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Colts Weekly Recap: Week 1 Indianapolis at Buffalo Bills
It’s hard to put to words what I witnessed watching the Colts take on the Bills on Sunday. I wanted to give myself a day to ponder the game so that I didn’t write this completely upset and angry about the performance the Colts gave, no matter how pathetic it may have been. Instead, I am going to point out the areas that they need to work on and areas that they did pretty well.
The game started out as I had expected, the Colts received the opening kickoff and were marching the ball down the field. There was a quick snap and Andrew Luck hit Dwayne Allen for a long pass down the middle of the field that would have put the Colts inside the Bills’ red zone. However, there was a holding penalty which brought it all the way back, and made it first and twenty on their own side of the field rather than being in scoring position. Then, another penalty, a false start, which pushed the Colts back another five yards. After that, the Colts just couldn’t find their rhythm in the first half.
The Bills had some issues moving the ball early on, but then they found their running game and were able to move the ball steadily on the Colts the rest of the game. Once the Colts were put to sleep with the Bills’ running game, quarterback Tyrod Taylor let one fly for wide receiver, Percy Harvin, who was able to get under and catch the 51 yard bomb for a touchdown. The Bills were able to add another touchdown and a field goal to go into half time up 17-0.
The Bills received the ball after half, and methodically drove the ball down the field and scored yet another touchdown, taking a commanding 24-0 lead.
Finally, it was the Colts’ turn. They were very good on an 18-play 65-yard drive to score their first touchdown of the game. The Colts also opted in going for the two-point conversion, which they did convert. However, they’re drive took the game clock almost to the end of the third quarter which would mean there was only 1 quarter left to make this comeback; they needed a fast stop. The Colts were able to stop the Bills and force them to punt, when the play that made the improbably comeback nearly impossible. Rookie, Phillip Dorsett muffed the punt, and the Bills were able to recover. It was the second muffed punt by Dorsett in the game, but he was able to recover the first one.
The Bills were able to take advantage of the short field, going negative one yard but still putting three points on the board. The Colts were again down three scores and needed to score in a hurry. Score in a hurry, they did. It only took them about two minutes to score another touchdown, however they were unable to convert the two-point conversion this time.
With only six minutes left in the game, the Colts tried a pooch kick (they lined up as if they were going to attempt and onside kick, and kicked in between the players up to recover it, and the one man back deep). However, they were unable to recover. From there the Colts were not able to score again, and the Bills were able to keep the Colts from having many more opportunities with their great running game.
Bills win 27-14.
On a scale from 1-5 (1 being the lowest) how worried are you about the Colts?
The Colts did not play well in this game, but you really can’t take anything away from the Bills. They are a very good football team. I was suspect of their quarterback since he has never started an NFL game, and he hadn’t thrown a touchdown pass in his career yet either. However, Taylor has at the very least shown that he can be a starting quarterback in this league. He is a very athletic quarterback, but despite that he still looks to pass first. That along with the fact he has one of the best running backs in the league, who is backed up by an outstanding rookie, and having one of the best defenses in the league, the Bills are going to do some damage in the league this year. I was really hoping the Bills weren’t going to be put together this early in the season, however they seem to be one of the most ready teams.
Where are the holes in the Colts team?
The Running Game on Offense and Defense
I’ll start with the Defensive side of the ball because it’s the same issue that has been happening ever since I can remember with the Colts, they can’t stop the run. This year, they are starting two rookies on the defensive line, which could be part of the issue, but at the same time, you still have to stop the run. The tackling by the Colts in this game was awful and that needs to improve as well.
On the Offensive side of the ball, the Colts just need to run the ball more. Chuck Pagano mentioned that the looks they were getting weren’t allowing for them to run the ball. Typically when you have 8 or more people in the box (the imaginary area in between the offensive tackles) you throw the ball, because that means that you are going to have many of 1-on-1 matchups. However, there are times you have to still run the ball in that situation. The main reason being, you have to keep the defense honest; you can’t let them decide for you that you’re going to throw the ball.
Receivers have to win 1-on-1 matchups
This could have solved many of the issues for the Colts on Sunday. The Bills defensive backs simply outplayed the Colts pass-catchers. The Bills played a lot of man on man defense and the only way to be successful is for someone to get separation from their defender and make a play. If a receiver or two could have gotten off the ball and beaten their man consistently, the Bills would have been forced to drop more players in coverage, which would have opened up the running game.
The Special Teams unit as a whole was not good at all on Sunday. Adam Vinatieri missed a field goal (it was a 52 yard field goal in the rain, but still), Phillip Dorsett muffed two punts, and Donte Moncrief took a kick off out of the end zone and slipped, giving the Colts the ball on their own four yard line.
There are a lot of wasted opportunities just in the special teams, and changing some of those plays could have been the difference in the game. If Dorsett doesn’t turn the ball over on the punt, the Bills have 3 fewer points. If Vinatieri makes the field goal, it’s likely the halftime score is 10-3 instead of 17-0. The game would have been played completely differently. Would the Colts have won? Probably not, because the better team on Sunday was the Bills, but they may have had a chance.
What did the Colts do well?
When the Colts got in rhythm, they were able to move the ball pretty easily down the field. They were able to throw the ball and run it pretty effectively when they did move the ball. The biggest issue is they weren’t consistent. If they can get some of their other issues figured out, I do believe this can be a very solid team. The Colts are playing another good defensive team next week in the Jets, so we’ll see how they do.