Our 10-point bye report on the Indianapolis Colts:
Major issue: Injuries. We won’t even know a full list until Wednesday. Austin Collie is not going to play a week from Monday night against Houston, and Joseph Addai might not. Antonio Johnson just had knee surgery. Anthony Gonzalez hasn’t played since opening day. Already out long term: Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, Melvin Bullitt.
Invitation to run: The Colts have run the ball quite well in two games when dared to do so, with great showing from Addai in wins against the Giants and Redskins. Addai is averaging 4.4 yards a carry, his best number since his rookie season when he was the second back. The Colts need to continue to find space for their backs when teams load up with defensive backs.
A major virtue: Against those loaded defensive backfields, Peyton Manning’s shown excellent patience, waiting for the right situations to throw it and accepting those invitations to hand off. This team, at least until healthy, is likely to have to scrap and claw more to win, and he’s perfectly comfortable working to make sure no one out-scraps or out-claws him.
Leaving us wondering: The Colts began the campaign in camp, reminding us how long it takes a pass-rushing end to get comfortable. So Jerry Hughes has appeared in three games and has one special teams tackle on his resume so far. The way injuries have gone, it seems likely they’ll need him on defense at some point.
Second-year jump: Jerraud Powers has built upon a good rookie year and is playing even better this season as the starting right corner. Fili Moala pushed his way past Antonio Johnson into the starting lineup at defensive tackle. But the interior line hasn’t done a whole lot to distinguish itself so far.
Return troubles: Devin Moore is on IR and Kenneth Moore was just cut. Jim Caldwell has promised to work on the return-game issues during the bye. Justin Tryon, Javarris James and Andre Brown look to be options. They could continue to use Powers on punts.
Star performance: Manning’s got 13 touchdowns, two picks and a passer rating of 103.4 despite all the injuries among his supporting cast. Reggie Wayne leads the league with 45 catches. Robert Mathis has 5.5 sacks while Dwight Freeney has three.
Notable numbers: The Colts have just one run of 20 yards or more … Manning is 16th in the NFL on third down with a 85.9 passer rating, but has a league-best 116.5 rating in the fourth quarter … Only four teams have fewer than the Colts 26 penalties … According to ESPN Stats & Info, Indianapolis has dropped 13 balls, but no individual has three … The Colts have run more offensive plays out of three-wide sets than any team in the league.
APB: Kelvin Hayden missed a lot of time last year hurt. He figured to be a boon to the secondary, but Powers has outplayed him. Hayden’s been off his game and is a guy who needs to play better considering the team is working a third-string free safety and is going to see guys like Andre Johnson, DeSean Jackson, Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, Wes Welker and Miles Austin.
What’s to come: The rematch with the Texans is a giant division and conference game. Three more tough ones come after that, with a trip to Philadelphia, a home game against the Bengals and a game at New England.