POWERS STEPS UP WHEN NEEDED THE MOST – Jerraud Powers did not need anyone to tell him Sunday's game was not the best the Colts cornerback has played in his four seasons in Indianapolis.
Powers was not pleased with his performance on Sunday afternoon but like any marquee cornerback, he had to block all of that out with the game on the line.
With the Browns facing a fourth-and-six with 1:57 to go from the Colts' 39-yard line, Powers lined up defending Cleveland's slot receiver Josh Cooper.
Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden put the ball right between Cooper's numbers, but it was the hands of Powers that deflected the pass to preserve the Colts' 17-13 victory.
"On the fourth-and-six, (number) 88 made a couple of plays running crossing routes so I was expecting that but when he ran the slant, I was kind of hanging on the inside and was just able to make a play," Powers said.
"I felt like I left a couple of plays out there, definitely not one of my best games since I've been here. As a defensive back, especially the type of coverage we play, that's going to happen every now and then. I kept telling the guys, 'I'm going to get a play back. I'm going to make a play.' "
It was a play that was noticed around the Colts locker room.
Wide receiver Reggie Wayne has had numerous battles with Powers in practice and knows the talent he possesses.
After having his struggles at times during the first few quarters, it was Powers who helped force incompletions on two of the final three offensive plays for the Browns.
"(Powers) didn't have the game he wanted to but you just have to keep playing," Wayne said. "As a DB, you need to have amnesia. He was battling in there. I've got all the confidence in the world Jerraud. He's a strong player, confident in his skills, and he came through for us."
OFFENSIVE LINE ADDS WRINKLE TO RUSHING ATTACK – For the first time all season, the Colts offensive line was able to put together the same starting five on the field in consecutive weeks.
That starting five added a sixth member on Sunday as offensive tackle Tony Hills was used as an eligible lineman during the Colts' first series.
Hills was used to replaced an injured Mike McGlynn in the Packers game, but the experience lining up at tight end was new to him.
"Little to none," Hills said when asked if he has been a tackle eligible in the past. "We always want to run the football. As an offensive line, we pride ourselves on that. As far as myself, whatever the team needs or whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'm always eager to do it."
Running the football is exactly what the Colts did on Sunday with a season-high 148 yards on the ground. The output was nearly 100 yards more than the Browns and marked the first time the Colts had out-rushed an opponent in 2012.
Hills credited the play of running backs Vick Ballard (20 carries for 84 yards) and Delone Carter (11 carries for 41 yards) to help a unit that was coming off a frustrating effort last week.
"Those guys stepped up huge. I know they wanted to go out and prove themselves," Hills said.
"We didn't come out and do what we wanted to do and establish the run in the New York game, so I know those guys wanted to come out and do that in front of the home crowd."
The offensive line appears to be creating some quality depth heading into the final 10 games of the season.
Reserve offensive tackle Bradley Sowell has filled in on the line as well, and offensive guard Joe Reitz practiced last week in hope of making his season debut.
The game plan for the Colts was simple this past week. If the team wanted to even its record at 3-3, production was needed from the ground game.
"No doubt, no doubt. And we needed to, we needed to at home," interim head coach/offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said of the production in the run game. "We wanted to run the football and not just in a big package, but in all packages."
LUCK CAN DO HIS DAMAGE WITH HIS FEET TOO – Andrew Luck's stat line read as this following the Colts' 17-13 win on Sunday: 16-of-29 for 186 yards passing, no touchdowns, no interceptions.
In taking a second look at the rushing statistics, though, Luck continued his ability to create plays with his feet by scoring both of the Colts' touchdowns on Sunday.
Luck's two touchdowns on the ground marked the first time since 1988 (Ricky Turner against Miami) that a Colts quarterback has scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in a game.
On both occasions on Sunday against Cleveland, Luck decided that his options in the passing game were covered and tucked the ball for a three- and five-yard touchdowns.
The rookie signal-caller leads AFC quarterbacks with 115 rushing yards on the season, and his three touchdowns are one short of the team seasonal-record for a quarterback.
It was not by design, but Arians knows he has a quarterback capable of making something out of opportunity.
"I knew down in the red zone that they had a special coverage the way they played that if you broke out, he'd score because it was a matchup man-to-man, and they would have their backs turned to wall in a receiver. If he could get out, he'd score. It just so happened it worked twice," Arians said.