Colts unleash power running game and roll over Eagles in the first half. A key fumble in the second half helps fuel a Philly comeback, and Mr. Clutch Andrew Luck can't lead Indy to victory.
Bad calls and no-calls by the officials did not lose this game. The Colts lost this game when Trent Richardson fumbled the ball in the third quarter. The play changed the entire landscape of the game, allowing the Eagles to quickly tie things up. I know, I know...the Colts retook the lead later and still had their chances, but the fumble signaled the complete transfer of momentum from Indy to Philly.
That running game. Man, I didn't think the Stanford ground-em-out playbook would work in the NFL. The Colts had great success with it, using three tight end sets and unbalanced lines to smashmouth their way down the field. I never saw that coming. The Mistake had 21 carries for 79 yards and The Guy Who Should Start had 13 carries for 70 yards. For the most part, Indy ran at will. You know, until it counted.
The most valuable tight end? Coby Fleener? God, no. Dwayne Allen? A respectable answer. The real answer is Jack "Harry" Doyle, who caught a touchdown pass and provided some excellent blocking in the running game. I'm betting he wasn't on the scouting report breakdown for the Colts.
I'll take things that are missing for 200, Alex. The answer: It's what gives opposing quarterbacks so much time to throw. The question: What is the pass rush? My goodness, I knew the Colts would miss Robert Mathis, but I thought they'd generate a pass rush on occasion even if by accident.
Darren Effing Sproles. Little dude can ball, that's for sure. It feels like he'd be a first ballot Hall of Famer if he got to play against the Colts every week. It doesn't matter if he plays for the Chargers, Saints, or Eagles--Sproles is a bona fide Colts killer.
Adventures in playcalling, part one. It's curious that when the Colts need to play it safe and a field goal would do, they come out on 3rd and 9 and try to pass. The play ended up in an interception (and, maybe, it could've been pass interference), but why not swing it out to Ahmad Bradshaw or just hand him the ball? You know Vinatieri's going to nail that field goal, giving the Colts a two-score lead.
Adventures in playcalling, part two. On the Colts' final drive, Richardson picks up six yards with a decent run on first down. On 2nd and 4, the Colts run it again for a loss. This would've been a great down for a play-action pass or a nice, safe throw to Reggie Wayne. So, yeah, I complain in one situation because they passed when I thought they should've run, and then suggest they should've passed here instead of running. We're talking about two completely different game situations and two completely different parts of the field.
Maybe roll him out? The Eagles loaded up the middle and put a lot of pressure on the interior of the offensive line. Gruden talked often about how the rush was getting Luck off his "mark" in the pocket. Why not roll out Luck out on a handful of passes so the "mark" changes?
Robert Mathis tweeted during the game. It was kind of surreal to see tweets from Mathis show up on my timeline. Unfortunately, nothing No. 98 wanted to happen actually transpired. For example:
wow man…. get the ball back….. Sack Strip by #Bjorn is my prediction— ROBERT MATHIS The1st (@RobertMathis98) September 16, 2014
most clutch QB AND most clutch kicker at the same damn time... so lets get it— ROBERT MATHIS The1st (@RobertMathis98) September 16, 2014
Still, it was a good effort and I'm glad he's supporting the team.
#GRIFFNATION! Griff Whalen will break a big punt return one of these days. It'll just take a flag-free performance by the rest of the special teams unit.
From the "At least we don't have to hear it anymore" department. "Andrew Luck hasn't lost back-to-back games in his pro career." Silver linings, people. Silver linings.
More than Toler-able. That interception at the end of the first half by Greg Toler was absolutely incredible.
Secondary concerns? The unit played pretty well for the most part. There were a few illegal contact flags and a huge one on Vontae Davis that set up a key Eagles score. I feel for these guys because they're out there covering receivers as long as they can because there's absolutely no pass rush whatsoever.
Horse collar call was horse s***. I don't know if the Colts would've stopped Philadelphia on 3rd and 6, but I do know they should've had the chance to try. The man I called LaWorthless last week made a great play. His reward? Automatic first down for Philadelphia.
Not time to panic. The Colts will pick themselves up. If there's anything we've seen from Chuck Pagano's team, it's resiliency. The team has lots of issues, though (shaky interior offensive line, no pass rush, safety play, to name a few).
How do you spell relief? J-A-G-U-A-R-S.