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Colts 2022 Season: Disappointing First Quarter Grades

The Indianapolis Colts have completed the first quarter of the 2022 season with a disappointing 2-2-1 record. Indy Intercept hands out grades and MVP awards to the offense, defense, special teams, and front office.

The first quarter of the 2022 season included the first half of the Colts’ AFC South divisional games, leaving the Colts winless in the division at 0 – 2 – 1, yet somehow still in second place in the division thanks to the equally bad play of the Titans, Jaguars, and Texans. Here, we break down the performance of the Colts offense, defense, special teams, and front office, assign grades, and identify each unit’s most valuable player (MVP) through the first five games of the season.

Colts Offense First Quarter Grade: D

The offense has at times moved the ball well, at other times has looked utterly anemic, and has repeatedly found ways to kill drives, turn the ball over, and otherwise fail to put points on the scoreboard. The ability to move the ball through the air and multiple, successful fourth-quarter comebacks are the only things keeping this unit from a failing grade in the first quarter.

Specific grades for quarterback, wide receivers, tight ends, running backs, and offensive line:

Colts Offense 2022 First Quarter Grades by Unit

Colts Offense First Quarter MVP: Alec Pierce

Despite missing one game due to a concussion, rookie wide receiver Alec Pierce has emerged as perhaps Ryan’s favorite and most reliable receiver. Pierce has delivered as a big target, winning contested throws on the outside and over the middle. If Pierce continues his first-quarter performance, his name may appear in discussions for offensive rookie of the year consideration.

Alec Pierce has been HIM — 💙🤍Please draft a QB💙🤍 (@SadCoItsFan) October 8, 2022

Colts Defense First Quarter Grade: B

The defense has single-handedly kept the Colts in games while the offense has failed to score. The unit appears to be adjusting well, if slowly, to Gus Bradley’s scheme. Through five games, the defense has given up zero fourth quarter points, the first team in nearly a century to accomplish the feat. The defense would have a higher grade, but for its inability to generate turnovers.

Specific grades for linebackers,defensive backs, and the line:

Colts Defense 2022 First Quarter Grades by Unit

Colts Defense First Quarter MVP: Stephon Gilmore

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore has been tested by opposing offenses, and has largely delivered. Both team wins have come as a result of “Gillylock” defending passes in the end zone to preserve late Colts leads.

Honorable mentions: defensive tackle Grover Stewart and Defensive End Kwity Paye.

STEPHON GILMORE CALLED GAME! 🎥: @PrimeVideo — Famously Garnet Sports (@FamouslyGarnet) October 7, 2022

Colts Special Teams First Quarter Grade: B

Despite being losing pro-bowl punter Rigoberto Sanchez to injury during the off-season, largely responsible for snatching a tie from a would-be overtime win Week One at Houston, and seeing starting place kicker Rodrigo Blankenship subsequently get cut, the Special Teams unit has been quietly solid, especially in the Week Five, all-field goal win at Denver.

Colts Special Teams First Quarter MVP: Chase McLaughlin

Signed to the practice squad after Blankenship was cut and subsequently being signed to the active roster, place kicker Chase McLaughlin has been remarkably reliable, especially when asked to kick field goals beyond 50 yards. McLaughlin was named AFC special teams player of the week after kicking field goals of 48, 51, and 52 yards at Denver.

#Colts NEWS: kicker Chase McLaughlin has been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. First time in his career that McLaughlin has earned Player of the Week honors. He went 4-4 vs. #Broncos. @WISH_TV — Anthony Calhoun 📺 (@ACwishtv) October 12, 2022

Colts Front Office First Quarter Grade: C

Specific grades for head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, and general manager:

Colts Offense 2022 First Quarter Grades by Unit

Colts Front Office First Quarter MVP: Special Teams Coordinator Bubba Ventrone

Despite losing both his starting punter and starting place kicker, Bubba Ventrone continues to field a unit that reliably produces on the field. The Colts have a young roster that lacks depth, which usually translates into inconsistent special teams performance in kick returns and coverage – but not so with this unit.

Bold prediction (not really). Frank Reich is going to go 3-for-3 in getting coordinators hired before it's all said and done. Bubba Ventrone is going to be an NFL head coach one day. — Jim Ayello (@jimayello) January 27, 2022

Colts Overall First Quarter Grade: C

The Colts could have emerged from the first quarter with a clear lead in the AFC South division. Instead, the team has emerged as what they historically have under Frank Reich: mediocre. The uninspired, ugly win over Denver in Week Five may have kept the team in the race for the division, but in so doing it may have only delayed the inevitable.

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