The Colts must return to the drawing board after a tough loss to the Commanders. Not every game will be a win, but you build from every game. The defense played okay, but they still require consistency. Second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger had a promising debut. He showed poise, patience, and accountability. “Sam The Man” and the defense seem poised to have a big week nine matchup.
Colts Quarteback Versus Patriots’ Defense
Sam Ehlinger had a sturdy start in his career. He went for over 200 yards passing while connecting on close to 74% of his throws. Ehlinger’s lone turnover was the fumble late in the second quarter. New England ranks 19th in passing defense and 21st in run defense. Some good RPO (Run, Pass, Option) plays and get Jonathan Taylor some touches; the Colts should be able to find their way into the red zone. The Patriot’s defense averaged 247 passing yards in the last three games.
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Help From The Colts’ Backfield
Every quarterback needs a good running game. It just so happens the Colts have an All-Pro running back on the team. Jonathan Taylor has been held in check since his Week One 161-rushing-yard performance. The offensive line could be a part of that problem. (Also, he’s been dealing with the nagging ankle injury since Week Two).
Sam needs to keep the defense honest and slow down the pass rush. As a unit, this is where the accountability should come in from the offensive line. Taylor should get between 20-26 carries this game.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Taylor… pic.twitter.com/Nu2nZKwP4o — AtoZ Sports Nashville (@AtoZSports) October 30, 2022
Colts Need To Open Up The Playbook
Sam has a skill set that Matt Ryan does not, and that’s mobility. Sam made competent, quick plays while in trouble against the Commanders, pressuring the defense. He bought his receivers some time, and with that time, plays developed.
Ehlinger was not afraid to hang the ball in the air either. It’s a beautiful sight when your quarterback is upright and the ball is placed in front of them. He seemed comfortable in shotgun formation, with many big plays. Crossing routes developed, and wide receiver handoffs came from motion. The threat of RPO is always a treat. Frank Reich needs to tap into Sam’s strengths and build from that.
Colts Defense Gets It Together
As a whole, the defense has been solid. The Colts have ugly moments on defense, but bend and don’t break. However, gut-wrenching first down plays and the occasional big play hurt this team weekly. They were picked apart by crossing routes and had trouble following the running backs as they slipped out into their option routes.
One thing the Patriots know how to do is utilize their running backs. The Patriots use running back Rhamondre Stevenson like the Colts used Nhyeim Hines. Stevenson gets carries and receptions. Pressure must be applied to the quarterback to gain success. The linebackers and defensive line must bring their “A” game. (Sidenote: shout out to Grover Stewart! This man has been a wrecking ball this season!)
Colts Trending Up/Down: 2022 Week Seven Demoralizing Loss Edition
Sam Ehlinger is in a good spot for his career. There are good weapons at Ehlinger’s disposal to look for when needed. Indy’s defense is good enough to keep them in games. But the Colts need to be more aggressive and consistent on defense. Ehlinger’s now had some real game action and seemed to be comfortable. Each week the coaching staff should develop plays around his skill set. Forcing the square into the circle whole never worked in life; making things easier and less complicated will lead to victory, Frank Reich!