INDIANAPOLIS – The extra 17th game on the NFL schedule this season has quite the matchup for the Indianapolis Colts.
It’s the familiar face of Tom Brady again on the visiting sideline this weekend, with the Bucs (7-3) coming to town.
What did we learn from the Colts on Wednesday?
- Back in the 2020 offseason, there were some rumblings that the Colts and Tom Brady had mutual interest in teaming up. Well, the Colts signed Philip Rivers and Brady went to Tampa Bay. On Wednesday, Frank Reich shared some thoughts on evaluating Brady during that search for the next quarterback. “I don’t know how serious that every really got,” Reich said of Brady and the Colts linking up. “Obviously, I love Philip and was very interested in Philip from the start. I’m not sure anyone thought that was really serious for either party. I always thought that he’s the best ever. He’s incredible. I just marvel at his arm strength at 44 years old, as much as anything. It boggles my mind. Still playing at a high level and obviously a ton of respect….I don’t see any difference. I remember a couple of years ago looking at his tape when he was free, and not that it ever got to any point serious, but I looked at his tape. And I see the same guy. He hasn’t lost any arm strength, can do all the same things, still the same great competitor.”
- The pass rush plan is certainly different this week for the Colts in going from Josh Allen to Tom Brady. DeForest Buckner knows the massive importance when it comes to creating interior pressure this week. “You got to get (Brady) off his spot,” Buckner said on Wednesday. Brady is the least sacked quarterback of any this season, with Tampa Bay having a heathy starting offensive line for every single game. The Bucs could be down starting guard Ali Marpet (oblique) on Sunday though, which would be music to the ears of Buckner, and the Colts interior.
- For numerous reasons, it’s foolish to think people would not have Jonathan Taylor on an MVP ballot right now. With 100 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown on Sunday, Taylor would set an NFL record with 9 straight games accomplishing such a feat. Given the health of the Bucs front 7 and the reputation of Tampa defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, this might be the toughest challenge Taylor will have all season. Frank Reich was adamant on Wednesday that the Colts will likely have to find proper balance in the run/pass game in order to consistently move the ball vs. the stingy Bucs defense.
- I might be in the minority, but I love when teams don an alternate/throwback jersey at some point during the season. The Colts will do that on Sunday, wearing jerseys that resemble what the team wore back in 1956. It’s not a drastic change in look, but I like seeing a twist for a game each year. Here’s a look at the jerseys the Colts will wear on Sunday.
- As the national attention begins to grow for the Colts, it’s certainly hit Jonathan Taylor. It is Taylor who is the top Pro Bowl fan vote getter, at any position in the entire NFL, with the process underway. Fan voting is one-third of the process and will run through December 16th. Players and coaches will vote on December 17th, with each of those parties making up a third apiece. Pro Bowl rosters will be announced on December 20th. The 2022 Pro Bowl will take place on February 6th in Las Vegas.
- Robert Mathis will be inducted into the Colts Ring of Honor on Sunday. It’s fitting Mathis goes on the day the Colts are playing against Tom Brady. Mathis played his entire career in Indianapolis, finishing his 14 seasons with 123.0 sacks and 54 forced fumbles.
- Sunday will be Tom Brady’s 15th regular season meeting against the Colts. Assuming the 44-year-old Brady isn’t playing into his 50s, this will likely be his final time playing in Indianapolis. Brady is 11-3 all-time against the Colts (in the regular season). His teams have won 6 in a row vs. the Colts, scoring at least 31 points in all of those contests.
- Probably the Colts’ most impressive stat this season has been the turnover margin, and what they’ve done with their takeaways. The Colts are tops in the NFL with a plus 15 turnover margin, which is 5 better than any other NFL team. They’ve scored an eye-popping 98 points off their 25 takeaways, which is 24 more points than any other NFL team.
- It could be another week of absence for Khari Willis (calf). Willis did not practice on Wednesday. Willis is eligible to come off injured reserve this week after missing the last three games.
- The Colts are managing the aggravation of Quenton Nelson’s injured ankle this week. Nelson did not practice on Wednesday. The team will have a walk-through on Thanksgiving before Friday’s final practice of the week.
- The Colts are on their normal practice schedule this week (Wednesday-Friday), but will have a walk-through on Thanksgiving Thursday. They’ll have a Saturday walk-through before taking on the Bucs this Sunday’s 1:00 PM kickoff.