Colts Seek Redemption Against Jags

Jags Colts TBF

We are two games into the 2014 season yet things seem to be running its course:  unexpected injuries, a patchwork offensive line, and an under-performing defense that has been unable to stop anybody.  However, all is not lost.  The Colts have suffered two heartbreaking defeats to a pair of Super Bowl contenders.  Luckily, the Colts now will face a familiar team in the AFC South – the Jacksonville Jaguars.  This should be a dose of medicine the Colts needs, but they can’t look past an improving roster that is building a solid foundation for the future.

Offensively, the Colts should have no problem moving the ball against the Jaguars due to the excessive number of  weapons Luck has at his disposal.  Their defensive is improving, but opponents have had little difficulty in putting up points on the Jags.  Through two games here are the offensive numbers:

Total Yards Per Game

Colts: 374.5 (+147.5)

Jaguars: 227.0

Passing Yards Per Game

Colts: 263.0 (+80.5)

Jaguars: 182.5

Rushing Yards Per Game

Colts: 111.5 (+67)

Jaguars: 44.5

Points Per Game

Colts: 25.5 (+12)

Jaguars: 13.5

On the defensive side of the ball, however, the teams are much closer than one might think.  Up to this point, the Colts defense has been underwhelming and the Jaguars have over-achieved.

Total Yards Per Game Allowed

Colts: 409.5 (-25)

Jaguars: 434.5

Passing Yards Per Game Allowed

Colts: 295.0

Jaguars: 266.5 (-28,5)

Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed

Colts: 114.5 (-53.5)

Jaguars: 168.0

Points Per Game Allowed

Colts: 30.5 (-7)

Jaguars: 37.5

Defensively, the Colts are better except for giving up more passing yards.  The Glitter Kitties, as stated previously, are just about even and it seems that the edge in this game should come to the offensive advantage the Colts clearly hold over the Jags.  Even though the loss against the Eagles on Monday Night was discouraging, there were many positives that came out of the game.  One of the biggest takeaways was the improved rushing performance of the both Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw.  They rushed for 79 and 70 yards respectively behind the power running scheme the team has desired since Pagano took over the helm.  One negative was T-Rich’s two fumbles (1 lost) against the Eagles.   If he can minimize turnovers and in addition to Bradshaw’s output, the Colts should be able to capitalize in this area.  The Jaguars also gave up ten sacks last week against Washington and the team is still adjusting the offensive line and shuffling players which should benefit the struggling pass rush of the Colts.  If they can’t get to Henne this week, then it may be a long season in terms of a productive pass rush.

Injuries

The Jaguars star TE Marcedes Lewis is the biggest name missing time (6-8 weeks).   Aside from some minor injuries the team is relatively healthy entering Sunday’s game.  Not including the players lost during training camp the Colts have remained relatively healthy through two games.  They did however lose Arthur Jones (high ankle sprain) against the Eagles and will miss several weeks.   Joe Reitz is still recovering and Jerrell Freeman will not play this weekend as well.  However, center Khaled Holmes is one step closer to returning to the active line-up by participating in practice this week and took first string reps.  Coach Pagano named A.Q. Shipley the starting center for the week against the Jaguars, unless something happens between now and then.

Point Spread

The wise guys from Vegas have the Colts -7 over the Jags.

Prediction

Looking at all the factors and the health of both teams coming in I have the Colts winning by the following score:

Colts 35

Jaguars 17

Stop The Madness!

LuckThe Colts have unfortunately started out 0-2 this season.  Yes, it sucks; and yes, it wasn’t what we all wanted to see.  This team is far too talented to be playing this way.  Luck still makes bonehead reads. Fleener and Allen are still dropping passes. Richardson still looks indecisive at times.  Still, these aren’t the problems most people are going crazy over. The rabid Colts fanbase, not all but many, are calling for changes to be made- but do they fully understand what would happen to this team if these changes are being made?  I’m not sure they are, but let me take a moment to break it down for you. Continue reading

Colts Suffer Heartbreaking Loss to Eagles

The Colts fell to 0-2 after losing 30-27 against the Philadelphia Eagles in their second consecutive prime time game on Monday night. Despite the loss, it was a great game inside Lucas Oil Stadium and was very entertaining.

The Colts offense looked absolutely horrific on their first drive and went 3-and-out. It looked like it was going to be a very rough game even as the defense took the field. The Eagles waltzed down the field on their opening drive with little resistance until they approached the red zone – that’s when the Colts’ D kicked it up a notch. After a third down stop the Eagles settled for a 31-yard FG. Limiting the Eagles to 3 points was a moral victory based on how LeSean McCoy and Nick Foles moved the ball at will.

The running game finally came alive on the Colts’ next drive which seemed to be the story of the night. The Colts marched down the field with ease and was capped off by a 1-yard TD pass from Luck to Ahmad Bradshaw.

Early in the second quarter Adam Vinatieri knocked down a 46-yard field goal to extend the Colts lead to 10-3.

Many times during Monday night’s game the Colts defense was very unimpressive; that was until the Eagles neared the red zone. They may bend, but did not break. The Eagles were held to another 3 points and trailed 10-6. The Colts ended the first half with an imposing drive that had notable runs by both Richardson and Bradshaw. Andrew Luck finished the drive with a 2-yard TD pass to TE Jack Doyle – the first of his career.

Colts lead 17-6 at halftime.

Both teams looked sluggish to start the second half until midway through the third quarter when Vinatieri kicked another FG to give the Colts a comfortable 20-6 lead.

And then the wheels began to fall off. The Eagles answered by marching down the field, but this time the Colts showed little fight and McCoy finished the drive with a 1-yard TD run to give the Eagles their first touchdown of the game. The Colts continued to be loyal to the running game which led to a T-Rich fumble on the ensuing possession which was recovered by the Eagles. The Eagles silenced the raucous home crowd with a 19-yard TD run by Darren Sproles, who lit up the Colts yet again.

The Colts’ 14-point lead is now gone in the blink of an eye. With the score tied at 20, the Colts answered with an inspiring drive to start the 4th quarter in which Bradshaw caught his second touchdown pass of the night from Luck – this time from seven yards out. Vinatieri’s extra point extended the Colts lead to 27-20 with 11:49 left in the game.

The Colts defense stepped up and provided a stop to ignite the crowd, but things went all downhill after that. With 5:15 left on the clock and a 7-point lead, the Colts were faced with a 3rd-down-and-9 at the Philly 22-yard line. A simple run play or incomplete pass and the Colts would have still been within Vinatieri’s range to ice the game. But that was not the case. Luck went to the air trying to hit T.Y. Hilton but instead was intercepted. Now, I hate to blame officials for changing a game and I’m sure fans do as well, but this one has a valid argument. Hilton was clearly held as he was running across the field which resulted in the turnover. I don’t know if Hilton would have caught it but it would have been close. There was no penalty and the Eagles regained the momentum.

Several plays later on the Eagles’ ensuing drive the Colts were flagged for a horse-collar on what appeared to be a clean tackle considering only the back of the jersey was grabbed and not the collar. The Eagles tied it up with 3:25 left after a 6-yard TD pass from Foles to Jeremy Macklin.

3 minutes, 25 seconds – plenty of time for Luck to lead his team down the field and win the game on a national stage, but the Colts finished the game how they started – another 3-and-out. Philly then marched down the field and then with 3 seconds remaining, former Colts kicker (cut during preseason) Cody Parkey nailed a 36-yard FG to win the game.

Final score: Eagles 30 Colts 27

Things to take away from this game:

The Colts were remarkable with running the ball awesome Monday night. Both Richardson and Bradshaw had great games (79 yards and 70 yards rushing, respectively) due in part to the fact that the offensive line would stack the side of the run which allowed big plays to break loose. In my opinion, Pep Hamilton’s play calling was very questionable. Luck had a less-than-memorable performance but put together a nice scoring drive in the 4th quarter in which he went 4-4 for 40 yards and a TD. As for the Eagles, they are proving to be a second-half team. In their first two games they have put together some amazing up-tempo 4th quarters to win. Also TrueBlueFans, we must realize that our Colts could just as easily be 2-0 instead of 0-2. The Colts, even after a horrible first half, fell just short of an incredible come from behind victory against the Broncos. In my mind, if the play calling was a little different and some officiating calls had gone in our favor, the Colts would have been victorious in their Monday night home opener.

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