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panxing18 Offline

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15.11.2018 06:46
Knee-Jerk Reactions: Colts fall to Texans in overtime 37-34 The Indianapolis Antworten

Colts have not put it all together in 2018. Andrew Luck has been asked to play a big role at times and has been ineffective at others. The offensive line has shown some signs of improvement , especially along the interior, but the tackle depth is a major weakness. The defense has been very impressive for much of the season, creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and making difference-making plays that give the team the opportunity to win football games. The unit has also come up a little short by allowing big drives to get into scoring position late in games.The first and perhaps most important knee-jerk reaction from the Colts and Texans game is that Andrew Luck is completely healthy. All of the chatter and nonsense about hidden issues facing Luck’s throwing shoulder or a lack of arm strength were answered repeatedly today. No quarterback with arm strength or shoulder weakness throws more than 60 times in a ball game including taking numerous deep shots and a ridiculously long hail mary. If Reich was worried about shoulder strength or setbacks, he doesn’t have Luck throw over 60 yards with one second left in regulation.The Colts need to get Zach Pascal more active in the offense every week. This unit lacks a ton of proven talent at wide receiver and Pascal has been a consistent contributor on offense and special teams. Most importantly, he has shown tremendous hands and isn’t dropping key passes at key moments. Nyheim Hines is starting to make his presence felt. He should be rarely used to pick up yards on the ground as a lone running back but he can move all over the field and create the kinds of defensive issues that Reich and Sirianni envisioned when they selected him in the 2018 NFL Draft. It is stunning to think about how far he has come from fumbling away punts in the preseason to looking like a speedy and shifty offensive weapon just 4 weeks into his rookie season.The Colts gave away another winnable game. Remember in Week 1 against the Bengals when Andrew Luck was driving down the field on a would-be game winning drive and Jack Doyle fumbled? Remember when Andrew Luck and the offense had multiple chances to punch the ball into the end zone against the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles but failed to do so? Well, mark down another example of a would-be win in your memory.The Indianapolis Colts defense was legitimately responsible for giving up 17 points to the Texans offense during regulation. Andrew Luck led the offense down the field for 31 offensive points. Unfortunately, a bad snap by Ryan Kelly on the goal line and strip sack given up deep in their own territory on another possession resulted in another 14 points for Houston. Frankly, Indianapolis shouldn’t have been in a position to play for overtime and the Texans should have gone home devastated after a thrashing on the road. Sadly, after an impressive four quarters for the defense, overtime saw the group fail to make big plays when they needed it most. Darius Leonard guessed wrong on a key Deshaun Watson scramble on third down. The pass rush couldn’t land when the defense needed a big play. The secondary, safeties in particular, played way too loose in coverage and allowed huge passing plays in front of them to keep drives going.Lastly, the Frank Reich decision to go for a first down on 4th-and-4 in overtime was bad football. If his team of analytics experts played a part in that decision, Reich needs to recognize when football intelligence overrides statistical analysis. This was a game that 1) the Colts really needed to win Clayton Geathers Jersey , 2) they had no business taking to overtime after the offensive disasters of the first half, and 3) has huge implications for the division. You don’t play “aggressive” in your own territory in overtime when a field goal defeats you. Ties may not feel good to a fan base but they will make a difference when tie breakers come into play for playoff consideration later in the year.Unless you don’t care about your chances to make the playoffs, you punt the ball away and take the tie. No-brainer football stuff. Analytics or no.Let’s take a look at how the keys to the game played out against the Texans.Pester Deshaun WatsonFor a second straight week, the Colts found ways to get to the quarterback. There has been a lot of mutually beneficial work happening in the secondary and along the defensive line. Some of the sacks have been due to edge rushers landing with athleticism and speed. Some of the pressure has been the result of excellent coverage from a young secondary. It is certainly fair to recognize that the pass rush is still inconsistent but it is also clear that this group has come a very long way from 2017. The Colts accumulated 7 sacks today, versus 4 given up against J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney with backups at both tackle spots.Red Zone EfficiencyAfter struggling early in the year, it is a relief to see the Colts score in each of their 4 red zone visits. The first half offense was putrid and did not get much of an opportunity to get in Texans territory but once the ball started moving in the second half, things really started to click.Andrew Luck’s Decision-Making and AccuracyThis is perhaps one of the most impressive single game performances of Andrew Luck’s career. He completed 40 of 62 passing attempts for 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. He did this without T.Y. Hilton for a significant portion of the second half and while facing considerable pressure from Houston’s marquee pass rushers J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.Of Luck’s incompletions, a half dozen were drops by his receivers. Without those drops, he would have a 75% completion percentage. Other than a couple of passes that were slightly overthrown or underthrown, his accuracy was fantastic. He hit T.Y. Hilton on a 42 yard bomb along the right sideline and threw a hail mary at the end of regulation that went 60 yards down the field.Any suggestion that Andrew Luck’s throwing shoulder is causing a strength issue at this point is comical. His first game back saw him throw over 50 times, this game saw him throw over 60 times and put up a QB rating of over 108. If Luck’s shoulder is causing an issue, it isn’t enough to impact his ability to win football games.Offensive BalanceFrankly, there isn’t any. The Colts have failed to create any threat of a running game and are having to rely entirely on Andrew Luck. Anthony Castonzo’s pending return may play an important role in improving the running game and Robert Turbin’s return from suspension will also help but Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni must find a way to create some balance offensively or Luck will be a sitting duck in the pocket.Slow Down the Texans Pass RushThe offensive line struggled mightily in the first half with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Watt gathered two sacks and was credited with two forced fumbles. Watt beat Le’Raven Clark with speed around the edge. The second half?The coaching staff and offensive linemen made some changes that really slowed things down. Luck ran a quick no-huddle approach that was creating real issues for the Houston defense. It wasn’t until overtime that Clowney was able to land another sack with a stunt to the inside beating Quenton Nelson.Colts late-in-half scoring must improve under Frank Reich The Indianapolis Colts have a lot to prove in the 2018 season. It isn’t all on the defensive side of the ball either. Frank Reich enters the fold as both the head coach and play-caller and is inheriting one of the league’s most impressive quarterbacks in Andrew Luck to showcase his offensive system.Most of us believe that Reich will be better than the offensive coordinators of the most recent era of Colts football, but a lot goes into those expectations. Yards per play, third down efficiency Cheap Ryan Kelly Jersey , red zone success and a litany of other aspects go into the overall success of the offense.But, there is one specific area in which Reich must be better than those who’ve come before him recently if the Colts are going to win any games this year — scoring late in the half. Putting points up as halftime nears, and at the end of the game has not been a strength of the Colts since 2012. It needs to be in 2018, so let’s look at the bar Reich has to beat going forward.The specific time we’re looking at is the final three minutes of each half. Since 2012 the Colts have really struggled in these three-minute windows with, and without Luck under center. Of course Luck has missed 26 games in his first seven years in the league, but these numbers aren’t limited to his being sidelined as you’ll soon see.Reich will attempt to get these numbers up from the combined efforts of Bruce Arians (2012), Pep Hamilton (2013-2015) and Rob Chudzinski (2015-2017). We can argue about which yielded better results in their time with the team, but this is a broader look at the product that has been accumulated. There is a combination of timing and mentality that comes into play here, and a more aggressive approach by Reich could lead these numbers in either direction. Here’s how the offense has compared to the rest of the league in this time frame.What’s more important than being able to sustain drives, and put touchdowns on the board in the NFL? Not much, especially when considering the potential of getting the final strike of the first half, or putting the finishing touches on a game-winning drive. Trying to find the complete picture, the Colts have been 24th in yards per play, T-20th scoring touchdowns and have compiled a 26.8 percent (T-15th) first down rate. As I mentioned earlier, a lack of aggression may be playing a part in some of these numbers when considering that the team is T-7th throughout this six-year period.With field goals up Cheap Quenton Nelson Jersey , and touchdowns near the bottom-third of the league, that tells you about the lack of aggression with past play-callers and maybe just as likely, the approach that Chuck Pagano expected out of the offense. First down percentage wasn’t terrible, but was still just very average for having a top-tier quarterback under center for most of those games.Reich and the Colts’ coaching staff has been stressing situational football all summer. Another major point of interest has been ball control. The two come together at these points in the game.The Colts have been good at avoiding throwing interceptions (T-11th) at these critical junctures in the game. But, they have put the ball on the carpet far too often (T-20th) which leads to lost opportunities and losing close games as a common result.The Colts have lost 19 one-score games since 2012. That’s over 44 percent of their total losses over this time span. More touchdowns and fewer field goals would have gone a long way towards improving that win-loss record.Maybe one of the more disturbing trends with these teams of the past, is the complete lack of protection of Luck, and jaw dropping sack numbers they’ve allowed. The Colts have given up 52 sacks (29th) at the end of halves, which is only better than the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets. That’s sickening.For a team with average numbers in sacks allowed, that’s two season worth of sacks. The Colts have allowed 239 sacks over the past six seasons, and nearly 22 percent of those have come just in the final three minutes of each half.This is where Reich is going to earn his coaching stripes this season. With all things considered, the Colts defense may not be much help to keeping opponents’ scoring down. It looks to be a bend-but-don’t-break approach under Matt Eberflus’ tutelage, but the Colts have been notorious for giving up big plays in recent years as well.That’s not going to help Luck, and will only put more pressure on him to be a miracle worker, but Luck’s going to need some good coaching in this area of the game as well.In Luck’s career to this point Nate Hairston Jersey , he’s 17th in yards per attempt (6.7), 22nd in completion rate (57.7%), 15th in quarterback rating and has taken the seventh-most sacks (33) during this high-pressure time bubble in each half. That’s not ideal for a guy who is expected to almost single-handedly carry the team to victory.I’m not a believer in the thought process that all interceptions are created equal, but when considering that he HAS missed 26 games, his turnovers have likely been pretty costly. Only 11 quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions than Luck at these points in the game. Only three of those 11 have better interception percentages, though, so it’s not all bad. Surprisingly enough — or maybe not — Luck has thrown enough passes in his short career that his attempts were very comparable to several of these passers who haven’t missed anywhere near as many games throughout the past six seasons.Anyway you slice it, Luck is going to have to take to the coaching, while the Reich needs to devise a unique, efficient, and aggressive gameplan in order to get this offense over the hump. He’s got a long year ahead of him too. A questionable receiver corps, very little experience in the backfield and a few holes on the offensive line will make this difficult to make a realityBut, if the Colts are going to prove anyone wrong this year, late-in-half scoring will be critical to this young team in stealing a few games throughout the course of the season.

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