The Colts avenged their Week Two shutout loss in Jacksonville with a last-minute, come-from-behind 34 – 27 home victory against the Jaguars. What did we learn from Week Six?
The Colts, as usual, fell behind by multiple scores early, before Matt Ryan mounted a fourth-quarter comeback for the fourth time this season, leading the team to a last-minute, 34 – 27 victory over the division-rival Jacksonville Jaguars. What can we take away from the team’s first AFC South victory, six weeks into the season?
One: The Colts Are – Somehow – Alive In The AFC South
Through six weeks into the 2022 season, the Colts earned their first divisional win and are somehow tied with Tennessee for the most wins among divisional opponents, with three. At 3 – 2 – 1 (0.583), the Colts remain in second place in the standings behind the Titans at 3 -2 (0.600), who had a bye in Week Six. The Colts are virtually guaranteed to lose any tiebreakers, with a 1 – 2 – 1 divisional record, but somehow remain in position to win the division by virtue of overall record.
A win next week at Tennessee would leave the Colts alone in first place in the AFC South.
Two: Colts Injury Status
The Colts defeated the Jaguars in Week Six without their first and second string running backs, Jonathan Taylor (ankle) and Nyheim Hines (concussion), and all-pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard. During the game, the Colts briefly lost linebacker Bobby Okereke to a hand injury. Wide receiver/kick returner Keekee Coutee later left the game due to a concussion suffered during a kick return. Third-string running back Deon Jackson, whom Indy Intercept presciently predicted would have a big game, left the game briefly with a possible knee injury, and later returned, only to be lost again to a quadriceps injury. His status is unknown, and leaves fourth-string running back Philip Lindsay and D’Vonte Price as the only known-healthy backs on the active roster.
THE SCEPTOR IS COMING TO INDY‼️😤 pic.twitter.com/xfueWW0mhm — Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 18, 2022
Three: Colts Find Success Pressuring The Quarterback
Despite missing emerging defensive end Kwity Paye’s presence on the line due to an ankle injury suffered in Week Five, the Colts found success getting pressure on Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Unable to get to the quarterback in Week Two, a sack-by-committee approach in Week Six saw Grover Stewart, DeForest Buckner, Ifeadi Odenigbo, and and Tyquan Lewis each notching sacks.
Buckner gets Lawrence -15 yards! pic.twitter.com/nTTO9jLDZN — Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) October 16, 2022
Lawrence was harried with sacks, hits, and hurries the entire game, and rarely had time to find his receivers outside of designed screen plays. The defense’s ability to apply quarterback pressure from the defensive front took some pressure off of a defensive secondary that uncharacteristically struggled throughout the game.
Four: Colts Run Defense Was Uncharacteristically Porous
Entering the game, the Colts ranked fourth in the league in run defense. While the defense consistently pressured quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the passing game, the Jaguars running game routinely shredded the the defense, to the tune of 243 yards on 33 carries (7.4 ypc). The normally stout goal-line defense allowed Trevor Lawrence to rush for two touchdowns on quarterback sneaks, and a defensive formation miscue allowed running back JaMychal Hasty to reach the second level on a strong-side run that resulted in a 61-yard touchdown. Perhaps not since the infamous 350-yard rushing game in 2006 has the Colts run defense looked as inept against Jacksonville.
Gettin' HASTY to the end zone! #DUUUVAL 📺: #JAXvsIND on CBS 📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/8OM0dwdXrB pic.twitter.com/5aiSIWVjaw — NFL (@NFL) October 16, 2022
Five: Michael Pittman, Jr. Is A Legitimate Number One Receiver
For some reason, it has been de rigueur to question the viability of Michael Pittman, Jr. as a legitimate number one wide receiver. Pittman emphatically quieted all such criticism in Week Six against Jacksonville, finishing the game with 13 catches for 134 yards (10.4 ypc), and repeatedly hauling in critical receptions for third-down conversions and contested catches in traffic. While the emergence of Alec Pierce and the quiet production of Parris Campbell has helped draw overloaded focus of defensive backs from him, Pittman has equally demonstrated his ability to beat his coverage and provide a consistent target for quarterback Matt Ryan.
Career-high in catches and receiving yards… Don’t play with MPJ 😏 pic.twitter.com/oaAq3BBxP2 — Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) October 18, 2022
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