The Colts won big in their home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. It wasn’t pretty, but there were sneaky nuggets to build upon along the way.
The Colts are officially on the board with their first win of the 2022 season. There is time for celebration a way to still recognize some glaring deficiencies.
First Quarter: Chiefs 6, Colts 7
This was a big game for the Colts’ special teams unit. It can be said they are the ones that put the team on the right track to victory. Starting with a turnover on a muffed punt by rookie Skyy Moore, the unit got off to a fast start. This set up rookie Jelani Woods for his first career catch and touchdown. Next, after the Chiefs went three and out, Kylen Granson had spectacular ball placement on a punt return ending with the ball spotted at the one-yard line. This was all a part of the winning recipe for Sunday’s win.
Moving along, Travis Kelce scored on a three-yard pass from Patrick Mahomes. However, the Chiefs’ kicker missed the point after an attempt. The Chiefs couldn’t put together another drive in the quarter. The nugget here is that the special teams unit set the tone and and the rest of the team followed suit. It’s great to see aggression.
Colts' special teams unit is crushing it so far, so there's that — Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) September 25, 2022
Second Quarter: Chiefs 14, Colts 10
The Chiefs started the second quarter strong, controlling the clock for half the quarter. On the other hand, the offense for Indianapolis has been starting particularly slow, and it’s a cause for concern. After only mustering up a field goal on the opening drive, the team ran into some trouble: punting on the next drive and losing a fumble on the drive shortly thereafter.
Although the Colts scored early on in the game, it still seems like team has on training wheels. Matt Ryan taking unnecessary sacks was a huge problem. Ryan also had some fumbling issues again. (Perhaps speeding up the tempo, designing some plays to move the pocket, or just bringing in a tight end would help.)
Compounding the issues, Matt Ryan has been sacked twelve times already this season and it’s only Week Three. Coach Frank Reich and General Manager Chris Ballard have some serious maneuvering to do to fix this issue. He’s getting pressured way too much, and it’s causing turnovers and drives to be cut short. The Chiefs found a spark with Clyde Edwards-Helaire scoring a one yard touchdown and Kelce’s questionable two point conversion. The nugget here is that it all starts up front with the offensive line, and if they can’t protect Matt Ryan or help move the offense, it will always be a long day. Teams, like the Chiefs, will captialize.
Third Quarter: Chiefs 17 – Colts 13
Kansas City controlled the clock this quarter as well, but the summary of the quarter is that both teams merely swapped field goals. Pat Mahomes started to show some of his magic scrambling and connecting with receivers for three big plays over 20 yards. (You can’t deny the talent of Mahomes as he makes the people around him better.) JuJu Smith-Schuster and Edwards-Helaire were his biggest targets. The Colts had a lengthy drive, but due to an 11-yard sack, had to settle for a field goal.
Fourth Quarter: Chiefs 17, Colts 20
The Chiefs could not get it right this quarter. One drive ended on a fake field goal attempt which was doomed from the start. The next Chiefs drive ended with a missed 34-yard field goal attempt. Kansas City’s kicker was only completing 50 percent of his kicks, with the most crucial miss happening this quarter.
The Colts were determined to get this win. Short passes and short runs were the ingredients for success on their game-winning drive. A special ingredient came from Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones as he was flagged on fourth down for unsportsmanlike conduct, a gift wrapped in yellow.
This gave the Colts new life and veteran Matt Ryan would not drop the ball this time. Continuing with the short passes down the field, the team eventually scored a 12-yard touchdown by none other than the rookie of the day, Jelani Woods. The nugget here is that the offense found some sort of identity.
MATT RYAN AND THE 6’7 JELANI WOODS CALLED GAME IN INDY pic.twitter.com/q4cIpcciIR — Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) September 25, 2022
Great team win! Frank Reich and his staff should build off of this. Show more aggression, spread the ball around, and get Matt Ryan moving sometimes. The Chiefs made mistakes, but the Colts capitalized on them. That’s what good teams do. Play their game, limit mistakes, and take what the other team gives them. (Imagine having Shaq Leonard in that lineup!)
There are still some issues creating obstacles to the team’s success. Each week Indy should be better. Each week the team should step up their game. This week, they showed up. Tennessee is next and should be a good one as they also captured their first win this season.
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