INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1075TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.
The Colts handled the elements and finished in primetime, beating the 49ers, 30-18, on Sunday Night Football
What was the good and bad from the Colts (3-4) earning a rare primetime win?
-Points Off Turnovers: If you want to boil this game down to one stat, look at how the Colts handled turnovers. Sudden change defense was on point, allowing just 3 points off two first-half turnovers by Indianapolis. San Francisco gave it away 4 times (one with less than two minutes to go), with the Colts scoring 3 touchdowns off each of those first 3 turnovers. That’s the game right there—the Colts not allowing their mistakes to snowball, and then cashing in on the extra opportunities that were created. Through 7 weeks, the Colts rank 2nd in the NFL in turnover margin (plus 9). It was another huge part of this win.
-Reich Adapting: Unlike against Baltimore a few weeks ago, Frank Reich decided to go for the win when having the ball. Reich explained that he regrets calling a late third-down run vs. Baltimore, which contributed to the Colts blowing that game. He told his team he wouldn’t make that mistake again, if such a scenario came about. Well, it did with less than 3 minutes to go, and the Colts facing a 3rd-and-10, leading by 5 points. Knowing what a two-score lead would mean, Reich called a fake wide receiver screen, telling Carson Wentz to take a shot down the field to Michael Pittman. And it was Pittman winning the 50/50 ball for the 29-yard touchdown to ice the game. This is a head coach and play caller learning from an earlier mistake and doing everything he can to put a team away.
-Michael Pittman’s Mentality: Whether it’s the play above, or the third-down conversion that came earlier in the drive, Michael Pittman plays the game of football like he’s the son of a 10-year NFL running back. Pittman’s physicality to the wide receiver position is not something you typically see. The Colts know what they have in Pittman and are tapping more and more into that. Pittman makes plays with the ball in his hands after the catch and we’ve seen more and more 50/50 plays from him in recent weeks. It’s just Year Two for Pittman, but this is a No. 1 wideout for Indy.
-Handling Boot-Leg Action: This consistent theme showed up again on Monday night. The Colts continue to have issues in defending boot-leg designs and play-action. With the Titans loving to use this look, you know the Colts are going to see this on Sunday, and with a much more dynamic running back in Derrick Henry. Discipline from defensive ends have to be better, along with route recognition once defenders realize that a pass play is happening.
-Carson Wentz Gets Away With A Few: It was not all bad from Carson Wentz on Sunday. But we did see the most questionable decision-making of Wentz in a Colts uniform. Most of that came early, with Wentz having around a handful of ‘turnover worthy’ plays, something he has largely avoided so far this season. Wentz played with fire, but got away with it. That’s not always going to be the case. Again, Wentz has not had too much of a problem with this in 2021, however it’s something that has showed up in past history. So, we will monitor it moving forward.