Colts Folding Late In Games Across Every Unit

Colts Folding Late In Games Across Every Unit

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Colts Folding Late In Games Across Every Unit

In Sunday’s 38-35 loss to the Buccaneers, the Colts blew another 4th quarter lead. What are the issues in the game’s final quarter?

Tim Warner | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – Time and time again last season, it was the Colts making the plays late in games.

As they went on to win 9 of their final 10 games, Frank Reich’s 2018 bunch routinely found the plays to comeback in games, and put teams away in the final period.

That has not been the recent trend in 2019, and it now has the Colts on the brink of playoff elimination.

“We’ve been in a little bit of a rut, not making plays to finish games,” Reich said after the Colts lost their 5th game in the past 6 weeks, with 4 of those coming in contests the Colts had a 4th quarter lead. “This is a few games in a row now where we’ve had a lead in the second half and not been able to sustain that. So we all got to get that corrected.

“At the end of the day, what really counts is making enough plays to win a ball game and that’s what we are struggling with right now.”

Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers was the latest example of the Colts folding down the stretch.

5 things learned from the Colts blowing yet another 4th quarter lead

Offensively, the Colts continue to be anemic in finding the game-defining drives ending in points. Sunday’s three fourth-quarter offensive drives for the Colts ended with a missed field goal from 47 yards, a Nyheim Hines fumble in field goal range and a turnover on downs.

Jacoby Brissett’s lack of production in the game’s final quarter continues to be an issue. The Colts had just 2 first downs (1 of which was via penalty) in the three drives.

Frank Reich commented afterwards on the final offensive drive, saying that the Colts were not surprised to get straight man coverage on 3rd-and-2 and 4th-and-2.

They just failed to execute.

“We talked about it last night, this game was likely going to come down to the last drive,” Reich said after the loss, explaining the message from Saturday night’s team meeting. “We are going to get blitz zero, which we did, and we wanted to be able to execute and make those plays to win the game. And we didn’t get that done. And that’s all of us, coaches and players. Obviously, we didn’t have the best calls and didn’t execute them the way we wanted to do.”

For the defense, allowing 10 points in the 4th quarter (sandwiched around an interception) to the Buccaneers still offered opportunities for them to take the game and come up with a critical stop.

That unit can point to several chances early in the game that could have avoided so much game-pressure late. On three different occasions on Sunday, in each of the first three quarters on Sunday, the Colts built a double-digit lead. And, right on cue, the Indy defense allowed a touchdown drive (the drives went 75, 80 and 75 yards).

Still, a chance to erase all of that and hold onto another 4th quarter lead went begging.

In three straight weeks, the Colts have allowed 10, 24 and 17 unanswered points to lose games.

No Andrew Luck/no T.Y. /Hilton, not enough defensive consistency and nightmarish kicking issues are leading to the Colts letting games they really need slip away.

“I take responsibility for that, no doubt,” Reich said on Sunday.

“I do believe in the guys we got. I believe we are practicing the way we want to practice. I believe our attention in meetings, and our process, I think that’s good. And I believe in our players. At the end of the day, that’s on me. That’s 100 percent on me. I’ve got to get that right.”


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