Brissett's fast start helps Colts hold off Falcons 27-24

Sun Sep 22 4:30pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) reacts after making a touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)


Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines (21) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen (37) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)


Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn shouts during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (11) is tackled by Indianapolis Colts safety Khari Willis (37) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)


Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron (85) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons free safety Ricardo Allen (37) and strong safety Keanu Neal (22) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)


Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal (14) celebrates after making a touchdown reception during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (4) is congratulated after kicking a field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell (15) breaks out of a tackle from Atlanta Falcons strong safety Damontae Kazee (27) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Jacoby Brissett threw two touchdown passes in the first half Sunday, and Marlon Mack scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter to lead the Indianapolis Colts past Atlanta 27-24.

Indianapolis (2-1) has won two straight overall and seven in a row at home.

The Falcons (1-2) rallied from a 20-3 halftime deficit to get within three on Matt Ryan's 10-yard touchdown pass to Julio Jones with 4:11 to play. But the Falcons opted to kick deep and never got the ball back.

Brissett closed it out with an 11-yard pass to Jack Doyle on third-and-4. He finished 28 of 37 with 310 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. T.Y. Hilton caught eight passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but missed the second half after aggravating a quad injury that slowed him in practice this week.

Ryan was 29 of 34 with 340 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He passed John Elway for ninth on the league's career completion list and broke a tie with Elway for No. 11 on the career TD passes list. Ryan now has 4,143 completions and 303 touchdown passes.

Brissett played brilliantly, completing his first 16 passes and leading the Colts to scores on all four of their first-half possessions, including two 90-plus yard drives.

But the Falcons flipped the script in the second half.

Ryan capped a 75-yard drive to open the third quarter with a 13-yard pass to Austin Hooper, making it 20-10. Then, after the Falcons forced a three-and-out and Indy's only punt of the game, Ryan led Atlanta on a 16-play drive that consumed nearly 10 minutes. It ended with a 2-yard TD pass to Hooper to get the Falcons within 20-17.

Brissett answered by capitalizing on two Atlanta defensive penalties, ending the drive by watching Mack's score extend the lead to 27-14.

Ryan hooked up with Julio Jones on a 14-yard pass to get the Falcons within 27-24, but never got a chance to force a tie or take the lead.

Jones had eight catches for 128 yards.

AUTOMATIC ADAM

After missing five of his first eight kicks and dealing with two weeks of questions, 46-year-old Adam Vinatieri reverted to his traditional form.

The Colts kicker drew gasps then cheers when he banked in a 49-yard field goal off the left upright to start the game. But the NFL's oldest player later added a 21-yard field goal and made all three extra points without any problems.

UP NEXT

Falcons: face a second straight AFC South foe, Tennessee, next Sunday in Atlanta.

Colts: stay home to face Oakland next Sunday.

Player Notes
Aaron Donald Jun 3 2:10pm ET

Even though Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ranked sixth on NFL.com's Nick Shook's top-10 pass disruptors of 2019, the five-time All-Pro is still one of the best all-around pass-rushers in the league. He played more total snaps (882) than anyone else on the list, which is why his 15.7 percent disruption rate is a little lower. Donald's 267 quarterback pressures since 2016 are the most in the NFL in that span. His 69 QB pressures were second-most in 2019, and his pressure percentage (13.5) was the highest among interior linemen with a minimum of 300 pass rushes. The 29-year-old has made the Pro Bowl in each of his six seasons and has 72 sacks so far in his career. He's the real deal and is an elite IDP defensive lineman.

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Josh Allen Jun 3 1:50pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars edge-rushing linebacker Josh Allen had an incredible rookie season in 2019, being selected to the Pro Bowl with 54 total disruptions and 10.5 sacks. He had a disruption rate of 16.2 percent and a sack rate of 3.1 percent, but how much of his success had to do with fellow pass-rushers Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue? Campbell is now playing in Baltimore after a trade and Ngakoue is disgruntled and wants to be traded. If Ngakoue leaves, too, Allen will have a tougher time putting up those kind of numbers in his second season. The 22-year-old seventh overall pick should still be a force to be reckoned with for years to come, but he might not be a weekly starter in IDP leagues just yet.

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Robert Quinn Jun 3 1:30pm ET

Chicago Bears defensive end Robert Quinn earned his five-year deal on the free-agent market with an excellent season in 2019 with the Cowboys. Working opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence, Quinn pressured the quarterback on 14 percent of pass rushes, the third-highest rate in the NFL with a minimum of 250 pass rushes. He had 49 QB pressures last year, which is the same number that Bears pass-rusher Khalil Mack had, but Quinn accomplished it on 116 fewer pass rushes. If Quinn can maintain that level of play, the Bears Defense could be a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. Before 2019, though, Quinn didn't have a double-digit sack season since 2014, so many IDP owners will be skeptical that he can produce those numbers again in a new environment. In his career, the 30-year-old has 80.5 sacks in nine seasons, including four seasons with double-digit QB takedowns.

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DeForest Buckner Jun 3 1:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa made the Pro Bowl and was named the 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year while racking up the fourth-most quarterback pressures in the NFL (60) while finishing with a pressure percentage of 13.9, good for fourth-best in the league. The younger brother of Chargers pass-rusher Joey Bosa, Nick is just 22 years old and had nine sacks, 16 tackles for loss and 25 QB hits in his first season. He might have to shoulder a bigger load in San Fran with DeForest Buckner now in Indy, but Bosa will likely be up to the task as one of the best young pass-rushers in football. He's an easy top-10 defensive line target in IDP setups.

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Emmanuel Sanders Jun 3 12:50pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said on NFL Network's Total Access on Tuesday that playing with quarterback Drew Brees will be similar to his days with Peyton Manning in Denver. "Like I said in '14, that's wide receiver heaven. To be back in the situation with another Hall of Fame quarterback and trying to do something special and win a Super Bowl, I'm all in. Truthfully, I'm blessed to be in this position that I'm in right now," Sanders said. He had 101 catches for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns in his first year with Manning in Denver, and he had over 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons with the Broncos. He might not return to those glory days, but Sanders can be a reliable and cheap WR3 for fantasy owners in the Big Easy if he can stay healthy.

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Trent Taylor Jun 3 12:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Trent Taylor (foot) has been sprinting, cutting and catching passes from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo while the team waits for the green light to return to their practice facilities. Taylor missed all of 2019 with a foot injury, but he's been part of a group of receivers running routes for Garoppolo in the Bay Area in recent weeks. Others include Jalen Hurd, Shawn Poindexter, Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne. Despite missing all of last year, Taylor could be the team's slot man if he proves his health this summer. While he might not be quite ready for football action at the moment, there's still time for him to get up to speed. He'll be a post-injury sleeper late in deep PPR leagues.

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Daniel Jones Jun 3 12:40pm ET

The New York Giants have fewer concerns on the offensive line than most teams but will enter training camp with one glaring question mark, the man snapping to franchise quarterbackDaniel Jones. Experience favors 27-year-old Spencer Pulley, who has started 26 NFL games, including nine with New York in 2018. Other candidates include the 6-foot-6, 318-pound Nick Gates and rookie Shane Lemieux. Gates has the size but has mostly played tackle in his career, and Lemieux was exclusively a left guard at Oregon. Given that Jones is learning a new offense, it would make sense not to stick the sophomore QB behind an inexperienced center, but the players will battle for the job in training camp. Whoever wins the job will join one of the better guard tandems in the NFL along with fourth overall pick Andrew Thomas and veteran Nate Solder. The center position could make or break a line that has the potential to be great for Jones and running backSaquon Barkley.

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Harold Landry Jun 3 12:40pm ET

Tennessee Titans linebackers coach Shane Bowen said that linebacker Harold Landry played too many snaps last season and that he needs to do a better job of watching Landry's snap count in 2020 in order to get the biggest bang for the buck. A second-round pick by the Titans in 2018, Landry has 13.5 sacks, 112 tackles (67 solo), one interception, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 31 games. He's been plenty productive, but it sounds like the Titans would prefer to use him less often, which could actually make him even more productive when he is on the field. The soon-to-be 24-year-old won't be on the IDP radar, but he's an outside linebacker to keep an eye on.

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James Conner Jun 3 12:40pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers running back James Conner isn't worried about how many carries he gets heading into the 2020 season. Head coach Mike Tomlin has historically leaned heavily on a single back during his time in Pittsburgh but there have been some questions as to whether he will do so in 2020 considering Conner's injury history. Conner told reporters that he expects the Steelers to run the ball better this upcoming season. "We need to establish our run game first and foremost," he told reporters. Conner will open the season as the team's No. 1 running back and he could wind up as a value in fantasy drafts if he's able to turn in a full 16-game season.

From RotoBaller

Kenny Clark Jun 3 12:30pm ET

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Myles Garrett Jun 3 12:10pm ET

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Phillip Lindsay Jun 3 11:50am ET

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Clayton Geathers Jun 2 11:13pm ET

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Timmy Jernigan Jun 2 9:43pm ET

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Jadeveon Clowney Jun 2 9:23pm ET

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Courtland Sutton Jun 2 7:23pm ET

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