INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1075TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.
In building yet another double-digit lead, before seeing it evaporate, the Colts had another mixed bag of takeaways in a loss.
What was the good and bad from the Colts (6-6) losing their first game since Halloween?
-Second-Quarter Offense: It took until the 13-minute mark of the second quarter before the Colts got their initial first down in Sunday’s game. That snowballed into a really impressive 15 minutes of football for the Indy offense. They scored 3 touchdowns, moving the ball on those drives 75, 66 and 75 yards. Carson Wentz was really good in this quarter, with the highlight being a beautiful 62-yard TD ball in stride to Ashton Dulin. Capped by an impressive 14-play TD drive just before half and that second quarter was probably the best we’ve seen Wentz play with the Colts.
-Darius Leonard, DeForest Buckner: A couple of defenders deserve some mention from Sunday. Despite injuring his knee in the first half, DeForest Buckner remained disruptive with some really important interior rushes, resulting in a sack of Tom Brady and an important red-zone pass defection. Darius Leonard had another incredible punch out of a ball, got his own hands on a red-zone pass and led the Colts with 15 tackles. The Colts need their two best defenders to continue to play at this level in pushing towards that playoff spot.
-Jack Doyle: Sunday was the best performance of the season for Jack Doyle. The Indy native caught 6 balls, on 7 targets, for 81 yards and a touchdown. You saw a little bit more big-play playmaking from Doyle. In this 9th NFL season for him, Doyle has had several super quiet games in the receiving department. But he’s been targeted 17 times in the last three weeks, which is a big uptick from other games this season. On a day in which the Colts struggled to find consistency in targeting Michael Pittman and Zach Pascal, a reliable Doyle came in handy.
-Costly Turnovers: Anytime you turn the ball over 5 times against Tom Brady, your chances of winning are miniscule. But the Colts turnovers on Sunday were particularly costly. They gave up a strip/sack on a drive that had them in position to push their third-quarter lead to three scores. They muffed a punt inside their own 20-yard line which handed Tampa Bay 3 points in the final quarter. And a first-half fumble gave the Bucs a needed short field that led to their first touchdown of the game. This is the exact opposite of the turnover margin the Colts have dominated for so much of this season.
-Turning Away From Your Best Player: Whether in article or podcast form, we’ve driven the point home that turning away from Jonathan Taylor for as long as the Colts did on Sunday was a mistake. During a 26-minute stretch on Sunday, Taylor touched the ball just two times. What is odd about this is the Colts’ big second quarter output began after Taylor started a drive with 2 touches for 13 yards. Yet, despite Taylor and the run game finding more production in that second quarter, his next carry didn’t come until the fourth quarter, on a drive when his 8 carries for 58 yards resulted in a TD. Taylor is too talented and this offense doesn’t have enough dynamic playmakers for him to go such a long stretch without touching it more.
-Zach Pascal: For a player defined by his reliability, Pascal had one of the worst games of his career on Sunday. He had a fumble and at least a couple of drops. Pascal finished the day with 2 catches on 7 targets. The Colts had Pascal on the field for 95 percent of the offensive snaps. That’s a ton. It’s his dependability that has earned him such responsibility. But Pascal didn’t give the Colts anywhere near enough of that against Tampa.