Indianapolis Colts prove tougher than 49ers in romp


The Indianapolis Colts whipped the San Francisco 49ers up front on Sunday. It is a surprising thing to write, just like it was surprising to watch. The Colts were far tougher than the 49ers.

If you didn't realize that every NFL season is a different animal, welcome to 2013.

The Colts' defense was sensational in the team's 27-7 victory. But it also showed that the 49ers' offense doesn't just have a problem when playing in Seattle. Colin Kaepernick had just 86 yards passing midway through the fourth quarter. He didn't have any open receivers, and there were six separate 49ers drives that didn't result in a first down.

With Aldon Smith out indefinitely, this 49ers team is reeling. Here's what else we learned:

1. Trent Richardson had just 35 yards on 13 carries in his first game as a Colt, including a touchdown. But Ahmad Bradshaw looked fantastic rushing for 95 yards. Bradshaw has quietly improved each week this season and was looking like his old hard-charging self Sunday. The performance was reminiscent of when Bradshaw and the New York Giants steamrolled the 49ers in San Francisco last year.

Thursday, Dec. 12, 8 p.m. ET
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2. San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis left with a groin injury and did not return. Tight end Vernon Davis was inactive. This team is missing a lot of talent.

3. Kaepernick was bottled up as a runner, finishing with just 20 yards. He also was uncharacteristically inaccurate as a passer. This is truly the first slump of his career.

4. The book is out on the 49ers' receiver group. They have to prove that they can beat man coverage.

5. Remember when Robert Mathis wasn't supposed to fit in Chuck Pagano's defense? He has 4.5 sacks on the season, and made a huge difference Sunday.

6. Andrew Luck didn't get a lot of help from his defense and running game last year. On Sunday, he had a nondescript game and won convincingly on the road against a quality team. That's a great sign for the Colts' chances this season.

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