INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts put together yet another total team effort on Sunday, taking control of the AFC South Division with their 30-23 win at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Finding success in all three phases of the game, the Colts were recognized by Pro Football Focus as having a handful of players rank near the top of their respective positions in Week 7. Tight end Eric Ebron and Zach Pascal even made PFF's "NFL Week 7 Team of the Week."
In order of highest grade first, here are the Colts players who earned top-10 grades at their position on Sunday:
Tight End No. 3 (91.2), 32 snaps (42 percent)
Ebron had his biggest game of the season on Sunday against the Texans, posting season highs in receptions (four) and receiving yards (70), as well as tying his highs for pass targets (five) and receiving touchdowns (one).
The scoring machine's touchdown was a thing of beauty (below). The play started out with starting left guard Quenton Nelson lined up as the fullback in the I-formation, which was unique enough in itself, with Nelson and Ebron both running towards the left boundaries of the end zone. As quarterback Jacoby Brissett drifted out to his left side, he lofted a high pass toward the back of the end zone where only Ebron could get it. Ebron then leaped and reached up, cradling the pass with his right hand while managing to get both feet down in bounds.
"Ebron earned a season-high 91.2 overall grade against the Texans in Week 7. He caught four passes for 70 yards and a touchdown while logging zero drops. His touchdown snag was a beautiful toe-tapping catch in the back of the end that should go down as one of the best catches in his NFL career."
Wide Receiver No. 2 (88.3), 36 snaps (47 percent)
This was Pascal's career breakout performance as he set single-game career highs in all of the following:
- Receptions (six [tied career high])
- Receiving yards (106)
- Receiving touchdowns (two)
- All-purpose yards (172)
- Kickoff returns (three)
- Kickoff return yards (66)
Pascal was a hard-nosed, dependable player for Brissett and the Colts all throughout the game, displaying strong hands and determination with the ball in his hands. He was so involved that he even got to attempt a pass, although it narrowly missed his target downfield. As if all of that wasn't enough, Pascal was also credited for his first-career forced safety late in the game when Texans punter Bryan Anger intentionally carried the ball out of the back of the end zone.
"Pascal only ran 18 routes against the Texans, but he sure did make the most of them. He averaged an NFL-high 5.89 yards per route run against Houston, catching all six of his targets for 106 yards, four first downs and two touchdowns."
Cornerback No. 4 (79.1), 27 snaps (42 percent)
The Colts played a pretty fair amount of dime defense on Sunday, which gave a lot of opportunities for Milligan to see the field. Although he's traditionally a safety, the Colts' formations often had him lining up in the slot, so he was considered a corner by PFF's measure this week. Although Milligan hasn't played much yet in his career, he's received rave reviews behind the scenes as a practice player going back to last season, and his grade for Week 7 reflects why. In 27 defensive snaps, he was credited with three tackles — all considered "stops," which PFF constitutes a "failure" by the offense — and the only reception he allowed on the day went for just two yards.
Punter No. 6 (63.0), 14 snaps (48 percent)
Sanchez once again had a solid day booting the ball, punting four times for an average of 43.5 yards and a net of 42.8. Two of the four were downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line, and only one of his punts on the day was returned (for just three yards). With the Colts consistently scoring points, Sanchez was also active as a kickoff specialist, kicking five times for an average starting field position of the 25.2-yard line. Two of the kicks resulted in touchbacks while the three that were returned resulted in just 63 yards.