Considering the Colts: Season hangs in the balance in Jacksonville

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When the Colts look back on the season, this past week will definitely be the lowest point. The loss to Miami at Lucas Oil Stadium seems bad on the outside, but what were the real reasons the Colts lost this game? I think there are three reasons for the loss: the injury bug is real, turnovers, and below average kicking. 

The Colts were without Jacoby Brissett, which thrust Brian Hoyer into the starting role. Hoyer had a good showing in Pittsburgh, but was not on his game against Miami, which we will circle back to. Wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell were also out. Missing those two guys takes away two big playmakers that elevate the passing game. Don’t get me wrong, Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers are capable receivers, but they are not #1 receivers, or even #2 receivers for that matter. 

On the defensive side, the Colts are getting healthier but were still without starting cornerback Pierre Desir, who really impacts the opposing team’s passing game. The rotations of defensive backs that defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus uses are lacking the experience that Desir brings. The combination of all these injuries foreshadowed a tough Sunday for Indy.

Brian Hoyer could take most of the blame for this game due to his poor performance last Sunday. Hoyer threw three interceptions, but his first pick could be absolved by anyone who watched the game. Hoyer threw a ball straight to Eric Ebron in the end zone, who caught the ball over the cornerback, but as they both fell to the ground, the tight end had the ball stripped and it was ruled an interception. This cost the Colts at least seven points and set the tone for the rest of the game. Turnovers are not something the Colts are used to this season with Brissett at quarterback, and it shows that it is difficult to overcome turnovers to win a game.

Adam Vinatieri had a strong game up until the fourth quarter when he missed an extra point, which proved to be a pivotal moment in the contest. Instead of tying the game at 13, the missed kick put the Colts down one point. Miami drove and kicked a field goal to put them up by four, forcing Indianapolis to score a touchdown to win. Vinatieri’s job came into question again this week, but the reality is that there are no other kickers better than Vinatieri on the market right now. Colts fans are going to have endure Vinatieri the rest of the season and hope the season does not come down to a game-winning kick.

As for this week, the Colts have another divisional game against Jacksonville. Quarterback Nick Foles returns for the Jaguars after injuring his collarbone in Week 1. Jacksonville has been struggling recently, so having Foles back will boost this team and make this game very winnable against the Colts.

Jacoby Brissett returns for the Colts but looks like he will still be without Hilton and Campbell. At 5-4, Indianapolis needs to win this game to stay in the playoff hunt. The response this team will have coming off a bad loss will be important and the season could ride on it. 

The defense will come to play, but it will be up to the offense to control the ball and not commit turnovers that puts the defense back on the field. Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette will prove to be another tough test for the Colts’ front seven, but if Indy can stand tall against the running game, it will keep them in the game and give them a chance to win.

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