Even without All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard and Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton missing the second half, the Colts still found a way to win their first home opener since 2013, 27-24, over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Buy on this breakout performance: Brissett’s 16-straight completions to start the game tied Peyton Manning for the fifth most in franchise history. Brissett’s 310 yards passing should end the thought of him not being able to be an effective downfield passer. He entered the game with 336 yards passing on the season. The Colts spent the first two weeks being a run-first team, which is something that hadn’t happened since the pre-Manning days in 1998. They were so committed to the run that they went into Sunday ranked second in the NFL in rushing while being dead last in the league in passing yards.
Brissett didn’t rely on just one or two receivers — he completed passes to nine different players, including a third-down completion to tight end Jack Doyle to get the first down and seal the game with less than 90 seconds remaining. Run or pass, it doesn’t matter because the Colts can do both.
Promising trend: Who said kicker Adam Vinatieri was a problem for the Colts? Vinatieri made two field goals — from 49 and 21 yards — and two extra points to potentially end one of the worst slumps of his 24-year career. Fans were holding their breath on Vinatieri’s first kick, the 49-yarder, because the ball started on the right side and then veered left to hit the goal post before trickling through. But at this point, Vinatieri will take it. He went into Sunday’s game having missed seven kicks in his previous three games going back to the playoff game at Kansas City last season.
Pivotal play: The Falcons had all the momentum after possessing the ball for 13 minutes and 17 seconds and limiting the Colts to just three plays in the third quarter while also cutting the Colts’ lead from 20-3 to 20-17. The Colts had the ball on third-and-1 at the Falcons’ 39-yard line. Brissett ran a play-action pass, causing Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver to think run and allowing Colts receiver Zach Pascal to get behind Oliver for a 35-yard completion to Atlanta’s 4-yard line. Mack scored on the next play to give the Colts a 27-17 lead.