It's going to be interesting to see how much Simeon Rice is able to help the Colts during the month of December after he's had a little time to get settled in.
Although he had an empty stats line at the end of the day Sunday, I was impressed by his intelligence on a play where he sniffed out a screen pass and stayed with the running back who was trying to sneak out of the backfield rather than rushing in to take a shot at the quarterback, leaving him open for a quick pass that could have turned into a decent gain for the Chiefs.
And speaking of impressive, as I looked at Rice's history as a player, here's something that is a huge positive in light of the Colts' injury woes this season. During his first ten NFL season, Rice only missed two games and started in all but nine NFL games during that stretch.
One of the big questions is whether or not he's still got the quickness to get pressure on the quarterback. Over the course of his career, he's been incredibly consistent in that area. He's logged 37 sacks on first down, 37 on second down, 45 on third down during his career and even a pair of them on fourth down.
Against the run, you've got to like his work inside the tackles even though he's a defensive end. Out of his 391 career tackles as a defensive end, he's made 200 of them inside the tackles in the middle of the field. That's good news for the Colts' run defense.
Adam Vinatieri misses a kick against the Chiefs.
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
He's fine ... really
Okay, so as you watched Adam Vinatieri miss two more field goals on Sunday, how many of you asked yourself why the Colts didn't add kicker Shane Andrus to the roster this week?
If you were watching the game on television, you probably heard one of the announcers mention that Vinatieri has his "plant foot" bandaged up and inferred that he can't quite get himself set to launch the ball as well.
With as good as the Colts have been over the last couple of years at shuffling players on and off the roster to substitute for banged-up players, I just couldn't believe I was watching another week of Vinatieri obviously not capable of kicking up to his usual standards. The Colts front office is usually much smarter than that, especially when it comes to key players who can impact the outcome of a game — as the Colts kicker did last week, and could have easily done again this week with two missed field goals.
Luckily for the Colts, the opposing kicker was Dave Rayner, an Indy castoff who spent last season in Green Bay before being released this year and landing in Kansas City. His pair of misses allowed Vinatieri to have a shot at an easy game-winner in the closing seconds.
The message following the game was mixed by the Colts. Tony Dungy said that Vinatieri "was fine." The Colts kicker was a bit evasive, but had this to say when asked if he was injured or not.
"Ten weeks into the season there's probably a lot of guys who are dinged up a little bit," he said. "We try to do everything we can to get back on the field and try to be productive and that's really all I have to say about that.
"I'm fine. The misses are because I missed, not because I've got anything that's keeping off the field. I'm going to be out there doing the best I can to help the team win."
Vinatieri's now 0-for-3 on attempts of 40 yards or longer this season. While he's made 18 out of 24 attempts overall, he's hit just four of nine during the past three weeks. And the 27-yard field goal that he made against the Chiefs on Sunday was his longest successful field goal since October 22 when he kicked a 36-yarder against the Jaguars.
Maybe instead of trying out punters last week, the Colts should have brought in some kickers. Or better yet, they just should have signed Andrus. For the team's sake, and to let Vinatieri take a week or two off to bounce back from whatever's ailing him, they should call Andrus ... today.
Former Colts: Week 11 notes
Cornerback Von Hutchins got his first start as a cornerback with the Houston Texans on Sunday and picked off a pass. Strongside linebacker Marcus Washington of the Redskins also had a good day, making six tackles against Dallas after missing four of the previous five games with a hamstring problem.
Safety Idrees Bahir wasn't so fortunate. He suffered a knee injury on the opening kickoff as the Lions took on the Giants. Following an MRI, he was put on injured reserve, ending his season.
Running back Edgerrin James had a tough day as well, but at least he stayed healthy. He was only able to gain 52 yards on 22 carries against the Bengals while failing to break a single run for more than seven yards.
Did you know?
The Colts are a 13.5-point favorite over the Falcons despite the fact that the game is being played at Atlanta this Thursday night. Former Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich has made three game appearances, including two starts, and has completed just 54.2 percent of his passes. He's thrown just one touchdown pass and has been intercepted three times and sacked five times.
Although Robert Mathis has six sacks for the season through the first nine games, four of them have come over the past three weeks. His forced fumble against the Chiefs on Sunday was his second of the season. Mathis recorded his first one against the Saints in the season opener and now has 21 for his career.
While I'm sure he's feeling badly about teammate Dwight Freeney landing on the injured reserve list, from a financial perspective, the timing is very good for defensive end Josh Thomas. Freeney's absence will give him the opportunity to showcase his skills prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Thomas is currently playing under a one-year, $1.3 million contract that the Colts offered him as a restricted free agent earlier this year.