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Colts fans should be forgiven for getting a little ahe
03.04.2019, 04:32
Beitrag: #1
Colts fans should be forgiven for getting a little ahe
ad of themselves. It has been quite sometime that the team has gone on a meaningful winning streak https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Henry-Anderson-Jersey , since its quarterback has been so well protected, and since that same quarterback had put on an MVP-level performance that started to generate national attention. There has been a whole lot of positive in Indianapolis over the last five weeks.Coming into the game, we noted that the two franchises had opposite trajectories. Jacksonville has been crushed by disappointment this season, after making it to the AFC Championship game earlier in the year. The wheels all started coming off earlier in the week, or so it seemed, after they fired their offensive coordinator, demoted their starting quarterback, placed their biggest free agent investment on injured reserve, and saw their biggest offensive weapon lose an appeal for a one-game suspension after fighting against the Bills.None of that mattered on Sunday. In the Week 10 home meeting against Jacksonville, Indianapolis put on a devastating offensive show in the first half that culminated in 29 points. It turned out that this was all the team needed to win the game, but the Colts were shutout in the second half and required a late forced fumble to escape without overtime. Throw in yesterday’s meeting and Frank Reich and Indianapolis has gone six straight quarters without scoring against the Jaguars.This kind of performance cannot become an ongoing characteristic. Reich and his staff had the luxury of entering the 2018 season as relative unknowns. New systems are often successful early because opposing coaches don’t have a reliable way to game plan. This advantage goes away quickly, especially in the division where there are two meetings a year.Whatever Jacksonville did to answer Reich’s offense at half time in Week 10 was effective. It has continued to be effective. Indianapolis didn’t have an answer to those changes at kickoff on Sunday and they exited the locker room after half time without answers. This has to change.It’s true, this Colts offense is tougher to face because it is “multiple.” Reich isn’t afraid to use a lot of weapons or targets in a variety of ways. However, the offense does have clear tendencies — some of them are to a fault. Over the last couple of weeks, those tendencies have been easy to predict. If Colts fans have a pretty good idea what the offense is going to do and the fan base can tell you it is one of a few options, NFL defenses know that too.Don’t get me wrong Joe Haeg Jersey , the Colts have still met or exceeded any reasonable expectations for the team to this point in the season. In fact, there are games earlier in the season that would have or possibly should have gone the other way. Injuries early in the year may have had an impact on outcomes and put Indianapolis in a hole that it will struggle to fight its way out of. All things considered, sitting at 6-6 after a 1-5 start is still good. If you want to split the season into pieces, Indianapolis went 1-5 to start the season losing some close games. Since then the team is 5-1 and had only one awful performance. If Indianapolis started 5-1 and had only one dud performance, fans would still feel pretty good.Let’s revisit the keys to the game and see how the Colts failed to capitalize in a must-win road divisional game.WIN UP FRONTThis didn’t happen. Luck took three official sacks, another that was called off due to a defensive penalty, and took nine hits. He was harassed in the pocket, had to step up and scramble regularly, and was never able to get into any kind of rhythm. The offensive line wasn’t all to blame. Some of the shots he took were the result of excellent coverage and holding the ball for too long. Still, since Ryan Kelly has gone down with an injury, things have been different. Losing Jack Doyle didn’t help either. It’s incredible how people forget the little things players do until they are gone. TORMENT KESSLERThe defense did a reasonable job of making life difficult for Cody Kessler. 3 sacks and 7 quarterback hits tell part of the story but his 5 runs were also due to collapsing pockets. All 3 sacks, another hit, and two forced fumbles were credited to defensive tackle Denico Autry but numerous pass rushers were able to impact plays. The Jaguars averaged under 3 yards per carry, the defense allowed only six points, and Kessler threw for only 150 yards.MAINTAIN BALANCE ON OFFENSEThis key was an abject failure. At no time in the game were the Colts in a pass only situation. While it is true that the running game had its share of struggles, the play-calling left a lot to be desired. The Colts threw the ball 52 times to only 16 runs. Against the Jaguars. In a six point game.Perhaps the most effective running back on the roster against this style of defense could have been Jordan Wilkins. He has the most size John Simon Color Rush Jersey , has a knack for getting the most out of small windows, and doesn’t go down at first contact on every play. I get that he has had a couple of key fumbles and maybe he is on the dog house, but if Mack isn’t the answer and Hines can’t get anything going, maybe giving Wilkins a few carries is a better option than becoming one-dimensional altogether.WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLEThe Colts lost the turnover battle by throwing an interception and losing a fumble. On the first drive of the game, Indianapolis forced a fumble and recovered it in Jacksonville territory. All three of the offense’s fourth down attempts failed. All of these failures were within field range, two were in the red zone.The Colts lost 0 - 6.CATCH THE DAMN BALLWhile Colts receivers were not perfect for the day, most of the dropped passes had as much to do with contested or off-target throws than clear failures to make a clean catch. T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron led the way in targets and were unable to come down with the ball on 5 and 6 of those targets, respectively. Dontrelle Inman caught 2 passes on 6 targets and Ryan Grant didn’t score a reception in his 2 targets. He unofficially caught 2 passes that were called off due to penalties. One was an offensive pass interference and the other who a stupid illegal shift call. Win or go home. The Indianapolis Colts may not be completely eliminated from playoff contention with a loss at home against the Dallas Cowboys but it should approach the game that way. The margin for error has disappeared. The last few games will determine everything and the toughest game during the final stretch, at least on paper, is against a hot Cowboys team that has taken off since it pilfered the Oakland Raiders in the Amari Cooper trade.While the teams play in different conferences and only meet every four years, outside of preseason, there will be a great deal of familiarity on both sides of the ball. Dallas is in the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles. Frank Reich’s offensive style is similar to Doug Pederson’s and the Cowboys have to face that offense twice a year. Indianapolis Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus brings a lot to the table. The Cowboys will be looking at a defense that is eerily similar to the one they practice against throughout the week — as will the Colts. Reich and Eberflus will both be familiar with Dallas’ offense as well.In a battle of coaching wits and likely few surprises, which team will prevail? The following keys could determine the outcome.PESTER PRESCOTTNo team has been more consistently recognized for its line play over the last four or five years than the Cowboys. Fortunate for the Colts, the unit is having an off year. Dallas has allowed 48 sacks this season, which is the second worst total in the NFL behind only the Houston Texans. The Colts? Second best in the NFL with only 16 sacks allowed.Matt Eberflus did a masterful job of keeping Deshaun Watson uncomfortable last week in Houston. He forced Watson to stay in the pocket, drew up stifling zone coverage https://www.coltsfanshop.com/Chester-Rogers-Jersey , and allowed the speed of his defense to take advantage. This week will require more of the same. If Dak Prescott is trapped in the pocket, good things will happen. Drives will end. The field position battle will turn in Indy’s favor. ENCUMBER ELLIOTTEzekiel Elliott is the most talented running back the Colts have faced all season. He has the ability to take over a football game and can turn a small crease into a big play. He leads the league in rushing yards.Can Anthony Walker and Darius Leonard use their speed to eliminate him from the game plan? Can the Colts offense establish a lead and force Dallas to throw the ball? This game will be a big test for Indy’s defense and will go a long way in legitimizing this season’s success against opponents on the ground. How much of it is due to a relatively weak slate of rushing opponents?We are all about to find out. If Elliott is unable to get things going, Prescott could be a sitting duck.LEAN ON LUCKWhile the Colts are far more successful in games where they are able to maintain offensive balance, Andrew Luck is the heartbeat. If there is one player who turns the tide in favor of the Colts in any game it has to be Luck.He is having an incredible season and has proven to the world that he can make every throw. He has been given the time to scan the field, allow plays to develop, and the space to step up into the pocket to connect with his targets on methodical, rhythmic drives that tire out opposing defenses.His command of the offense can determine today’s outcome. Dak Prescott has no interest in getting into a shootout with Luck. COMPLETE THE CATCHI mentioned margin for error. It is very small. Games are determined based upon the outcome of only a handful of plays. The Colts cannot afford to throw away opportunities.A young group of pass catchers has a nasty habit of trying to run before they secure the ball. They have a habit of tipping a ball in the air instead of knocking it down. Sometimes they have a habit of letting the ball get into their chest or bounce off of their hands. This can’t happen down the stretch.If Indianapolis can reduce or eliminate unforced errors, it can force the Cowboys to do the same. Mistakes happen in every football game and, today, the Colts need to be sure that they allow the bulk of them to occur on the other sideline. Securing catchable passes will go a long way toward reaching that goal.MAKE THE REICH CALLSIt has been a long time that Colts fans have been able to look back at a season and debate whether aggressive decisions at key moments in games were the right choice. The franchise has featured a relatively conservative head coach since at least the late 90s. This year, the team has taken on an entirely different attitude. Frank Reich has been aggressive almost to a fault. Some of the time, this has worked out in his favor. Other times, it has resulted in disaster. Reich is nearly through his first season as an NFL head coach and needs to finish the season on a high note. What has he learned from the calls he’s made to this point? How will they impact his play-calling in difficult situations today? If it comes down to a tough decision, will he make the Reich one?The answer to that question could easily be the difference between a playoff berth or an early off-season.
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