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After falling to Tampa Bay, all playoff hopes are virtually gone. The only hope is to win out and get a lot of help from other teams. The unfortunate thing for the Colts is that they face a top-tier NFC team in the New Orleans Saints. At the Superdome. On Monday Night.
I would like to think the Colts can pull off another miraculous win like they did against the Chiefs earlier in the season, but the injuries have become too much for Indianapolis to overcome. Wide receiver Parris Campbell was put on injured reserve one week after making his return from hand surgery. Kicker Adam Vinatieri was put on injured reserve this week as well to have knee surgery.
What’s interesting to me is why the Colts and Vinatieri waited so long to decide that Vinatieri should have surgery. There were rumblings of a potential injury to Vinatieri all season long. Rookie kicker Chase McLaughlan had been bouncing around the league all season long before he landed with Colts and performed well with Vinatieri not able to suit up last week.
Vinatieri is thinking about returning for another season, which leaves the Colts with a decision to make. Keep Vinatieri and allow him to attempt a “comeback revenge” season or release him and finally move on. If the Colts want to compete next year and turn some of those close losses into wins, I think Vinatieri should be released and look for a long-time solution.
As for the receiving corps, the Colts have lost T.Y. Hilton for several weeks due to a calf injury, Parris Campbell for many weeks and now the rest of the season due to a hamstring and hand injury and now a fractured foot. Devin Funchess was also lost for the season after the first game of the season.
The injuries and lack of depth of the receiver position led to lack of big plays that lead to wins. I think Chris Ballard and Frank Reich will try to address the receiver issue through free agency and the draft. A.J. Green will be a free agent this upcoming offseason. Despite his injuries, I think Green would fit nicely in the offense and give Brissett a big target that he can go to in key situations. As far as the wide receiver depth in the draft, LSU product Justin Jefferson or Clemson standout Tee Higgins would be great additions to the corps. LSU and Clemson have a history of producing great wideouts that succeed in the NFL, and I would expect nothing else from either one of those players.
One thing anyone can count on is that the Colts will not throw in the towel the rest of the season. Hilton is working to get back on the field and help the team where he can. Reich will have his guys to play, but playing in New Orleans is not an easy task at all. The Colts will have to play a perfect game on all three facets of the game if they want to win on Monday.
The list for recruiting is short and selective for first-year head volleyball coach Lindsey Froehlich. The list is small on purpose for the sake of getting players that fit into Coach Froehlich and assistant coach Morgan Salow’s system, but Rachel Crumrin flipped the script and recruited IUPUI instead. Still, one element was flipped in this role reversal. Crumrin did not want to come to IUPUI and join the women’s volleyball team as a player but as a manager.
Rachel Crumrin is from Marshall, Illinois which is about 17 miles from Terre Haute, Indiana directly across the state border line and an hour and a half from IUPUI. Crumrin attended Marshall High School and played volleyball from junior high through high school as well as participating in track and field. Between her junior and senior years of high school, Rachel reached out to Coach Froehlich while she was still the assistant coach, and talked to Froehlich about being the manager for the team.
After finishing high school, Crumrin attended Lincoln Trail College, which is a junior college just 27 miles from her hometown, and played volleyball for a year before transferring to IUPUI. However, she did stay in contact with Coach Froehlich still planning the jump to Indianapolis.
“It’s kind of a funny story,” said Crumrin, who is a sophomore, when asked about why she picked IUPUI to further her education. She originally wanted to be a dental hygienist in which IUPUI is one of the few schools to offer a bachelor’s degree for that profession, but she switched to a tourism, convention, and event management major.
“I just fell in love with it,” said Crumrin. “There’s so much to do in the city.” Her love for the city is what drew her to IUPUI as well as the sport that she could not leave behind.
Volleyball was a big part of Rachel’s life and was not ready to let it go. “I wasn’t ready to give up volleyball yet,” explained Crumrin. She wanted to stay involved in volleyball so she came on as part of Froehlich’s first coaching staff. Crumrin was immediately put to work handling many responsibilities including helping with statistics in practice and games, getting things to the bus for road trips, handling food orders for players and coaches, and running errands for whatever must be done.
Froehlich had high praise for Crumrin saying, “We’re excited about her and what she’s able to do. She does everything she’s asked and even asks for more responsibilities. She’s proactive and very respectful.” Froehlich mentioned that Rachel travels with the team on the road and fulfills her role just like being at home. “We haven’t had a manager travel with us in a long time,” said Froehlich.
“She’s one of the sweetest human beings like I’ve ever met, said Coach Salow. “She does her job so well that I don’t notice she’s there. She’s always on point.” The coaching staff knows they can trust Rachel with any task and call upon her often.
Crumrin’s relationship with the coaches is not the only relationship that matters to her. She acknowledges that she is the “middle man” between the players and the coaches and sees both perspectives. Senior Haley Hoffman mentioned, “She always has energy no matter what and always has a smile on her face. She is really passionate about the game.”
Being one of the team’s biggest fans, Crumrin still feels the urge to get back on the court. “The part of me will always want to play with them,” said Crumrin. She hopes to potentially get back to playing next semester during intermural play at IUPUI, but admittedly says she is not seeking to make the IUPUI roster as player next season.
“Being their little cheerleader, I’m rooting for all of them. There is not as much stress involved on my part, but I’m still invested and want to see them win and do good,” said Crumrin. There is not denying Crumrin’s passion for the game of volleyball and for this team, and it shows in her relationship with the entire team and how she goes about her role as manager.
When Rachel is not serving in her role, she is either watching Netflix, serving in the Professional Convention Management Association student organization, or one can catch her volunteering for big events around Indianapolis. She is currently signed up to volunteer at the FFA Convention held downtown. She is also helping with the Monumental Marathon that happens every November.
Word on the street is that the Colts’ season is over. I hate counting teams out especially if they have a chance to pull something out and make the playoffs, but the situation the Colts are in right now does not show much promise.
After losing two straight division games to Houston and Tennessee, Indianapolis dropped to third place in the division, but they remain in the playoff hunt with a 6-6 record. In the last four games this season, the Colts face three NFC opponents and two of those games are on the road at Tampa Bay and at New Orleans on Monday Night Football.
Tampa Bay is up this weekend. The Buccaneers are one of the most inconsistent teams in the league. No one knows whether quarterback Jameis Winston will throw another interception or if we will complete a pass for a big gain or a touchdown. No one knows if Tampa Bay’s star wide receiver Mike Evans will show up for the game and assert himself in the offense.
The Colts have an opportunity to right the ship this week and grab a win, but do they have the mental toughness to pick themselves up despite all the injuries and negativity surrounding them right now?
Losing players like T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell, Devin Funchess, Eric Ebron, and Marlon Mack for a couple weeks or the entire season has definitely hurt the Colts offense, who was poised to be one of the best offenses in the league when Andrew Luck was still on the roster. Chris Ballard and Frank Reich do not like to make excuses, but I think they have a great argument to make.
The national media and local media have raised the question about the Colts keeping Jacoby Brissett long term.
Folks, Brissett is not Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck or a once-in-a-generational talent, but he is a good quarterback. Not to mention that Brissett was thrust into the starting role two weeks before the season. Did we forget about that? Or did we forget about that amazing Houdini act he put on Von Miller earlier this season? This season cannot reflect what the Colts are in store for the next couple of years.
The offensive line is still good, and the receivers will be back healthy next season. I would admit that the front office should take that large salary cap and invest in a big-time receiver if possible.
I think good times are ahead for the Colts. It’s just not happening when we expected it to happen.
Houston was finally able to get over the hump and beat the Colts in Houston. Even though the Texans have taken control of the division, hope is not all lost for the Colts. At 6-5, the playoffs are still in play for this Indianapolis Colts team. This loss does make it that much harder to claim a playoff birth though.
So what happened? How did the Colts lose? It wasn’t Vinatieri’s fault. It wasn’t the running game’s fault. It wasn’t the offensive line’s fault. I’m putting this one on Frank Reich and Matt Eberflus.
Frank Reich was on a mission to run the ball and rightfully so and they were successful, but when it came to Reich calling passing plays, I thought he missed the mark. Jacoby Brissett threw for only 129 yards on 16 completions. Every pass play seemed like a short pass for short gains. It seems very uncharacteristic for Reich, who trusts his quarterback and takes risks often. T.Y. Hilton returned from injury this week and only caught three passes for a whole 18 yards. Hilton has been known to tear up Houston’s secondary, but he was a total non-factor against them.
Matt Eberflus’ rotation of defensive backs finally caught up with him. With dangerous receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V, rotating cornerbacks may not be the best move especially when a rookie safety turned cornerback ends up with Hopkins one-on-one down the field. The rotation might work against teams with average receivers, but not with elite receivers.
Every game is a winnable game for the Colts and the Colts have to win them all even when they visit New Orleans later this season. Indianapolis has another division game coming up next week against the Titans. The Titans are playing better after switching quarterbacks, but you’ll have to wait till next week for that game preview :)
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.
The Colts let another one slip away against the Steelers. They should have won, but who would have predicted that Quenton Nelson would injure Jacoby Brissett? What made this game even more perplexing than it already was is the fact that Brian Hoyer came in and played well, minus the key pick-six by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is blossoming in the Pittsburgh defense.
Uncharacteristic turnovers and penalties killed the Colts and led to the loss, but yet they still had a chance to sneak out another close win. The time came for Indy to leave Pittsburgh by the skin of their teeth and move to 6-2, but the inconsistencies of Adam Vinatieri reared their ugly head once more. Yes, the snap was not very good, causing punter and holder Rigoberto Sanchez to have the laces of the football pointed toward Vinatieri, but how long are the genius general manager and head coach going to let this go on?
Surely, these two brilliant football minds understand that all sides of the ball have to be clicking on all cylinders to make the Super Bowl or let alone the playoffs in the Colts’ case. The AFC is full of playoff contenders and it seems as if every week is a must win right now.
I must give praise to Chris Ballard for bringing in Brian Hoyer to back up Brissett. Hoyer threw a touchdown on his first attempt in relief, but the interception he threw proved costly. Brissett’s status this week for the game against Miami is still up in the air. Luckily for the Colts, the Dolphins are one of the worst teams in the NFL. If Brissett cannot go, Hoyer is capable of getting the Colts back on track and into the win column.
Miami is coming off their first win of the season against another bad team in the New York Jets. The Dolphins have switched quarterbacks twice this season and seem like they will stick to Ryan Fitzpatrick. They do not have many other bright spots on the team after trading Kenny Stills, Kenyan Drake, and Minkah Fitzpatrick and losing standout cornerback Xavien Howard to injury.
T.Y. Hilton is going to miss the game on Sunday as he’s still battling a calf injury and the Colts will be without Parris Campbell for a while, recovering from a fractured hand. The offense is beat up, but is still full of playmakers that can carry the load to give some of these guys time to get healthy.
I would like to say definitively this would be an easy win, but with the injuries to the receiving corps and Brissett being less than 100%, the task may seem a little more difficult this week. Everyone on defense is continuing to get healthy; safety Malik Hooker was a full participant in practice on Thursday, so we could see him return to the field this week. The Colts will rely heavily on the defense to get Miami off the field and I would expect Frank Reich to carry out long drives and slow the pace of the game and cruise to a win.
Last time I checked, a win is a win and I’ll take it.
The Denver defense is not ranked 4th in the league for no good reason, and they gave the Colts offense fits all afternoon long. I expected the offensive line to be tested, but not to break down so often. It seemed as if Jacoby Brissett was uncomfortable all day long, which broke the flow and timing in the passing game.
The biggest play of the game came late in the fourth quarter on the game-winning drive. The Colts were deep in their own territory, and the drive was looking grim from the start. Brissett dropped back and surveyed the field. Former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller broke through the line and had Brissett dead to rights. The sack could have been a potential game-ending safety, but somehow Jacoby spun out of Miller’s clutches and threw to T.Y. Hilton, who made a tiptoe catch on the sideline for a huge gain.
Brissett silenced the scores of critics that labeled him as a game manager and a quarterback who is incapable of making the “big” play. Brissett’s big play gave hope to the team and led the Colts down the field so Adam Vinatieri had another chance to redeem himself once more.
Vinatieri could be the one to blame for putting the Colts in the situation they were in. Down just one point, Vinatieri missed a 45-yard field goal and extra point earlier in the game. The extra point would have tied the game at 13, so it was fitting that Vinatieri had the opportunity to nail a 51-yard field goal to win the game and move Indy’s record to 5-2.
Indianapolis goes on the road this week to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. This has “trap game” written all over it. The Colts’ season can be summed up this way: they beat the good teams, and struggle with the teams they should win handily.
The Steelers are 3-4 this season, but they have been in just about every game they have played this year with the exception of a Week 1 loss to the Patriots by 30. Pittsburgh got quarterback Mason Rudolph back last week, who played well but against the abysmal Miami Dolphins. A big part of their offense is their run game, led by James Conner. Conner is nursing a shoulder injury and Pittsburgh is preparing to play without him this week.
Pittsburgh’s defense has been getting better since acquiring safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. They are now ranked in the top 10 in total defense, and they mostly play well at home. The Colts will have another big task walking into Heinz Field to try and get another win and extend their winning streak to three.
The Colts are getting healthier on defense and may only miss Kenny Moore II again this week, and the offense is fairly whole as well. I would expect this game to be another grind-it-out type of game for the Colts. The Steelers will struggle on offense; not having Conner in the backfield will cause the Colts to really focus on wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. I think the Colts will leave Pittsburgh with a nice, close win but will prove their toughness again.
The Colts were able to score another big win last Sunday, extending their winning streak to two games. Indianapolis now controls their own destiny in the division after the win against Houston put them in first place. But why do organizations like ESPN still disrespect the Colts and their 4-2 record?
In the latest ESPN NFL Power Rankings, the Colts did not crack the top 10 while the Texans, who the Colts just beat, took the tenth spot on the list. To add salt to the wound, NFL.com gives Houston a 55% chance to make the playoffs and Indianapolis a 45% chance.
It was doom and gloom before the season started with Andrew Luck retiring, causing Indy to turn to Jacoby Brissett, who was not looked on favorably by fans because of his performance in 2017 with the Colts. Brissett was not given a fair shake that season because he was traded to the Colts just 10 days before his first start with the new team. After a couple seasons behind Luck and learning Frank Reich’s offense, Brissett is thriving and making the necessary plays to win games.
Brissett was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week after his performance this past week. He racked up career highs in passing yards with 326 and touchdowns with four. The narrative that Brissett is just a backup has to be aborted by these media outlets. He has proved to everyone that he is ready to lead this team and take them deep in the playoffs.
The offense certainly is not the problem, so maybe the defense is the reason the Colts are being overlooked. The Colts currently have the 20th ranked defense in the league, but Houston has the 17th ranked defense so these two units are not so far off from each other. The difference is that Indianapolis’ defense has been banged up all season long. Safety Malik Hooker has been out for a few weeks, linebacker Darius Leonard missed a couple of games, and other minor injuries in the secondary and defensive line has hurt the Colts in a couple of these games.
Fortunately for the Colts, this is the healthiest week they have had all season. Malik Hooker is a full go this week against the struggling Broncos and cornerback Kenny Moore II is back this week as well. The defense faces a Denver offense that is far from the Kansas City and Houston offense they faced the past couple of weeks. Denver traded wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders this week leaving quarterback Joe Flacco with limited options. The Broncos struggle to move the ball and will continue to struggle against a healthy Colts defense.
The one thing the Broncos have going for them is their defense that is ranked 4th in the league. Brissett and the offense will have their work cut out for them. The offensive line that has been good all year for the Colts will be tested. If Brissett gets time to throw and holes open up for Marlon Mack, the Colts should be able to move the ball and beat Denver and extend the winning streak to three.
The Colts are coming off a bye this week to face a tough Houston Texans team that beat the Chiefs last Sunday. This is the first meeting between these two teams this season, but this matchup could determine who goes on to win the AFC South division. Both teams scored big wins in their last games and will be ready to face off against one another at Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts offense took the bye week to get completely healthy with the exception of wide receiver Parris Campbell, who is still recovering from an abdominal surgery. Historically, T.Y. Hilton has owned the Texans secondary, averaging just over 100 yards receiving a game in his career against the Texans. Hilton exuded confidence this week saying, “If (Houston doesn’t double team me) it’s going to be a long day.”
The offense has come under some fire the past couple weeks for the lack of big passing plays. Jacoby Brissett refuted that statement by citing pass interference calls when the Colts attempt a long pass attempt, saying, “Keep watching.” T.Y. Hilton was asked the same question about big plays, to which he replied, “We haven’t really opened it up yet. You haven’t seen anything yet.”
This would be a great week for Frank Reich to go for broke at home and let Brissett sling the ball around, especially to a receiver like Hilton, who knows the Texans and has repeatedly shredded their secondary. The Texans have had some injuries in their secondary, which would play into Indy’s favor. If the Colts can establish Marlon Mack and the run game, it will make it easier for Reich to call plays that will stretch Houston.
The bye week proved to yield good and bad news for the Colts defense. The good news is that linebacker Darius Leonard has been cleared to play following a concussion that sidelined him for two weeks. Safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers both returned to practice as well. Hooker was limited in practice this week and could potentially play Sunday, but his status is still up in the air after having a torn meniscus repaired.
The bad news is that cornerbacks Kenny Moore and Pierre Desir have not practiced so far this week and could miss Sunday. Defensive ends Justin Houston and Tyquan Lewis are battling injuries as well. Lewis is likely out again this week, but Houston’s status is unknown as of Thursday. The Colts have already lost one defensive end for the season in Kemoko Turay, who was a huge part of the pass rush.
Fortunately for the Colts, the Texans have had trouble with their offensive line this year. Now, when the offensive line shows up for Houston, they have a nearly unstoppable offense with lots of weapons. Led by quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Texans offense is aided by wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller V and Kenny Stills, as well as running backs Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson.
The Colts could be in for a long day with the amount of injuries they have in the secondary and if they are not able to keep Watson in the pocket and claim a few sacks, I would expect the Colts offense to stay balanced, but take deep shots at the right time and take advantage of the Texans secondary.
The Colts have always been a tough team at home, so I think the home crowd will push the home team over the edge and come out with a win and put the Colts in the driver’s seat in the AFC South.
What. A. Win.
Beating the reigning MVP at his own stadium is something the Colts should be proud of--but they aren’t satisfied yet. The Colts expected to win this game despite no one really giving them a chance. I mean, why would anyone give them a chance to go on the road to one of the best teams in the NFL and win after losing to Oakland at Lucas Oil just one week earlier?
Indianapolis took this game because they won the battle up front on both sides of the ball. The offensive and defensive lines needed a bounce-back game following last week, so the response from the lines couldn’t have been any better.
After mustering just one sack in two weeks, the Indy pass rush reemerged by sacking Patrick Mahomes four times. Mahomes was making his mark on the game early, running around and completing his crazy passes until his ankle was stepped on by one of his offensive linemen. Mahomes’s mobility was limited and the Colts defensive line took advantage.
The Colts were missing linebacker Darius Leonard again last week and were missing two safeties, Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers, leaving rookie safety Khari Willis to pick up the slack. Mahomes got his yards, but the same can’t be said for the Chiefs running game that only gained 36 yards and ultimately ended with Kansas City scoring just 13 points.
The Colts offensive line dared the 30th-ranked Chiefs defense to stop them from running the ball. To put it simply, the Chiefs didn’t stop them. Marlon Mack rushed 29 times and gained 132 of the collective 180 rushing yards. Mack ran the ball as many times as Jacoby Brissett threw the ball. The Colts were able to sustain long drives due to the successful running game and put up enough points to steal a win in Kansas City.
Let’s think about that for a second: how often do you see a running back carry as many times as the quarterback throws the ball in an NFL game, especially for a team like the Colts? The answer is never, but this shows how strong the offensive line that general manager Chris Ballard has built is.
Now, the Colts head into the bye week with momentum and a 3-2 record. Following the bye, Houston, who visits Kansas City this week, is the next opponent. The Texans have been playing like a playoff team so far this year. Having this week off will allow the Colts to prepare for this big divisional game and hopefully seize control of the AFC South.
It can be argued that, had last week's game against the Falcons had lasted 10 minutes longer, the Colts would have succumbed to a vintage Matty Ice comeback. Despite playing a great first half defensively, the secondary broke down in the second half, giving up several big plays in the passing game. The second half of the Atlanta game is what gives Colts fans their doubts and worries.
The offense is what gives fans the hope that the Colts can make a decent run in the playoffs. Jacoby Brissett completed his first 16 passes and did not turn the ball over once. Last week, I mentioned that I would like to see Frank Reich be more creative with his playcalling and he did exactly that. Zach Pascal was finally targeted for the first time all season, catching Brissett’s first touchdown of the day.
Marlon Mack was virtually invisible all game. To be fair, he is dealing with a hamstring/calf injury that is bothersome, but Mack did leave his mark on the game by dodging a defender in the backfield and stiff-arming two other defenders on a short TD run to seal the victory.
Was anyone really worried about Adam Vinatieri and his kicking woes and his ability to win or lose the Colts some games? The answer is yes. But Vinatieri came out in front of the home crowd and nailed all five of his kicks. Yes, his first kick doinked off the upright and went in, but if that’s what it takes to get Vinatieri back on track, then so be it.
The Colts host the Chucky and the Raiders this week. Google “Chucky and Jon Gruden” if you don’t know what I’m talking about and thank me later. The Raiders have had a lackluster season so far with few bright spots. This game for the Colts should be “Child’s Play.” (see what I did there?)
T.Y. Hilton could potentially miss this week after leaving the Atlanta game after the first half, but this would be a game where the Colts should not miss him too much. If Hilton is not able to go, this would be a great opportunity for Deon Cain, Parris Campbell, and Zach Pascal to step up and prove to Frank Reich that they are weapons that can be used any time the offense needs them.
Luckily, the Raiders do not have Julio Jones on their team, but Oakland does rely on WR Tyrell Williams, who is no scrub, and TE Darren Waller, who has seemingly become QB Derek Carr’s favorite target. Jon Gruden teams are teams that want to run the football, and Gruden has his guy in rookie RB Josh Jacobs, so the Colts defense does have their work cut out for them since they will be missing Malik Hooker and Darius Leonard.
I would expect the Colts to extend their winning streak to three, winning by 10 points this Sunday. Brissett will be accurate and Reich will make it easy for the offense, and I do not think the Raiders have enough firepower to hang with the Colts, especially on the road.
The Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday to get into the win column. It wasn’t a work of art, but everyone made plays when they needed to.
The Titans have an underrated defense that gave the Colts fits for most of the game. Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins did not have fantastic stat lines, but they fought for every yard they could get which resulted in Wilkins breaking off a 55-yard run that set up the game-winning touchdown.
Jacoby Brissett did not have as good a game as he had in week one. He looked indecisive at times, but he was able to extend plays with his legs and avoid sacks. Brissett stayed poised in the fourth quarter and delivered a touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton that proved to be a game-winner.
Head coach Frank Reich lauded Brissett, saying “he almost seems most calm in the fourth quarter. I like the look in his eyes when the game is on the line.”
If Frank Reich likes the way his guy looks during crunch time, then so do I. The first two weeks, Brissett has led touchdown drives in the final period and hasn’t batted an eye at the situational pressure.
The defense kept Derrick Henry in check, which forced Marcus Mariota to try to make plays with his arm. Darius Leonard and the defense cleaned up a lot of missed tackles that factored into the Week 1 loss. Leonard is in concussion protocol and could potentially miss the next game, which would be a huge loss.
The Atlanta Falcons come to town for the home opener this Sunday, where the secondary will have to come ready to play against perhaps one of the best receiving corps in the game featuring Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Matt Ryan is one of those quarterbacks that can explode in one game for over 400 passing yards and multiple touchdowns. I would expect the Colts to come out in their zone defense and try to keep Jones and Ridley in front of them.
Brissett and the offense are facing another good defense that has allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL so far. I would love to see Frank Reich get more creative in the play calling and get young receivers like Parris Campbell, who caught his first NFL touchdown against the Titans last week, more involved.
Running the ball will not be as much of an issue as passing since Atlanta is giving up about 110 yards a game. Mack is dealing with a calf/hamstring injury that has caused him to miss practice which would mean Jordan Wilkins will get a bulk of the load.
I think that if the Colts can check the Atlanta receivers and stay balanced on offense and implement some creativity to make Brissett’s decision making easier, the Colts will win their first game at home.