Colts/Saints Notebook: Pat McAfee Playing At An All-Pro Level

Intro: In the Colts/Saints Week Seven notebook, we take a look at the defensive performance on Sunday, T.Y. Hilton registering his first 100-yard game of 2015 and the top punter in the NFL.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Amidst, the Colts first-half miscues on Sunday, we did see a strong defensive performance to keep the team in it during the second half.

Also, the Colts continue to receive All-Pro level play from punter Pat McAfee.

Here's a notebook look at the Colts dropping to under .500 through seven weeks, after a 27-21 loss to the Saints.

Defense Keeps Colts In It With Second-Half Effort

The 27 points on the final scoreboard Sunday is a little misleading when evaluating the performance of the Colts defense.

While the unit did have its struggles in stopping the run on Sunday, the defense forced six straight second-half punts to keep things interesting.

New Orleans' three first-half touchdowns came off a pair of short fields and a fourth-down fake field goal.

Outside of an 82-yard touchdown drive to start the third quarter, the Colts defense did its part in limiting a perennial high-powered attack.

Following that score, the Colts allowed just three first downs on their next six defensive possessions (all ending in Saints punts).

The defense is expected to have the services of safety Mike Adams back next Monday in Carolina (6-0).

Adams told the FOX broadcast crew that he will return from his hamstring injury which kept him sidelined on Sunday. **

T.Y. Hilton Records First 100-Yard Game Of 2015**

For most of Sunday, the typical Pro Bowl connection of Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton could not get on the same page.

The duo did start the Colts comeback though with two late third-quarter touchdowns.

With a pair of Saints defensive backs falling down in the secondary, the Colts took advantage with Luck and Hilton connecting for scores of 87 and 46 yards in the third quarter.

Hilton had just four receptions in 15 targets on Sunday, but did pile up 150 receiving yards.

In just three and a half seasons, Hilton already has 17 career 100-yard games, the fifth most in team history.

Hilton is now tied with Jerry Rice and Torry Holt for the eighth-most 100-yard games in a player's first four seasons in NFL history.

Sunday's 100-yard outing for Hilton was his first in eight consecutive games, the longest stretch of his career without reaching the century mark.

**Pat McAfee's All-Pro Afternoon

**There's little doubt as to who the Colts' best weapon has been in 2015.

All-Pro punter Pat McAfee set career highs on Sunday afternoon with 10 punts and 517 yards.

He averaged 51.7 yards, including longs of 60 and 61 yards.

McAfee had a crucial fourth-quarter punt downed at the Saints one-yard line.

On the season, McAfee's net average of 46.7 yards is a full yard and a half better than any punter in the NFL.

Just for good measure, McAfee also had three touchbacks on Sunday. McAfee's 96.7 touchback percentage (27-of-28) leads the NFL through seven weeks.

**Colts Still Lead AFC South By One Game

**There wasn't much good news from Sunday afternoon, however the AFC South standings held true for the Colts.

With Houston suffering a massive loss in Miami, the Colts maintained their one-game lead in the AFC South through seven weeks.

Jacksonville was the only AFC South team to win on Sunday. The Jaguars beat the Bills, in London, 34-31.

At 3-4, the Colts lead the division with both Houston and Jacksonville a game back, at 2-5.

Tennessee, who lost 10-7 to Atlanta on Sunday, is in fourth place, at 1-5.

The Colts are 3-0 against the AFC South this season and won't play another divisional game until Week 14.**

Colts/Saints Snap Counts**

  • The wide receiver snaps on Sunday went as followed: T.Y. Hilton (61-of-63), Andre Johnson (58-of-63), Donte Moncrief (57-of-63), Phillip Dorsett (6-of-63) and Griff Whalen (2-of-63). Dorsett left the game with a lower leg injury midway through the second quarter.
  • The running back reps were split between Frank Gore (31) and Ahmad Bradshaw (29).
  • With Khaled Holmes exiting due to a stinger after 30 first-half snaps, Jonotthan Harrison played all 33 offensive snaps in the second half.
  • At tight end, Coby Fleener played 43 snaps. Dwayne Allen logged 25 snaps.
  • Safety Dwight Lowery and inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson played all 88 defensive snaps.
  • With Mike Adams OUT, Colt Anderson started and played 84 defensive snaps and another 29 on special teams.
  • Robert Mathis saw a major uptick in his playing time, logging 52 defensive snaps (59 percent of the defensive total). Mathis started Sunday off with a sack on the first play from scrimmage. He also added three quarterback hurries.
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