INDIANAPOLIS – Arguably, the Colts are about to play their most pressured regular season game of the Frank Reich era.
Life for the Colts in Week 17 of the 2020 season brings uncertain playoff hopes and inevitable questions about the future at quarterback.
What did we learn about the Colts on Wednesday?
- First, if you want information on Anthony Castonzo’s season-ending ankle injury and the options to replace that massive loss, head here.
- Wednesday morning did bring some good news to the Colts. Braden Smith was activated off the COVID-19 list, so he is available to practice and play this week. Smith went on the list last Friday, so his 5-day stay on it means he was a high close contact, and did not test positive for COVID-19 on his own.
- When the NFL calendar creeps towards January, you know the questions are coming. Frank Reich got one of those questions this week when appearing on The Peter King Podcast. Reich was asked the following two questions by King in regards to Philip Rivers quarterbacking in 2021. King asked: “Do you expect Philip Rivers to be a Colt next year? Do you think he still wants to play football?” And Reich’s answer was as followed: “Well, I’ll tell you what. Yeah, I mean, I don’t know that question. We are so focused on this year. But I do know this. If Philip Rivers wants to play football, he can play football. I think he has multiple years left in him. I think he’s playing some of the best football of his career right now. I mean, right now. He’s playing so good. And I love working with him. You know his contract situation. He’s got a 1-year contract, so there will be a time and place to talk about all that, and contracts, and all the other dynamics that go into being a 39-year-old quarterback. I know this, my love and respect for Philip Rivers has done nothing but increase working with him again, respecting what he’s done for our team and organization, the way he’s come in and handled himself as a leader. It’s been nothing but the very best.” Obviously, this will be a huge storyline once the Colts season does come to an end.
- Jonathan Taylor is 84 yards away from 1,000 for his rookie season. As Nick Sirianni pointed out on Tuesday, Taylor has had some runs of late as good as anybody in the NFL right now. Taylor has rushed for at least 74 yards in each of his last 5 games. It’s the longest streak for the franchise since Edgerrin James in 2005. The 5-game in-season streak of at least 74 yards for Taylor is the longest in the NFL this season.
- We know Gardner Minshew shredded the Colts in Week 1, going 19-of-20 for a 95 percent day. Since that season-opening performance, the Colts have been much, much better in disrupting the timing of opposing quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson at 82.6 percent and Aaron Rodgers at 71.1 percent are the only other QBs to be over 70 percent against the Colts this season.
- This stat shows you the overall improvement of the Colts pass defense this season (to go along with the elite playmaking from the Indy D in 2020). After allowing a respective 9 and 7 quarterbacks to complete at least 70 percent of their passes against them in 2018 and 2019 respectively, the Colts have allowed just 3 guys to do that this season.
- The 363 yards Philip Rivers had against the Jaguars in Week 1 is his second highest output of 2020. Of course, when the run game was struggling like it was in that season opener, more fell on the plate of Rivers to deliver.
- Jacksonville will start veteran QB-Mike Glennon (he has lost 11 of his last 12 starts) under center on Sunday. Impressive rookie running back James Robinson (ankle) is unlikely to play. And leading wideout D.J. Chark’s status is up in the air.
- The Colts are favored by 14 points on Sunday, which is the 7th biggest favorite in franchise history (biggest since 2009). In team history, they’ve been favored by at least 12 points on 21 different occasions. They are 21-0 in those games.
Wednesday Injury Report
-DNP: DL-Denico Autry (hip), TE-Trey Burton (rest), DE-Justin Houston (rest), QB-Philip Rivers (toe), DT-DeForest Buckner (ankle), OT-Anthony Castonzo (ankle), S-Khari Willis (concussion), CB-Rock Ya-Sin (concussion), OT-Will Hodlen (ankle)
Bowen Analysis: Pittman and Ya-Sin missed Wednesday’s practice, which is never a good sign for progressing through concussion protocol in time for Sunday. They still could practice Thursday and have enough time, but we’ll have to see. Ya-Sin never left Sunday’s game due to injury, so his symptoms must have developed after the game.
-Limited: WR-Michael Pittman (concussion), WR-Marcus Johnson (quad)
Bowen Analysis: It’s a good sign seeing Pittman participating on a Wednesday after leaving Sunday’s game. Johnson missed the Pittsburgh game.
-Full: LB-Jordan Glasgow (illness)
Bowen Analysis: Glasgow is off the COVID-19 list this week.