As the St. Louis and Indianapolis game approached I bet alot of people were more willing to watch paint dry than watch an Andrew Luck vs. Kellen Clemen matchup. The Colts came in leading their division with a (6-2) record while the Rams had lost three in a row and had fallen to (3-6).
Things didn't go as expected for the Colts and Colts fans alike and here are the five things we learned from this matchup.
Tavon Austin was drafted by the Rams
Until this game the only thing anyone knew about Tavon Austin is that he was fast and he led the NFL in drops. Well guess what? He is still fast, and he may lead the league in drops, but he had a coming out party today against the Colts secondary and special teamers. Austin hauled in two receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns. He blew people away with his speed on a 98-yard punt return. Austin is the real deal and if the Rams use him correctly than they have found something in the five foot-eight inch wide receiver out of West Virginia.
Kellen Clemens can win games
There is a disclaimer to this point: Clemens won't nessecarily win you games, he just has the ability to not lose them for you. Clemens was very serviceable for the Rams offense in today's game completing 56 percent of his passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns. The big stat on the day for him was he did not throw an interception. He did however misplace a hand-off that led to a fumble but it did not come back to bite him. Granted, the Rams didn't need him to air the ball out much as they started their scoring with a defensive touchdown and later had the punt return by Austin for a touchdown.
Battle of the Roberts
Robert Mathis and Robert Quinn each tallied two sacks in Sunday's matchup. Robert Mathis has long been in the shadow of former Colt Dwight Freeney and has decided that he didn't want people to forget about him this year. The Rams pass rush doesn't just include Quinn, they also have Chris Long and dominant defensive tackles in Kendall Langford and Michael Brockers. Quinn, however seems to be the strongest of the four. Quinn wrecked havoc on Anthony Castonzo all game long and had Andrew Luck letting go of the ball sooner than he would've liked.
Luck was terrorized
Whether it was the lack of talent on the offensive line or the Rams defense was just that good at getting to Luck, it showed. Luck more often than not air-mailed passes to fairly open receivers. He was releasing the ball too soon and at times seemed very frustrated with the lack of protection he was getting from his line. The Rams defense got Luck for three interceptions to go along with the fumble that Long returned for a touchdown. I'm sure this is a game the Colts would like to forget but if they are smart, they will learn from it and start protecting their prized quarterback.
They aren't who we thought they were
Many people have had, and some may still have the Colts as a Super Bowl contender. With the lack of ground game (18 total rushing yards, 17 by Luck) and ineptitude of the offensive line the Colts may not be able to make it very far in the playoffs at all. Teams are going to look at the film from this game to find out what exactly the Rams were doing to get Luck off that pedestal that he rightfully has earned and mimic it. The Colts need to do something to produce a ground game otherwise they are in for more of what we saw today.