By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
---- — COLTS 27, 49ERS 7
Player of the Game
Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw
Just days ago, the seventh-year running back lost his grandmother. Bradshaw said he ran in her honor Sunday, and he did her memory proud. He carried 19 times for 95 yards and one touchdown, proving he won't simply roll over and cede the starting job to new acquisition Trent Richardson. On a day in which the Colts personified Chuck Pagano's "ground and pound" attitude, Bradshaw set the tone.
An offensive line missing starting center Samson Satele and playing its first full game without left guard Donald Thomas cleared the way for 179 rushing yards and helped the team dominate time of possession, holding the ball for 36:25. Quarterback Andrew Luck was efficient when he threw the ball, completing 18 of 27 attempts for 164 yards and scoring on a 6-yard run.
The Colts allowed 91 yards on San Francisco's third series and just 163 total in the rest of the game. Colin Kaepernick was harassed into a 13-for-27 performance with 150 yards and one interception. He rushed seven times for just 20 yards and was sacked three times. The defensive secondary limited the Niners' big plays, and the linebackers and linemen kept Kaepernick contained in the pocket. The result was the by far the team's best performance of the young season despite playing without two starters.
Special Teams: A-
The wind seemed to push Adam Vinatieri's 51-yard field goal try wide early in the second half, but he made two other attempts, and punter Pat McAfee was masterful. The player who wears the Colts' franchise tag averaged 44.5 yards on four punts and pinned San Francisco inside its own 20-yard line three times. The kickoff coverage team allowed an average of just seven yards on three returns, and Indianapolis dominated field position.