NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 8 PFF ReFocused: Indianapolis Colts 41, Detroit Lions 21

Detroit, Michigan, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jordan Wilkins (20) runs for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts earned their fifth win of the season in dominant fashion, defeating the Detroit Lions on the road, 41-21. 

After a show of strength in the first quarter by the Lions on all phases of the game, the Colts soared back in the second quarter and never took their foot off the gas.

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.


Matthew Stafford threw for more than 300 yards in his second straight game, but it was not enough to propel his Lions over the Colts. He lost star receiver Kenny Golladay in the second quarter due to a hip injury, though Golladay was unable to reel in any of his four targets before leaving the field.

With Golladay out, Stafford was forced to feed tight end T.J. Hockenson seven receptions for 65 yards to get the passing game going. He also connected with receiver Marvin Hall on a couple deep bombs and hit Marvin Jones Jr. for two touchdown grabs, though the veteran was relatively quiet with just one other reception outside of the scores. 

Nov 1, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) passes the ball during the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field. Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions' rushing attack was stymied all game long as the team finished with 13 carries for 29 yards. Much of the credit has to be given to the Indianapolis defensive line, as they had their way with Detroit, mauling lineman and repeatedly stuffing Adrian Peterson and D’Andre Swift in the backfield. They also wreaked havoc against the pass, pressuring Stafford on over 38% of his dropbacks. The Colts' coverage unit was not too shabby itself, with Kenny Moore snatching a pick-six after a Jordan Wilkins rushing touchdown, which took the air out of the Lions' sideline. 

Wilkins had a career-high 20 carries for 89 yards and a score, providing the Colts their only viable running game of the day. Nyheim Hines only had eight yards on five attempts but was a major key in the passing game, hauling in three receptions for 54 yards and two TDs. In fact, rookie Johnathan Taylor was the only Colts running back to be largely ineffective, with 11 carries for 22 scoreless yards. 

Philip Rivers played mistake-free football and — like he has done all year — spread the ball around, this time connecting with 11 different players. He didn't look downfield much,  netting a 6.5 average depth of target — his second-lowest of the this season. 


For the Lions, guard Jonah Jackson, cornerback Jeffrey Okudah and defensive lineman John Penisini all saw over 30 snaps at their respective positions, as did Swift. Jackson had one of the worst games in his short career, allowing four QB pressures without creating any lanes for his back to run through. Swift didn't fare much better, taking his six carries for one yard and providing 22 yards on three receptions.

Defensively, Okudah and Penisini both played well. Penisini helped stuff the run by easily filling gaps and holding his ground. Similar to his college career, he contributed nothing as a pass-rusher, generating zero pressures on 18 pass-rush reps. Okudah also had a key stop on a third-down run, forcing a fourth down. He wasn’t flashy in coverage but was with his receiver at every turn, allowing three receptions on five targets for 34 yards, making the tackle after each catch.

The Colts returned receiver Michael Pittman Jr., who made his return from a leg injury which has kept him out since Week 3. He saw 45 snaps but only one target, which he caught for 6 yards. Julian Blackmon was the only defensive rookie to earn playing time, though he will likely want to forget this contest. He struggled in coverage, allowing three receptions on five targets for a staggering 100 yards and three first downs.

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