Colts had such a long layoff between their first and second preseason games Womens Ryan Grant Jersey
, and with football just getting back we needed our fix soon. Unfortunately, the Colts came out a pretty cold early in this one. Aside from a pass breakup by Matthias Farley on the Baltimore Ravens first offensive play of the night, and a big stick on the next, Joe Flacco largely had his way with the defense.Flacco started the night 7-9 for 72 yards and a 7-yard touchdown pass to John Brown on his three series of the game before handing the quarterbacking duties over to Lamar Jackson.Andrew Luck and the Colts offense didn’t come out with any sort of energy either in their home opener. Luck threw an interception early on after leaving the pocket with good protection, still wasn’t able to find any sort of chemistry with Ryan Grant and struggled to get rid of the ball on time resulting in 2 sacks on his first five drives.Christine Michael was uninspiring, Josh Ferguson was injured early and didn’t return, and the receivers struggled to get separation with any consistency. Unfortunately, after starting out solid in protection, Le’Raven Clark began to have a tough time with the left tackle role.Luck finished his night 6-of-13 for 50 yards and an interception, and I don’t even know if you could say it looked that good.Jacoby Brissett would, however, put the ball in the end zone on his first drive of the night... sort of. Colts’ rookie running back Jordan Wilkins got 4 carries for 21 yards, and Chester Rogers caught Brissett’s first completion which ate up a quick 28 yards up the gut of the Ravens’ defense. The Colts tried to punch it in with Wilkins following several successful runs, but Wilkins coughed it up, but it squirted into the end zone — right into the waiting hands of Rogers. Largely the Colts’ defense did a nice job of keeping Lamar Jackson contained early on in his night. Jackson started 0-4 and when trying to make something happen with his legs almost cost the Ravens the ball with 4:40 left in the first half.Quincy Wilson stepped up to get underneath Jackson as he began to turn upfield and he nearly fumbled the ball. After review, he was said to have been down by contact and he would live to make another play. Fortunately for the Colts, though, on that very next play Hassan Ridgeway busted through the Ravens offensive line and sacked Jackson forcing another punt. The Colts, up 10-7, would get another drive under Brissett before the end of the half. A penalty on the punt return set the Colts back inside their own 10-yard line, but Michael came back into the game and became a contributor. Brissett extended his drive after the 2-minute warning by picking up 9 yards on a third-down conversion, then hit Michael for a short gain across the middle, but couldn’t convert on third down as Kasen Williams got crossed up with Stanley Jean-Baptiste and wasn’t able to get his eyes back on the ball as it hit him in the chest.Jackson earned his first completion to tight end Kenneth Dixon as he now had a chance to lead his own 2-minute drive. Jackson was able to get the ball to mid-field with a little help of the running game, then hit Hayden Hurst along the boundary for a big third-down conversion. Jackson’s wheels got the Ravens to the 32-yard line and Dixon was able to churn out a 12-yard run to get into scoring territory.The Colts defense ended up doing enough, though, forcing three straight incompletions with a little added pressure to force a field goal to tie the game at 10 apiece.Colts leaders at the half:Chester Rogers | 2 catches for 36 yardsJack Doyle | 2 catches for 32 yardsJordan Wilkins | 4 carries for 21 yardsChristine Michael | 7 carries for 21 yardsDarius Leonard | 7 total tacklesSkai Moore | 4 total tacklesHassan Ridgeway | 3 total tackles Youth Skai Moore Jersey
, 1 sack, 2 tackles for lossJohn Simon | 1 tackle, 1 sackColts late-in-half scoring must improve under Frank Reich The Indianapolis Colts have a lot to prove in the 2018 season. It isn’t all on the defensive side of the ball either. Frank Reich enters the fold as both the head coach and play-caller and is inheriting one of the league’s most impressive quarterbacks in Andrew Luck to showcase his offensive system.Most of us believe that Reich will be better than the offensive coordinators of the most recent era of Colts football, but a lot goes into those expectations. Yards per play, third down efficiency, red zone success and a litany of other aspects go into the overall success of the offense.But, there is one specific area in which Reich must be better than those who’ve come before him recently if the Colts are going to win any games this year — scoring late in the half. Putting points up as halftime nears, and at the end of the game has not been a strength of the Colts since 2012. It needs to be in 2018, so let’s look at the bar Reich has to beat going forward.The specific time we’re looking at is the final three minutes of each half. Since 2012 the Colts have really struggled in these three-minute windows with, and without Luck under center. Of course Luck has missed 26 games in his first seven years in the league, but these numbers aren’t limited to his being sidelined as you’ll soon see.Reich will attempt to get these numbers up from the combined efforts of Bruce Arians (2012), Pep Hamilton (2013-2015) and Rob Chudzinski (2015-2017). We can argue about which yielded better results in their time with the team, but this is a broader look at the product that has been accumulated. There is a combination of timing and mentality that comes into play here, and a more aggressive approach by Reich could lead these numbers in either direction. Here’s how the offense has compared to the rest of the league in this time frame.What’s more important than being able to sustain drives, and put touchdowns on the board in the NFL? Not much, especially when considering the potential of getting the final strike of the first half, or putting the finishing touches on a game-winning drive. Trying to find the complete picture, the Colts have been 24th in yards per play, T-20th scoring touchdowns and have compiled a 26.8 percent (T-15th) first down rate. As I mentioned earlier, a lack of aggression may be playing a part in some of these numbers when considering that the team is T-7th throughout this six-year period.With field goals up, and touchdowns near the bottom-third of the league, that tells you about the lack of aggression with past play-callers and maybe just as likely, the approach that Chuck Pagano expected out of the offense. First down percentage wasn’t terrible, but was still just very average for having a top-tier quarterback under center for most of those games.Reich and the Colts’ coaching staff has been stressing situational football all summer. Another major point of interest has been ball control. The two come together at these points in the game.The Colts have been good at avoiding throwing interceptions (T-11th) at these critical junctures in the game. But, they have put the ball on the carpet far too often (T-20th) which leads to lost opportunities and losing close games as a common result.The Colts have lost 19 one-score games since 2012. That’s over 44 percent of their total losses over this time span. More touchdowns and fewer field goals would have gone a long way towards improving that win-loss record.Maybe one of the more disturbing trends with these teams of the past, is the complete lack of protection of Luck http://www.thecoltsfootballauthentic.com/andrew-luck-jersey-authentic
, and jaw dropping sack numbers they’ve allowed. The Colts have given up 52 sacks (29th) at the end of halves, which is only better than the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets. That’s sickening.For a team with average numbers in sacks allowed, that’s two season worth of sacks. The Colts have allowed 239 sacks over the past six seasons, and nearly 22 percent of those have come just in the final three minutes of each half.This is where Reich is going to earn his coaching stripes this season. With all things considered, the Colts defense may not be much help to keeping opponents’ scoring down. It looks to be a bend-but-don’t-break approach under Matt Eberflus’ tutelage, but the Colts have been notorious for giving up big plays in recent years as well.That’s not going to help Luck, and will only put more pressure on him to be a miracle worker, but Luck’s going to need some good coaching in this area of the game as well.In Luck’s career to this point, he’s 17th in yards per attempt (6.7), 22nd in completion rate (57.7%), 15th in quarterback rating and has taken the seventh-most sacks (33) during this high-pressure time bubble in each half. That’s not ideal for a guy who is expected to almost single-handedly carry the team to victory.I’m not a believer in the thought process that all interceptions are created equal, but when considering that he HAS missed 26 games, his turnovers have likely been pretty costly. Only 11 quarterbacks have thrown more interceptions than Luck at these points in the game. Only three of those 11 have better interception percentages, though, so it’s not all bad. Surprisingly enough — or maybe not — Luck has thrown enough passes in his short career that his attempts were very comparable to several of these passers who haven’t missed anywhere near as many games throughout the past six seasons.Anyway you slice it, Luck is going to have to take to the coaching, while the Reich needs to devise a unique, efficient, and aggressive gameplan in order to get this offense over the hump. He’s got a long year ahead of him too. A questionable receiver corps, very little experience in the backfield and a few holes on the offensive line will make this difficult to make a realityBut, if the Colts are going to prove anyone wrong this year, late-in-half scoring will be critical to this young team in stealing a few games throughout the course of the season.