3 Up, 3 Down: Six players that need to improve against the Lions

We know who played well against the Bills, but not everything was perfect when hosting Buffalo. Those weak spots need to be strengthened if the Colts are to continue their run toward a playoff spot. 

 

Offense

Donnie Avery

Avery has been inconsistent all season, and Sunday's game against Buffalo was a down game. Avery was targeted seven times, but only pulled down three catches for 34 yards. He dropped two passes, and is losing ground to T.Y. Hilton, who is impressing more every game. Avery received his lowest grade from PFF of the season, and the lowest grade of all WRs for the week. 

Mike McGlynn

McGlynn struggled to run block all game against Buffalo, namely matched up against DT Kyle Williams. When one-on-one, McGlynn struggled to get a push, and often let him shed his block far too easily. The Colts need to be able to get SOME kind of push on the right side of the line. They tried running left every time two weeks ago, and it doesn't work. 

Samson Satele

As bad as McGlynn was, Satele was even worse. Unable to do much in either the run or pass protection, Satele was more of a burden than a help on Sunday. Satele has been up and down all season (more down than up), but this was arguably his worst game. He allowed a sack and two hurries on Sunday, his sack was allowed while holding Marcel Dareus, drawing a flag. There will continue to be calls for A.Q. Shipley if Satele continues to play like this. 

Defense

Ricardo Mathews

Mathews only played 17 snaps against the Bills, but his role is sure to increase with Fili Moala out for the rest of the season. Mathews will likely start, which is concerning considering the poor job he did against Buffalo. Mathews has only gained five quarterback hurries all season, and failed to get near the QB on Sunday. Moala, on the other hand, has the most quarterback pressures of anybody on the defensive line, so Mathews has a lot to fill. 

Darius Butler

Butler wasn't terrible on Sunday, but he'll be facing a much better opponent in Detroit. Butler was fooled several times on double moves, leading to Stevie Johnson's 63-yard catch-and-run. Butler had the worst coverage grade of any of the Colts' corners, and will play a big part against an explosive Detroit offense. 

Tom Zbikowski

Zibby just seemed lost on Sunday at times, leading to a lot of opportunities for the Buffalo offense to hit deep passes. Unfortunately for Buffalo, Ryan Fitzpatrick was awful for most of the game. The biggest fault for Zibby came in run defense though, as he got blocked out  of several runs by wide receivers, and didn't have the speed to chase down C.J. Spiller. The run game won't be as big of a threat against Detroit, but Calvin Johnson will be, and the Colts' cornerbacks will need his help over the top. 

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.

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