INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1075TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.
The Colts defined a ‘team’ win on Saturday night in Arizona, beating the Cardinals, 22-16.
What was the good and bad from the Colts (9-6) wining their 8th game in the past 10 contests?
-George Odum Leads Next Man Effort: I feel somewhat bad signaling out just one guy who stepped up majorly on short notice, but Odum has earned the honor. Odum, who has fallen to 4th on the safety depth chart, finished Saturday night with 8 tackles (2nd most on the team) and a massive 4th quarter pass deflection on a potential chunk play for Arizona. It was similar to the ‘next man up’ effort Odum gave the Colts back in a massive 2019 primetime win vs. the Chiefs. Along with Odum, the likes of Isaiah Rodgers, E.J. Speed, Dezmon Patmon deserve a hat tip as well for stepping up on short notice.
-Coaching Staff: When you are dealing with the late-week (bad) news the Colts got, it puts your coaching staff in major scramble mode. While playing in primetime on Saturday gave the Colts a few extra hours to prepare so many inexperienced guys, the game plan that was practiced had to be revamped in many places. Another aspect that the coaches must get credit for is making sure every player in those position rooms buys into the ‘must prepare like a starter each and every week.’ Yes, Chris Ballard built this roster, but the coaches/players need proper credit for handling the chaos thrown at them in the final hours before kickoff.
-The Play From Carson Wentz: Saturday’s performance from Wentz did not fall in the ‘spectacular’ category. But the play he made for the eventual game-clinching touchdown certainly did. It was Wentz keeping a 3rd-and-9 alive, knowing that a touchdown would give the Colts the first two-score lead of the game, for either team. It was Wentz climbing the pocket, then sliding to his left, still keeping his eyes downfield, while taking a hit, to find Dezmon Patmon for the highlight reel play. Given the circumstances, it was probably the best play of the season by Wentz.
-Availability: We talked a ton about the Colts COVID situation here. It’s very possible that several of the Colts who missed Saturday’s game in Arizona will still be out vs. the Raiders. Then you factor in injuries to Eric Fisher (knee, toe, pec) and Jack Doyle (knee, ankle), and Sunday’s home finale might just test the Colts depth more than it was on Saturday, granted they will have much more time to prepare for it. Honestly, the Colts have been of the more ‘available’ teams here late in the season. But that’s getting tested majorly right now.
-Pass Rush: I don’t care who the opposing quarterback is, it’s really hard not to sack or hit a QB when that player drops back for 43 pass attempts. But the Colts found a way to do that against Kyler Murray on Saturday. Yes, Murray is elusive, but the Cardinals entered Saturday ranking 21st in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass attempt. Applying consistent (or any) pressure remains a concern for the Colts.