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Colts Notebook: Stunning Key Drives of Week Eight

Yes, the Colts took a tough loss this week, but let’s think the cup is half-full! Sam Ehlinger started his first game, Kenny Moore II was hot and cold this game, and Grover Stewart was a beast. Let’s go through some good, bad, and ugly drives from Week Eight versus the Commanders. Indy is slowly but surely trying to mend things together. Critical injuries, sub-par play from the offensive line, and the offense trying to find their identity were shown in this game. I usually like the good news first, but I’ll get the bad out now.

Colts Agonizing Drives On Both Sides Of the Ball

Late in the fourth quarter, the Colts had the ball with just under four minutes left. Indy showed some new looks this week, specifically within the shotgun formation. Bad idea if you want to run straight up the middle of a defense that showcases two stellar run-stuffing linemen in Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne. Taking just over two minutes off the clock, the drive that needed to end in points finished in three short plays.

Oh, it gets worse! The next Colts defensive drive, Taylor Heinicke and company moved the ball quickly. Connecting on two deep passes, Heinicke set his team up for success. Unfortunately, Indy’s defense could not hold the lead and seemed gassed. Stephon Gilmore gave up a 33-yard bomb to Terry McLaurin, in which he was stopped on Colts’ one-yard line.

Terry McLaurin. Incredible. — Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) October 30, 2022

Colts Had Several Bad Drives

Two specific drives come to mind when I think of the bad things that happened Sunday. Fumbles stalled the drives. The first drive had four plays, gained 54 yards, and added on a 14-face mask penalty to set the team up in the red zone. Sam Ehlinger was pressured, made a move, and the ball squirted out. Indy would have at least scored three on that drive, but it stalled out.

Three plays into the second drive, dynamic rookie Alec Pierce takes a catch 47 yards to Washington’s 34-yard line. On Jonathan Taylor’s second rush, he gained six yards, but the ball was jarred loose by a Commanders’ helmet and eventually recovered by the Commanders.

Second red zone fumble by. #Colts today. Jonathan Taylor with this one, — Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) October 31, 2022

Colts Show Promise In The Fourth

After a couple of field goals, the Colts lead by two, with the score showing 9-7. The Commanders’ first possession in the quarter was short and quick. Tyquan Lewis tipped a pass into the air, and Shaquille Leonard came down with the batted pass and ran for 15 more yards. This series of events set up Indy in a prime scoring position. Staring at Washington’s 24 gave the offense a short field and a chance to take over the game.

A defensive pass interference call set the Colts up on Washington’s six-yard line. Sam Ehlinger tossed a pass to now former Colt Nyheim Hines for the score. Simple and effective, that’s what Colt’s football should be.

Could this end up being Nyheim Hines last touchdown for the #Colts? — Cody Manning (@CodyTalksNFL) November 1, 2022

All drives will not end up in scores, but they don’t have to end in turnovers. Turnovers have plagued Indy in the first half of the season. The team should reduce the fumble issue with minor tweaks and some adjustments. This past week, we didn’t see any interceptions thrown by Ehlinger, which is a good sign. It seems like Frank Reich put some RPO (Run, Pass Option) plays in the mix and used Ehlinger’s speed to his advantage.

Although the team fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady, these plays worked great for the young quarterback. The offense was rolling; it just needs to stay consistent and reduce any turnovers if possible! Take those two fumbles out; we might not have to worry about Stephon Gilmore getting muscled on one.

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