The Colts battled to a last-minute victory against the visiting Jaguars and to a 3 – 2 – 1 season record in Week Six. Who helped, and who hurt?
With the running game continuing to struggle, quarterback Matt Ryan attempted almost 60 passes, threw for almost 400 yards, and connected with wide receiver Parris Campbell, tight end Jelani Woods, and wide receiver Alec Pierce in the end zone – the latter touchdown proving to be the game-winner, putting the Colts ahead 34 – 27 with fewer than 20 seconds remaining in the game, and avenging an embarrassing Week Two shutout loss in Jacksonville. Who trended up and who trended down in this Lucas Oil Stadium thriller? Read on to find out.
Colts Trending Up: Wide Receiver Parris Campbell
Campbell’s young career has been plagued by the injury bug. The promising receiver has thankfully been healthy in 2022, and Campbell has steadily, if quietly, shown that he can be a dependable, productive receiver. That production was readily apparent in Week Six. Campbell caught seven passes on eleven targets, for 57 yards and the team’s first touchdown of the game. While he averaged a me 8.1 yards per reception, Campbell caught passes in critical situations and helped move the chains on third down. Campbell’s extra-effort touchdown provided a much-needed scoring punctuation to a Colts drive, and sparked the eventual comeback.
Colts Trending Up: Offensive Tackle Daniel Kelly
Fans may be excused for not recognizing the name of Colts offensive tackle Daniel Kelly. Originally signed by the Colts as a free agent during the offseason, Daniel Kelly had been conspicuously absent from the offensive line through the first five weeks, despite the overall poor tackle play. Kelly’s lack of playing time surprised even him.
pic.twitter.com/Bt1hpOV6J8 — Dennis Kelly (@DennisKelly67) October 11, 2022
Week Six, Kelly finally got the nod, entering the game to replace the starting, but very much a work-in-progress, Bernhard Raimann at left tackle. Facing a ferocious Jacksonville pass rush led by Jared Allen, Kelly played a key role in keeping quarterback Matt Ryan upright throughout the game. After being sacked five times at Jacksonville in Week Two, Ryan did not take a single sack in Week Six. When his number was called, Daniel Kelly took full advantage.
Colts Trending Down: Cornerback Brandon Facyson
Brandon Facyson has yet to play well the entire season and has been repeatedly targeted, and abused, by opposing quarterbacks and wide receivers. Colts fans have been left wondering if Facyson’s continued presence in the starting lineup over Isaiah Rodgers was due to the existence of incriminating photographs of Colts front office personnel in the possession of Facyson. The Colts defense against the Jaguars in Week Six was uncharacteristically bad, punctuated by quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s repeated targeting and abuse of Facyson – to the extent that Facyson was, finally, replaced by Isaiah Rodgers in the second half. Fans can only hope that the ball-hawk Rodgers has finally supplanted Facyson in the depth chart.
Here are #Colts DC Gus Bradley’s full comments when asked about Isaiah Rodgers Sr. and Brandon Facyson during today’s Zoom presser: “(Facyson) just needs to tighten up his game and play like he's capable of playing, and in the long run, that bodes well for us … “ pic.twitter.com/7opMb5iG4i — James Boyd (@RomeovilleKid) October 18, 2022
Colts Trending Down: Jerome Boger’s Officiating Crew
Let’s start with the obvious: the 2022 Colts are a deeply flawed team that has yet to put together a complete game in all three phases, through all four quarters. The team needs absolutely no help whatsoever in falling behind early in, and eventually losing, games that it should have won (and, often, was favored to do so). It is not the officiating crew’s fault that the Colts defense forgot how to cover screen passes or inexplicably shifted safety help to the weak side when the Jaguars overloaded the strong side – or that the Colts offensive line misses a blitz formation.
Having conceded that the Colts need no help losing games that it should otherwise win, it is at the same time reasonable to expect the officiating crew not to influence game outcomes unduly. Jerome Boger’s crew proved itself incapable of even this basic standard. The poor officiating was readily apparent on the Jaguars’ final scoring drive. Should the Colts defense have allowed the Jaguars to convert third and long multiple times? No. At the same time, the Jaguars should not have been gifted first downs on phantom defensive holding calls while blatant intentional grounding went unflagged, or when a double-teamed defensive lineman is inexplicably called for defensive holding on an off-tackle running play.
Nor should Boger have literally taken points off of the board for a 2-point conversion attempt that was called a catch during play, and for which video evidence was not clear and convincing otherwise.
Nooo 😭 pic.twitter.com/qHRo8ibl89 — Kev Nivek💭 (@kevnivek_) October 16, 2022
This was not a well-officiated game. Teams, and fans, deserve and should expect better.
To reiterate: the Colts don’t need any help losing winnable games. The NFL must do better.
Want to join our team here at Indy Intercept? Become part of what we are building at Stadium Rant. Click here to apply and get started.