If there’s such a thing as a signature win, the Indianapolis Colts achieved it on Sunday in San Francisco.
After last week’s home loss to Miami, even the most optimistic of Indianapolis fans had a hard time predicting victory in Candlestick Park. But instead of Frank Gore leaving cleat tracks on the Colts’ defense and the 49ers’ D mauling Andrew Luck, Indy came out with arguably the organization’s most impressive road win since clobbering New England by 19 points in 2005.
In Sunday’s 27-7 triumph, the Colts became the first double-digit road underdog to win outright since Arizona did it in Week 2 last season. The Chuck Pagano/Luck-led bunch also upped its record to 6-0 after a loss over the past two seasons.
It was how they did it that was most impressive.
Offensively, the maligned, patchwork offensive line dominated the lauded 49ers front-seven over the final two quarters, helping Ahmad Bradshaw, trade-steal Trent Richardson and Donald Brown combine for 175 yards on 39 carries. Those are numbers rarely seen from the Colts, even during their offensive peak nearly a decade ago.
In its first outing, the Bradshaw/Richardson combo kept the 49ers off-balance and guessing, which is exactly the short- and long-term goal. San Fran’s confusion was no more apparent than on Luck’s 6-yard touchdown keeper with four minutes left that iced it. The Colts, meanwhile, showed they now have a rushing attack not seen in Indy since Edgerrin James blew out his knee in 2001.
Defensively, Indy outplayed, outhit and outcoached the 49ers all day. Colts fans can delight in the fact that the old cushy Tampa-2 days are long gone, replaced by a physicality and personnel designed to pressure, confuse and punish its opposition. One look into San Fran quarterback Collin Kaepernick’s eyes told you how uncomfortable he was, a welcomed sight after Miami’s Ryan Tannehill carved up the D a week earlier.