INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1075TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.
In what Jim Irsay called one of the franchise’s best home wins ever, the Colts stayed atop the AFC South with a 34-31 comeback win in overtime.
What was the good and bad from the Colts (7-3) sweeping the NFC North this season?
-Jacoby Brissett’s Spark: The stat book will show Jacoby Brissett had 2 carries for 7 yards on Sunday, playing 7 total snaps. That doesn’t do him justice for how he helped the Colts finally find some efficiency in short-yardage. Jim Irsay pointed it out after the game that Brissett has given this offense a ‘spark’ recently. The Owner is right. Frank Reich’s frustration with the Colts issues in short-yardage has forced him into inserting the Brissett package, which is open to the entire playbook. We know sustaining drives was a huge factor in the Colts coming back on Sunday and Brissett did his part there.
-Playmaking Of Julian Blackmon: As we’ve said before, the fact that Julian Blackmon is playing/starting in his rookie season is a feat in itself. Not to mention playing every snap. Not to mention giving this team Darius Leonard-type playmaking. Blackmon has built the best-looking Defensive Rookie of the Year resume in the NFL. His forced fumble in overtime was incredible. He recognized the screen, split a double team and yet was still in position to not just make the tackle but also get his hand on the ball for the game-changing strip. Blackmon = stud.
-No Panic: We’’ll get to the game management below, but Frank Reich deserves credit for how he handled that comeback in the third quarter. Down 14 points at halftime, the Colts offense stuck with a run-heavy approach, knowing they still had the opportunity to attack Green Bay’s biggest defensive weakness. Jonathan Taylor got going in the 3rd quarter and the Colts had the ball for more than 11 minutes in that period, cutting the deficit from 14 to 3 points. Of course, the defense forcing consecutive three-and-outs in the 3rd allowed for the offense to still stay in phase.
-Late Game Management: That was an abomination of a way to close out a victory. From about 1,000 penalties being called on the Colts aiding the Packers needing to stop the clock, the Indy offense did its part too with some very confusing play calling, with multiple incompletions also stopping the clock. Frank Reich took full blame and called it ‘elementary 101’ in the ineptness that the Colts had trying to finish that game. It looked like a team that hadn’t been involved in hardly any truly close, late-game pressure situations this season. Go back and watch those holding penalties. Did you see the Colts complaining much after them? Nope. It was truly poor technique that led to the 6 holding penalties on the final offensive drive in regulation.
-Offensive Tackle Depth: If you are a Colts fans, add the health of the starting offensive line to your prayer list this Thanksgiving season. With RT-Braden Smith (thumb) a surprise inactive on game day, the biggest mistake from Chris Ballard this past offseason was seen. Le’Raven Clark had a holding penalty on the first play of the game and was benched twice. Chaz Green entered and was better (but that’s not saying a whole lot). For a second straight season, the Colts have been gifted incredible offensive line health. When the depth has been needed, it hasn’t gone well. They again need to avoid the injury bug down the stretch.