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Colts’ Special Teams Gets Some Love In Pro Football Focus’ Week 10 Grades

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts won their third straight game on Sunday at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The 29-26 victory was a tale of two halves, filled with big plays on both sides. A big moment for the Colts’ special teams unit catapulted two players to the top of Pro Football Focus’ special teams grades, plus several others received recognition as well.

Denico Autry

Special Teamer No. 1 (92.7), 8 ST snaps (28 percent)

The Colts built a 21-7 lead in the second quarter, but then the Jaguars answered with a touchdown of their own. When they set up for the routine extra point attempt, Autry split the line and lept at the ball, sending it flying in the opposite direction (more on what happened next below).

Autry also had a nice performance on defense as well. He had two tackles, and PFF also credited him with two quarterback hurries and a stop, which constitutes a “loss” for the offense.

Autry started at defensive tackle for a Colts defensive front that held the Jaguars’ running backs to just 70 yards on the ground and 2.3 yards per carry.

Anthony Walker

Special Teamer No. 3 (92.2), 16 ST snaps (55 percent)

On Autry’s extra point block, the ball bounced right into Walker’s chest as he then weaved his way downfield for what could have been a two-point score if not for a penalty called near the end of the return.

Defensively, Walker led the team with 10 tackles (one for loss), five of them qualifying as stops according to PFF.

Andrew Luck

Quarterback No. 2 (91.1), 55 snaps (98 percent)

Luck was dealing the ball early and often against the league’s top pass defense, hitting on five passes of at least 20 yards. According to PFF, it was his highest-graded game of the season thus far.

In total, he threw for 285 yards. He also reached his sixth consecutive game with at least three touchdown passes in the same season, joining Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to do so.

Luck may have been the league’s top quarterback this week if not for a couple of drops by the intended receivers — one that would have resulted in a gain of roughly 20 yards, and another that also would’ve gone for about 20 yards but was bobbled and intercepted.

Darius Leonard

Linebacker No. 6 (83.5), 75 snaps (99 percent)

Another week, another high grade for the rookie star.

Leonard was credited with eight tackles, including 1.5 for loss, and four “stops.” Although we didn’t get any of Leonard’s signature game-winning forced turnovers or a 15-plus tackle game, this showed that he can still be an effective player while not jumping off the screen.

Eric Ebron

Tight End No. 5 (80.6), 21 snaps (38 percent)

Ebron had arguably his biggest game as a Colt on Sunday, hitting the hat trick of touchdowns — two receiving and one rushing, the second such score of his career.

Ebron is now tied for second in the NFL in receiving touchdowns (9) and is tied for sixth overall (10). His 10 touchdowns lead all NFL tight ends, the next closest player having scored six.

The fifth-year tight end’s first score came from 53 yards out, evading the tackle attempt of Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson as he then dove into the end zone. In all, he caught three-of-three targets for 69 yards.

T.Y. Hilton

Wide Receiver No. 10 (74.6), 42 snaps (75 percent)

Hilton only had three receptions (drawing shadow coverage of Jalen Ramsey is a tough task), but two of the three each went for 35 yards and all three catches resulted in first downs.

In the last few weeks, “The Ghost” has been able to come up with critical plays when it matters while not being the focal point of the offense. Attention paid to him by the defense has been opening up opportunities for his teammates.

Rigoberto Sanchez

Punter No. 8 (62.8), 13 snaps (45 percent)

Sanchez punted three times, and the first one was a beauty. Positioned from his own 35-yard line, he got the ball to the Jaguars’ six-yard line, and Colts gunner Chris Milton was able to knock the ball back into the field of play after it bounced toward the end zone. Jacksonville return man Dede Westbrook picked up the ball off the bounce and was promptly tackled, ending the play on the Jaguars’ 3-yard line.

On the day, Sanchez had a 46.0 yards-per-punt average and a 45.7 net average. He also had five kicks, two of which resulted in touchbacks.

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