Hits And Misses: Malik Hooker Jordan Wilkins Sparks Colts Comeback Victory

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Hits And Misses: Malik Hooker Jordan Wilkins Sparks Colts Comeback Victory

Blog > Kevin's Corner > Colts Coverage > Hits And Misses: Malik Hooker Jordan Wilkins Sparks Colts Comeback Victory

Hits And Misses: Malik Hooker Jordan Wilkins Sparks Colts Comeback Victory

Let’s take a look at the good and the bad from the Colts (1-1) winning their first game of the season on Sunday afternoon over the Titans (1-1).

Joe Robbins | Getty Images


INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1070TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.

For the second straight game, the Colts went down to the final seconds, but this one they got, coming back to beat the Titans, 19-17, in Nashville.

What was the good and bad from the Colts beating the Titans for the 19th time in 21 meetings?

Hits

 

-Defense Closes It: In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s win, I probably didn’t give enough credit for what the defense did in Sunday’s 4th quarter. The Titans gave the Colts a break when kicker Cairo Santos missed a 45-yard field goal early in the 4th, keeping the score at 17-13. But after that the Colts forced back-to-back three-and-outs, and then stopped the Titans following just one first down on their final drive. During this time, the Colts re-took the lead. For the game, the Colts held the Titans to a woeful 1-of-10 on third down. Individually, Denico Autry brought needed interior rush after a quiet season opener, finishing with 2 sacks.

 

-Jordan Wilkins Provides Spark: Leave it to the No. 3 guy on the running back depth chart for the biggest play of the game. The Colts offense was largely stuck in mud when Jordan Wilkins ripped off a 55-yard run with less than 7 minutes to go. Before that play, the Colts hadn’t recorded a run of longer than 10 yards or a pass of more than 20 yards all afternoon long. And then Wilkins slipped through a beautifully blocked run play along the right side of the formation to set-up the eventual game-winning score. Wilkins was needed on Sunday in the Nashville heat to provide more of a breather for Marlon Mack. On a day Mack averaged less than three yards per carry, it was Wilkins providing the game-changing play. Good for him, after a nagging foot injury sidelined the second-year runner for all of August.

 

-Frank Reich Makes The Right Call: It was the right decision, and it once again showed the mentality Frank Reich brings to in-game coaching. He’s going to be aggressive and his players are seeing that. The 4th-and-1 call was the right move. With a pair of first-round picks right in front of a 6-4, 238-pound quarterback, and the heat wearing down the Titans defensive front, if you can’t get a yard, you don’t deserve to win the game. Punting the ball away there would have given Tennessee ample time, with timeouts, to try and get into field goal range. Yes, some coaches would have punted it away, but Reich knew the best chance for his team to steal a road win was to go for it there, and try to eat more clock.

 

-Starting The Division Off 1-0: The Colts will play just one division game in the next two months. So starting the AFC South slate off with a 1-0 mark, including getting a win away from home, is exactly what the Colts wanted in September. We are a long way away from seeing how this division will unfold late in the season. But early returns indicate teams will be hovering around .500, as the AFC South is one of just two divisions in the league without a 2-0 team. A loss for the Colts on Sunday would have become what seems like an annual climb to get back into the division race.

 

-Eric Ebron’s Hurdle Effort: After re-watching the game on Monday, I had to throw this play into the ‘hits’ category. The Ebron hurdle converted a 3rd-and-12 first down for the Colts, and that drive ended in a touchdown (also by Ebron) and an early lead for the visitors. From a purely athletic standpoint, the leap by the 6-4, 253-pound Ebron was extremely impressive. But it was also a play early in a game that deflated the Titans a bit. The Colts immediately went for a deep ball on the very next play and that led to a 46-yard pass interference penalty (via coverage on Deon Cain). At times in 2018, an early drop from Ebron contributed to the Colts playing from behind. This was no drop on Sunday, with Ebron going the extra effort to give his team an important first down, and an eventual win.

Misses

 

-Adam Vinatieri: Hell is freezing over when Adam Vinatieri leads this category for a second straight week. Vinny should have immediately hugged Jordan Wilkins, Frank Reich, and probably a few Titans as well after the Colts came back to win. Vinny attempted three kicks on Sunday, all extra points. He made his first XPA right down the middle. He then duck hooked his second attempt (after Rigoberto Sanchez saved an errant snap). And Vinny’s final kick was pushed to the right, bouncing off the upright and back onto the field. Do not let a win on Sunday cloud the major kicking problem facing the Colts through the first two weeks of the season.

 

-Jacoby Brissett’s Turnovers: It wasn’t all bad for Jacoby Brissett on Sunday. Far from it. But he had issues in protecting the football, and just finding much rhythm in the passing game. Brissett had an INT late in the first half, which ended a Colts’ chance to stretch the lead to two scores at halftime. In the second half, Brissett then had the ball apparently slip out of his hands, which led to a fumble. The Indy defense bailed Brissett out for these mistakes. It wasn’t the same ball security centric QB we saw in Week One. With the offense struggling to do a ton of damage through the air right now, Brissett cannot have the sort of mistakes we saw on Sunday.

 

-Pierre Desir Injury Watch: While we wait for a definite injury update on Desir (who left in the third quarter with a knee injury), it's possible he could miss some time. If that happens, the Colts will test out cornerback depth they feel good about. Kenny Moore is, obviously, an every-down player. Rookie Rock Ya-Sin should move into the starting base defense. Then Quincy Wilson would bump up into the nickel position. It’s a young corner trio with the following ages: 24, 23, 23. The Colts will have to figure out how they want to handle their dime package. Perhaps just a bring third safety onto the field? Other names at corner that the Colts have: newcomer Ryan Lewis (who has only played special teams), rookie Marvell Tell (inactive for the first two games) and Jalen Collins on the practice squad. And, as we found out late Monday, Darius Leonard is now in the concussion protocol after developing some symptoms following the win.

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