Position Notes: Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots

By the end of the fourth quarter in a one-scoring game, it looked like the same horror flick for The Indianapolis Colts was going to meet the same painful end.

Until Jonathan Taylor’s MVP moment happened.

Sixty-seven yards later, Taylor capped a well-deserved 27-17 victory over the visiting New England Patriots on Saturday night in a loud and noisy Lucas Oil stadium, ending a 12-year losing streak against Boston’s hated rivals.

Behind a dominant ground attack with Taylor and a fantastic performance from the offensive line, along with a formidable defensive performance and another blocked touchdown by EJ Speed ​​and the special teams, the Colts were able to end the streak and the curse. , keeping the Colts in the mix in the AFC playoffs.

Let’s move on to a few ranks and take advantage of this one.

QB – D-

While everything else apparently went well for the Colts on Saturday night, Carson Wentz was downright appalling that night. The statistics line is not pretty either.

Wentz finished just 5 on 12 passes for 57 yards, one touchdown and one interception and was sacked once. His touchdown pass was the easiest achievement he has seen all year, taking a throw from Taylor and returning the ball to Nyheim Hines, who did the rest of the work for the Colts’ opening touchdown.

The Colts quarterback just didn’t have it that night. He attempted to spin the ball a ton in the second half before throwing a misguided pass in a triple cover that Jamie Collins knocked down and Devin McCourty intercepted, setting the Patriots game second.

On a night when the Colts really didn’t need him, Wentz almost gave up the game in the second half.

He did make a few plays with his legs, however, picking up three first downs on the QB sneaks and added an 11-yard scrimmage run to avoid a sack in the first half. He also threw a terrific shot at Zach Pascal for a 23-yard gain in the first half, but other than that he just wasn’t good enough.

RB – A +

I have run out of adjectives to describe Taylor.

He has to be the league’s MVP this season. Otherwise just make it a QB price.

Against a stacked box in the second half, Taylor produced significant distances and then saved his best to last, knocking Dont’a Hightower out in the hole, pulling 67 yards for the game’s sealing score.

Before Saturday’s game, the Patriots knew what the Colts wanted to do and they couldn’t stop them. Taylor ran for 170 yards and touchdown on 29 carries. He’s just an absolute stallion and he keeps improving week by week.

He also had an incredible blitz pickup on Wentz’s 23-yard strike at Pascal, which ended an incredible day for the second-year pro.

WR – C

The script of the game has a lot more to do with that note than anything else, as the Colts have sunk the ball down the Patriots’ throats time and time again.

Pascal made an excellent catch on his 23-yard pass from Wentz for his only catch of the night, while TY Hilton made an excellent play on his 19-yard catch and ran over the middle on a strike from Wentz in the second half, by choosing up a key first down.

Michael Pittman Jr. made a single seven-yard pass before being inexplicably ejected for his skirmish with Patriots safety Kyle Dugger, in which Pittman received a cheap shot from Kyle Van Noy, then his helmet was ripped off and a thrown punch from Dugger before being stacked.

Ashton Dulin did more work as a runner than anything else, rushing twice for 39 yards, including a 37-yard gain on a reaction sweep in the second set of the game, triggering the Colts.

The good news is Pascal was great as a run blocker, as was Dulin. They are willing to do the heavy lifting and it shows.

TE – C-

Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson were really, really good at night running blockers, and they had to be because the Colts were heavy to run.

When not blocking, Doyle and Alie-Cox struggled to do a lot as receivers. Alie-Cox failed to land a possible first-half touchdown on a play he usually makes, while Doyle’s lone catch won no distance.

It was normal in the passing game of the night.

OL – A

You have to take your hat off and hand it over to Danny Pinter; he was amazing.

Last-minute substitute Ryan Kelly who missed the game for personal reasons, Pinter was absolutely phenomenal against a strong Patriots front. He worked really well with Quenton Nelson in duet blocks and showed his football IQ in Taylor’s game-sealing run, picking up the blitz linebacker after slipping a block.

He really created some movement throughout the night which was a bit unexpected. He showed himself really well.

Nelson was his typical elite, constantly climbing to second tier against the Patriots and sealing several defenders in Taylor’s game-sealing run, as was Eric Fisher, who is at his best when working downhill in the running game. .

Braden Smith allowed the only sack of the night, being beaten by Matthew Judon in the speed rush almost immediately after the snap. It really was the only negative play that really stood out as the Colts ‘offensive line repeatedly answered the bell against the Patriots’ physical front.

DL – B +

The Colts’ defense line was very strong against the run on Saturday night, keeping the Patriots running back to just 39 yards on 14 carries, keeping the Patriots out of the ground end zone. It’s pretty impressive overall, considering what the Patriots have been up to on the court throughout the season.

DeForest Buckner started the game fast and never really slowed down, registering a first sack on Mac Jones and really disrupting the racing game, as did Grover Stewart. When they’re healthy and in their game, good luck against these guys.

Taylor Stallworth also had a good game in rotating reps, tying blockers to free Buckner from his sack, and also penetrated well against the run.

On the outside, I loved the way guys like Kwity Paye, Kemoko Turay, Al-Quadin Muhammad and Isaac Rochell played against the race. They established the advantage well and have really fought off the Patriots time and time again. These guys just didn’t generate a pass rush, combining for just two quarterback hits (one each by Turay and Paye) on a night in which the Patriots threw the ball 45 time.

LB – A

Don’t look now, but Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke are riding right now.

Leonard continued his record for the League’s Defensive Player of the Year award against the Patriots, picking up a pass from Jones in the red zone, then adding a wicked stiff arm to Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers face immediately after the pick. for good measure.

“The Maniac” was all over the night, showing off his speed and instinct for punching holes and stopping the Patriots’ hasty attack.

Okereke was there with him, displaying the kind of speed and athleticism the Colts want from him in this position. He’s been so good the last month or so and has been excellent on Saturday, including his diving interception from Jones early in the second half, setting the Colts up for another score.

Zaire Franklin dropped off the Reserve / COVID-19 roster ahead of the game and performed well with a limited number of reps, while EJ Speed ​​showed his key-to-touch burst to help stop the Patriots’ attempts to reach the limit.

DB – A-

Dude, this Colts high school – especially the cornerbacks – is playing great football on the home stretch.

Kenny Moore II had an impressive teaching tape on his field pass break against Meyers, while Rock Ya-Sin broke the lone pass throw from his side of the field on the night, forcing a turnover. on the stockings.

Even on N’Keal Harry’s 43-yard jump with Isaiah Rodgers on cover, the Colts cornerback was in excellent position and tried to play with the ball. These guys are having a blast right now.

Getting Khari Willis back in this one was also crucial. He does so much for run defense as the Colts pivot him into the box and blitz, giving them an extra defender. He was fantastic on the night, even though he dropped an interception.

Andrew Sendejo is really bad in coverage, allowing a road touchdown on Hunter Henry in the fourth quarter, but it’s an absolute missile downhill. Hopefully he and Harry are alright after that monster hit Sendejo lands late in the game.

Special teams – B +

You’re probably reading this note and wondering how a Special Teams unit gets a B + on a night they block a punt for a touchdown? I hear you.

But the fact remains that Colts special teams weren’t good overall, especially in the kicking game. Michael Badgley could receive the boot (pun intended) after this week after missing a kick and being bailed out on a questionable offside penalty on the Colts, avoiding a second miss.

He just has no consistency from 40 meters. It’s time to bring the Hot Rod back and see if he’s able to take over.

The punt stuck though … man, what a play. There was nothing special about that. Matthew Adams just beat his man, arranged and blocked the punt and Speed ​​was the man to land on the football. Bubba Ventrone is going to start having head coach looks and soon, maybe even this offseason.

Do you have any ideas on the position notes for the Colts-Patriots game? Drop a line in the comments section below to let us know how you feel!


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