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INDIANAPOLIS Just past the mid-way point of the 2021 season, the Colts are also at their first break, having a weekend off after playing on Thursday Night Football.

The Colts are 4-5, needing to string wins together, along with getting some help, in order to sneak into the postseason.

What are some grades for the Colts as they are just past the mid-way point of the season?


Pass Offense: C+

Evaluation: Given the production of the run game, you would like to see more from the passing offense. The Colts rank 18th in passing yards per game (233.7) and 13th in passing yards per play (6.90). Carson Wentz has protected the ball well through the air, but the situational offense has been an issue. Now, the low-ish grade isn’t solely on Wentz. The pass catchers, sans Michael Pittman, have underperformed (again). And the pass protection hasn’t been as clean as you’d expect. Pittman continues to show star potential though.


Rush Offense: A-

Evaluation: Before Thursday night, I would have had this game in the B-range due to the sluggish start to this season on the ground, coupled with not using Jonathan Taylor enough. First, Taylor is a stud. He’s on any short list of the NFL’s elite backs. With the starting offensive line now having played back-to-back games together, the run game has an opportunity to take off a bit in the second half of the season (pending the injury to Braden Smith). The Colts rank 2nd in the NFL at 5.1 yards per carry. One mystery this season has been the usage/effectiveness of Nyheim Hines. Again, this is something that changed against the Jets. It’ll be interesting to see if that is the Hines we see in the second half or if it’s the scaled back version we saw from Weeks 2-8.


Pass Defense: D-

Evaluation: Stop me if you heard this before: The Colts cannot disrupt timing of opposing passing offenses, particularly against average-to-above average quarterbacks. With easily the worst pressure rate of any team in the NFL, the resource-filled defensive line with the Colts has been way too quiet. On the back end, Xavier Rhodes looks to be walking up the final few holes of his NFL career. Rock Ya-Sin has actually been decent, but that’s about it for the bright spots in this part of the game. The Colts rank 27th in allowing 7.60 yards per pass play. Too many resources are invested in this part of the game for the Colts to be failing so bad.


Rush Defense: B+

Evaluation: The one constant in the Matt Eberflus era continues to be there. Led by Grover Stewart and DeForest Buckner in the middle, the Colts are allowing 4.01 yards per carry (8th in the NFL). What the Colts did against Derrick in two games (56 carries for 181 yards, 3.2 yards per carry) had me thinking this grade might be an ‘A.’ But of the league’s top 14 rushers, Henry is the only running back they’ve faced, so the competition hasn’t been too consistent.


Special Teams: B-

Evaluation: The Colts have been pretty average in all facets of special teams this year. They’ve yet to break a big return, not cracking the top-10 of either return unit. The field goal rate, with Rodrigo Blankenship and Michael Badgley, ranks 17th in the NFL. On the flip side of things, the Colts haven’t allowed anything too big in the coverage game.


Overall Grade: C-

Evaluation: The Colts have played the 17th hardest schedule in the NFL so far and sit at 4-5. Before the season started, I had the Colts at 5-4 at this point. But the major issue with this current situation is the fact that the Colts have with zero wins over playoff teams. They’ve been swept by the Titans and need some definite help to get back into realistic playoff consideration. For a team that had AFC South aspirations/making a run in January atop their goal list entering the season, it’s disappointing to see them in a position where those possibilities have little margin for error over the final two months. Jim Irsay extended Chris Ballard and Frank Reich before the start of this season believing in consistent playoff runs and a team back atop the AFC South. Instead, the chatter right now is explaining all the help the Colts need to get back into playoff consideration and bemoaning the fact that this team is on a current path of losing their first-round pick along with missing the postseason.