INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1075TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.
In their ‘best’ win of the season, the Colts saw their passing offense carry the load, with the defense posing a few more questions.
What was the good and bad from the Colts (3-2-1) winning their first divisional game of the season?
-Frank Reich’s Plan Leads To Pass Protection Success: Following the Week 2 shutout loss to the Jaguars, and seeing how his offensive line was playing in the subsequent games, Frank Reich knew he must make some substantial changes. That came with personnel switches up front, and then a game plan on Sunday of using a ton of no-huddle. It was the tempo which set the early tone, got the Colts into a needed offensive rhythm and then alleviated some of the pass rush stress. It was Reich’s plan which put the Colts offensive line into a position to succeed. And it was a remarkable protection performance of Matt Ryan not being sacked in 58 pass attempts.
-Matt Ryan’s Command: When you employ the amount of no huddle the Colts did, you need a quarterback in full control at the line of scrimmage. Matt Ryan did that beautifully on Sunday. Ryan stayed far, far away from the turnover-plays he had been committing too often. He found great success in attacking blitzes. And then on the game’s most important drive, Ryan made three big-time throws for a trio of third-down conversions. This time, the Colts had a 4th quarter comeback led by Ryan, not because he helped put them in such a situation with his turnover-ridden play.
-Important Sacks: This was not a good defensive performance by the Colts. But they did come up with some critical sacks to halt drives. The most obvious was DeForest Buckner knocking the Jaguars out of field goal range on a 3rd down on Jacksonville’s opening drive with a 14-yard loss via sack. I’d circle one in the second quarter as even more important. With the Colts down 14-3 mid-way through the second quarter, the Jaguars had a 3rd-and-2. Tyquan Lewis bull rushed from the interior to take down Lawrence and force the three-and-out. It was such a needed play at time where the boo birds were rising inside of Lucas Oil Stadium. From there, the Colts scored 10 straight points to end the half. Game on from there.
-Run Defense: Ugh, allowing 7.4 yards per carry is a really gross number to look at, especially for one of the league’s best run defenses. The Colts did have 9 tackles for loss on Sunday, but gave up way too many big, big runs. Issues were there mostly in gap discipline and runs reaching the second and third levels. From Derrick Henry a few weeks back, to a variety of Jaguars runners on Sunday, we’ve seen some recent leakage in a normal given for the Colts. This bears monitoring.
-Brandon Facyson: It is time for Gus Bradley to bench a player he is clearly fond of. Brandon Facyson has had issues in coverage, against the run and with penalties this season. For a defense lacking the ability to get hands on balls, i.e. create more turnover opportunities, a player like Isaiah Rodgers needs to be the full-time 3rd cornerback. After not playing a single defensive snap in Week 1 or Week 2, Rodgers has slowly started to play more than Facyson (Rodgers outsnapped Facyson 32 to 24 on Sunday). Rodgers needs to get a full-time chance to join Stephon Gilmore and Kenny Moore in the 3-corner nickel package.
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