Indianapolis Colts Game Balls: Week 8 vs. Chiefs
Each week, we single out an outstanding Indianapolis Colts player from each area of the game – offense, defense and special teams – for their positive impact on the team's outcome. Sunday, the Colts (3-5) lost to the Kansas City Chiefs (5-2) by a score of 30-14.
Donte Moncrief, Wide Receiver
4 reception, 41 yards, 1 touchdown
In his anticipated return from a shoulder injury that sidelined him since the first quarter of Week 2 in Denver, Donte Moncrief did not disappoint the hometown fans, despite the home team losing. Moncrief, who was the Colts' leading receiver versus the Chiefs, scored on a 3-yard pass from Andrew Luck in the third quarter and had another score - this time from 45 yards - negated on a holding penalty by offensive lineman Denzelle Good. Moncrief looked comfortable in his return, receiving 9 targets from his quarterback, and displaying his go-to air-guitar touchdown celebration on his score. Indianapolis will need Moncrief down the stretch, as each game becomes more and more important, and he has shown to be a weapon for this offense, especially in the red zone.
4 tackles (1.0 for loss), 1 sack
Edwin Jackson, who made his first start of the season at inside linebacker alongside D'Qwell Jackson, was the best player on a defense that did all it could to keep the team in the game while its offense was unable to create any rhythm or momentum. Against the Chiefs, Jackson had 1 tackle for a loss and added 4 tackles. It was encouraging to see strong play from the inside linebacker position, as it has been an issue since the departure of Jerrell Freeman in the offseason. Sio Moore and Nate Irving were both brought in to fill the void left by Freeman, but they were both unsuccessful, and ultimately cut by the team. Rookie Antonio Morrision has shown flashes in the past, but overall, has struggled. Inconsistent play at the position has given Edwin Jackson an opportunity to start, and he took advantage of it on Sunday. Keep on eye out for him next week against the Packers.
1 punt return, 5 yards (5.0 ag)
There wasn't much to be excited about from the special teams on Sunday against Kansas City. Whether it was the fumble by Josh Ferguson on a punt that was nearly recovered by the Chiefs, or the inability to pin the Chiefs deep in their own territory in the first quarter on a perfectly placed kick by Pat McAfee, it was messy all day long. However, one player that did stand out for the Colts on special teams would undoubtedly have to be TY Hilton, mostly because no one expected him to be there. To the surprise of many, it was the veteran wide receiver fielding punts on Sunday, as Quan Bray and Chester Rogers were both out due to injuries. Don't expect to see Hilton returning any kicks for touchdowns anytime soon, as an injury to him would be devastating, and it was pretty clear that the coaches told him to fair catch every punt kicked towards him. For his relief appearance in the loss, Hilton gets the game ball.
Jeff Tibbins covers the Indianapolis Colts for Pro Football Spot. You can follow Jeff on Twitter at @jeff_tibbins.
Tweets by @spot_colts