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Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts

Source: Michael Hickey / Getty

INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.

When you have 8 lead changes and the NFL’s highest scoring Week 7 game, there’s going to plenty of highs and lows.

What was the good and bad from the Colts (3-4) losing to the Cleveland Browns (4-2) on Sunday, 39-38?

1. Hits: Shane Steichen The Play Caller

Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts Source:Getty

Shane Steichen The Play Caller: Who had the Colts pegged for more than 450 yards and 38 points against this vaunted Browns defense? Certainly not I. That was darn impressive by Shane Steichen, the play caller, to help the Colts have an incredibly productive offensive day against a historically good Cleveland D. You had more pre-snap motion, some tempo sprinkled in and achieved a good amount of offensive balance, while taking on quite the defensive challenge. Given the opponent, this might have been Steichen’s finest offensive hour with the Colts.

2. Hits: Jonathan Taylor

NFL: OCT 22 Browns at Colts Source:Getty

Jonathan Taylor: Yep, that was Jonathan Taylor looking like his old self. Taylor finished Sunday with 120 total yards (18 carries for 75 yards; 3 catches for 45 yards). Even with Zack Moss still getting 19 touches you saw the added pop Taylor brings both in the run and pass game. Taylor logged 10 more snaps than Moss on Sunday (45-to-35). This is the Taylor we are used to seeing and it took him 3 games to fully get back to that Pro Bowl-type of guy.

3. Hits: Kenny Moore

Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts Source:Getty

Kenny Moore: What a stat line for the Colts veteran cornerback on Sunday—10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 tackles for loss. Moore was a menace in blitzing, coming untouched for both of his sacks. This is the playmaking Moore we’ve seen so often in his career, but wasn’t there last year. This is what Moore is capable of and it’s coming in a contract year.

4. Misses: Shane Steichen The Game Manager

NFL: OCT 22 Browns at Colts Source:Getty

Shane Steichen The Game Manager: I’m not sure if we’ve ever had the same person have a spot in each of these categories. But we do here, as it serves as another reminder of the two very big game day hats Steichen wears—head coach and offensive play caller. Steichen was brilliant offensively on Sunday, but his late first half management was atrocious in costing the Colts anywhere from 3 to 10 points, depending how you want to look at it. The first confusing decision came on a 2nd-and -15 with the Colts in the shadow of their own end zone. Risking a holding penalty, a clock-stopping incompletion and/or a sack, it was the latter that got to Gardner Minshew with a forced fumble turning into 7 Cleveland points. On the next possession, with the Browns out of timeouts, the Colts risked another clock-stopping play on a 3rd and 13 screen call. An incompletion there gifted the Browns 40 seconds, which they definitely needed in getting a final field goal before half. This was an awful sequence in Steichen’s young game management career, costing the Colts precious points in a one-score game.

5. Misses: Defense Closing

Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts Source:Getty

Defense Closing: This piece focuses on the play, and not the officiating. And if we are talking the play, the Colts allowed PJ Walker to drive 80 yards for the game-winning touchdown (and 67 of those yards came before any questions on officiating). This is against a quarterback who was struggling mightily entering this drive, a reminder of why he wasn’t on an NFL roster in the month of September. Like losses to the Eagles and Commanders last year, the Colts have just not found that “slam the door shut play,” with the pass rush from the defensive line not being disruptive enough. The defense didn’t turn the ball over 3 times on Sunday, but it still had a chance against a third string quarterback, and couldn’t get it done.

6. Misses: Turnover Gardner Minshew

Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts Source:Getty

Turnover Gardner Minshew: I’m always torn on giving quarterbacks all the blame for fumbles off of sacks. But Minshew had two more strip/sacks on Sunday. Again, the pass protection should be better, but Minshew’s history of coughing up the ball in these situations has shown up very ugly the last two weeks. And Minshew did toss a 3rd quarter INT on a poor decision in targeting Michael Pittman Jr.. The Colts almost overcame these Minshew errors on Sunday but it’s playing with fire right now in how turnover-prone the QB has been these last two weeks.

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