Colts/Buccaneers Notebook: Pass Rush Found In Second Half

Intro: In the Colts/Buccaneers Week 12 Notebook, we examine the improved pass rush in the second half of Sunday’s win, the continued All-Pro level of the Colts kickers and snap counts from the 25-12 victory.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Playing perhaps their most complete half of 2015, the Colts controlled every facet of the final two quarters on Sunday.

The Colts 25-12 victory over the Buccaneers was much needed considering what was happening down in Houston.

Here's a notebook look at the Colts running their win streak to three games on Sunday:

**Pass Rush Revs Up After Halftime

**With Kendall Langford's halftime message on Sunday, one of the most direct results came in the pass rush during the final two quarters.

Jameis Winston went into halftime in a serious rhythm (9-of-15 for 130 yards and a touchdown), helping the Bucs offense to a 5-of-7 performance on third down and a 12-6 lead.

Something needed to change for the Colts defense, and it did in the second half.

With four sacks of Winston, the Bucs converted just one third-down opportunity in six second-half chances on Sunday.

"We were on a mission," outside linebacker Trent Cole, who had one sack and four quarterback hits, said after Sunday's win.

"We came out there and played ball. We were the better team. We came in with confidence and knew we needed to get it done."

The play in the final two quarters for the Colts pass rush was reminiscent of the how the unit responded in Atlanta after halftime.

Disrupting premier quarterbacks was something that plagued the Colts in losses last season.

It's no secret for this team to make a run come January, what we saw Sunday after halftime has to be a staple of the defense.

"We are gelling," Robert Mathis said after the Colts moved to 6-5 on the season.

"You want to get hot at the right time. Each and every week we are cutting out the mental mistakes."

**Colts Kickers Again Make A Difference

**It might not be too popular around the league, but another All-Pro distinction for Pat McAfee and Adam Vinatieri this season has to at least be considered.

Vinatieri has now made 16 straight field goals after knocking home another four in Sunday's win.

The 42-year-old kicker has connected on 10 of those 16 field goals from at least 40 yards, giving the Colts a consistent, reliable weapon once they cross midfield.**

**Controlling field position should not be lost in the Colts third straight win of the season.

Pat McAfee had three punts (52.0 average) on Sunday with an impressive net average of 49.7 yards per punt.

Just one of Tampa Bay's 10 offensive drives started past its own 20-yard line.

The Colts won the average drive start by 13 yards as McAfee continues to challenge the NFL record for net punting average in a season. McAfee is currently averaging 44.2 net yards per punt, which would tie the NFL single-season record set by Johnny Hekker in 2013.

In the Colts three straight wins, over three teams with realistic playoff aspirations, complementary of football has been consistent.

"It seems like it's always that way," Vinatieri says of all three units playing a role again on Sunday.

"At one time, it's the defense that steps up big and makes big plays. Other times it's the offense. (Sunday), I think it was a team win. Special teams definitely helped. Pat (McAfee) did a great job kicking touchbacks and pinning them back on punts. It gives the defense some field position and it really helps us out a lot."

**Indianapolis, Houston Stay Atop AFC South At 6-5

**The weeks move along and the Colts and Texans just keep winning.

Houston, winners of four in a row, routed the Saints on Sunday, 24-6.

They go into Week 13 with a 6-5 record, same as the Colts.

The only thing separating the two right now is the Colts tiebreaker, via their Week Five victory down in Houston.

With Jacksonville's (4-7) loss on Sunday, the Colts and Texans are beginning to separate themselves for what is shaping up to be a very competitive AFC South finish.**

Colts/Buccaneers Snap Counts **

  • The wide receiver snaps on Sunday went as followed: T.Y. Hilton (61-of-74), Donte Moncrief (59-of-74), Andre Johnson (33-of-74), and Griff Whalen (25-of-74).
  • The running back reps were led by Frank Gore (51-of-74). Ahmad Bradshaw played 22 snaps in his sixth game with the Colts this season before leaving Sunday with a wrist injury.
  • At tight end, the snaps were divided up with Dwayne Allen receiving 48 snaps. Coby Fleener also logged 43 snaps. Jack Doyle played 25.
  • Without Anthony Castonzo the Colts line looked like this for the entire 74 offensive plays on Sunday: LT-Joe Reitz, LG-Jack Mewhort, C-Jonotthan Harrison, RG-Hugh Thornton, RT-Denzelle Good.
  • Safety Dwight Lowery, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson and cornerback Vontae Davis played all 67 defensive snaps on Sunday.
  • In starting again for Mike Adams, rookie safety Clayton Geathers played 62 defensive snaps.
  • Playing without Henry Anderson, the defensive line snaps were as followed: Kendall Langford (45), David Parry (34), Billy Winn (34), T.Y. McGill (24), Zach Kerr (21).
  • At outside linebacker, with Bjoern Werner inactive, the snaps went to: Erik Walden (43), Trent Cole (40), Robert Mathis (39), Jonathan Newsome (24).
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