide receiver/tight end group with seven receptions on 11 targets for 52 yards and four receiving first downs. Wide receiver Christian Kirk was the only other one of the group with more than two receptions — and even he still finished with just six receptions for 41 yards, two first downs and a drop.

Without DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona continues to struggle to find anyone who can concisely create separation downfield.

Name POS Routes Targets Receptions Yards YAC REC TD REC 1D
A.J. Green WR 36 3 1 33 13 0 1
Zach Ertz TE 42 12 8 54 35 0 4
Demetrius Harris TE 8 1 1 3 3 0 0
Darrell Daniels TE 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Antoine Wesley WR 32 3 2 29 6 1 1
Andy Isabella WR 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Christian Kirk WR 38 9 7 55 20 0 3
Offensive Line

Tackle DJ Humphries and backup center Max Garcia were both bullied against Indianapolis. Humphries allowed a team-high seven total pressures on PFF’s first review of the broadcast film, and Garcia was responsible for multiple bad snaps, including one that ultimately resulted in a safety.

Defensive Line

As evidenced by Taylor’s poor rushing performance, Arizona’s defensive line was a top performer and major highlight for the team despite the loss. Yes, it was going up against a slew of backups along Indianapolis' offensive line, but the effort was still impressive nonetheless.

Arizona should finish reviews with four diffusive defensive linemen clearing 75.0 run-defense grades, including Rashard Lawrence, Corey Peters, Devon Kennard and Leki Fotu.

Linebackers

Following suit with the above defensive linemen, linebacker Jordan Hicks was an absolute monster in the run game. He secured multiple defensive stops and should finish reviews with an 85.0 PFF run-defense grade. Fellow linebackers Isaiah Simmons and Joe Walker weren’t dreadful against the run, but neither had the night Hicks did.

Secondary

Even though he also had two forced incompletions, Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton led the team in yards allowed in coverage with 75 on four receptions. He also allowed a team-high three receiving first downs.

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