So, the Colts won yesterday, right? Why am I seeing so many people ready to hit the panic button already? The offensive line was bad and then it was okay. There wasn’t any defensive pressure on Pryor. Why did Landry and Bethea have so many tackles? Calm down!!! Yes, the offensive line, at times, did not look very good yesterday. Keep this in mind though. The blind-side protector, Castonzo, is still nursing a strained MCL in his knee. I give him props for sacking up and taking the field. Some would have taken one more week to get that thing back to at least 80%. He was definitely not that. The other part on this offensive line is that these guys have to gel together. Castonzo missed reps with them in the preseason. There is still uncertainty of who should start at right guard, McGlynn or Thornton. Give these guys a couple of weeks together and it should look better.
The running game yesterday was pretty good when they gave the ball to the backs. Ballard played yesterday as the #1 spot is his, and he isn’t giving it up to Bradshaw. Ballard ran hard and low for most of the day. That is also courtesy of the offensive line that so many want to bash. If the Colts want to establish this “power running game” then they need to give the ball off more than 20 times. Especially if you’re splitting reps between Ballard and Bradshaw. Even though the Colts’ offense looked pretty balanced yesterday, I still think it was a little pass-heavy. Yes, I know Luck is our best player and you want the ball in his hands, but if you want to be balanced he can’t always do that.
And finally, please get off the defense’s back, will ya? Yesterday a type of quarterback that you will rarely see took the field for Oakland. Pryor did things that many thought he wouldn’t be able to do, even me. I said earlier in the week that if the Colts don’t play contain on Pryor then he will run on them often. Nevertheless, the Colts DID get pressure on him. Did they sack him 5-6 times? No, they didn’t- but they did get pressure on him. How many times did Pryor have to pick himself up off the turf yesterday after being hit? That’s called a knockdown and that is from DEFENSIVE PRESSURE. Just because there aren’t a ton of sacks being racked up doesn’t mean the Colts’ defense didn’t get pressure on Pryor. Their biggest problem was they played him like a regular pocket passer and collapsed the pocket often on him. But he isn’t a regular pocket passer, and was able to extend the play out or just roll out for a 20 yard run. That is something that the Colts’ defense won’t see often. They will see more pocket quarterbacks than they will scrambling quarterbacks or the new fresh term, “read option” quarterbacks.
The other problem that people seemed to have, and this one includes me, is the fact that Bethea and Landry had so many tackles yesterday. I watched the game over last night and saw exactly why. A lot of the times when this happens, it’s because the defensive line and linebackers aren’t making tackles, and the safeties are the last line of defense. That wasn’t the case yesterday. The case for this happening was that Landry and Bethea were filling the running lanes quicker than the linebackers were. Now, does this pose another problem? No, Freeman played well yesterday and Sheppard did okay for his first start in Indy. Bethea and Landry played like mad men yesterday which is exactly what we all hoped would happen. So be happy that they had that many tackles.
The defense did exactly what they said they were going to do this year. They stopped the run. The shoved it back in McFadden’s face yesterday. Their problem was they didn’t have a plan for Pryor. If you take Pryor out of the scenario, I think the defense played stellar. Obviously we can’t take him out of the scenario but what we can take solace in is that we will see a pure pocket passer next week. Tannehill can run out of the pocket but prefers to stay in and fire the pigskin. A man named Joe (@joefraserXII) on Twitter stated it best, I think: “I’m kinda glad it went down like that because I think it will help them against SF/Seattle etc. good learning experience.” How true, Joe. So lets not hit the panic button just yet, Colts Nation. Our team is 1-0. Celebrate and be happy.