INDIANAPOLIS – Perhaps the loudest cheer from the home faithful on Monday night came when their all-time sack leader was announced.
Our Colts/Jets Notebook examines the return of Robert Mathis, Frank Gore's critical fumble and the stellar play of rookie Henry Anderson.
Here is the Colts/Jets Notebook after Indy's 20-7 loss on Monday night:
After 618 Days, Robert Mathis Returns To Football
The Colts announced a 12th starter during pre-game introductions on Monday night.
That last name received by far the most raucous cheer of any from those inside Lucas Oil Stadium.
Colts fans welcomed Robert Mathis back to the football field, after 618 days away.
"The crowd gave me a great reception and it's always great to be welcomed back home," Mathis said of playing in his first game since the 2014 playoffs.
"It was bitter sweet of course. Still a blessing."
Playing on a pitch count that saw him log 13 defensive snaps, Mathis had one quarterback hurry to go along with dropping into coverage on several plays.
Look for Mathis' reps to continue to grow going forward as he tries to get back to the All-Pro level he played at in 2013, leading the NFL with 19.5 sacks that season.
Mathis called Monday night an "emotional" one because of all the hurdles he dealt with last year---the four-game suspension and the Achilles' injury.
When the bright lights came on Monday, it was back to doing what he loves.
"It was game time," Mathis said. "I just had to jump on the grenade and see what was still attached. Everything felt good, so just going to build on it."**
Photos from the home opener of the 2015 season.
Frank Gore Believes His Fumble Could Have Been The Difference**
It was the drive the Colts needed to start the third quarter.
An 18-play series, chewing up nearly 10 minutes of game action behind five third-down conversions, the Colts looked prime to cut the Jets lead to three points coming out of halftime.
The Colts appeared to have one more third-down conversion coming when Frank Gore took a handoff from Andrew Luck on a third-and-goal from the one-yard line.
However, as Gore broke off to the outside, he lost complete control of the football and with it went plenty of momentum and, most importantly, seven points.
"I can't do that," a dejected Gore said after the 20-7 loss. "The game would have been different. We would have been down three (10-7). I can't do that. I've got to get better. I've got to get better."
The Gore fumble pretty accurately summed up the Colts night on Monday.
Gore, who showed more than a few flashes of what the running game can look like with him back there (seven first-half carries for 41 yards), didn't mince words after the game on what his fumble potentially meant.
"I put that on me. I hurt the team there," the 11-year veteran said.
"I will get better. I will go out there and fight each and every Sunday and try to make it right. I promise my teammates that I'm going to get better. I will bust my behind for them and try my best to do everything well on the field."**
Rookie Henry Anderson Shines Again**
A defensive line need this offseason for the Colts was evident, and the team has found a rookie that has more than filled his duty in the trenches.
Third-round pick Henry Anderson has delivered through his first two NFL games, putting together five-tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss in the box score on Monday night.
After two games this season, Anderson leads all NFL defensive linemen with 12 tackles.
On Monday, the Colts run defense was pretty stout against the Jets before a couple of late runs in the fourth quarter.
New York had just 21 rushing yards on 13 carries at halftime.
Anderson was once again a major focal point in that performance.
He did record his first NFL sack on Monday, but the Stanford product knows the unit needs to create more of that havoc.
"I think we did a good job stopping the run, for the most part," Anderson said.
"We need to get working on pressuring the quarterback. Even if we aren't hitting him, just making him feel that pressure and make him feel uncomfortable back there."Colts/Jets Snap Counts
- The wide receiver snaps on Monday went as followed: T.Y. Hilton (54 of 64), Donte Moncrief (50 of 64), Andre Johnson (44 of 64) Phillip Dorsett (14 of 64) and Griff Whalen (4 of 64).
- The running back reps were led by Frank Gore (41 of 64). Josh Robinson (17 of 64) and Tyler Varga (6 of 64) spelled Gore.
- Reserve lineman Joe Reitz played 6 snaps as an extra tackle.
- Cornerback Jalil Brown, safety Mike Adams and safety Dwight Lowery played every single defensive snap (69 plays).
- Kendall Langford (58) and Henry Anderson (55) continue to see ample playing time along the defensive line.
- Vontae Davis played 33 defensive snaps, before leaving the game with a concussion.
- In his return to the football field, Robert Mathis play 13 defensive snaps.