Hits And Misses: Zach Pascal Steps Up Without T.Y. Hilton

Hits And Misses: Zach Pascal Steps Up Without T.Y. Hilton

Blog > Kevin's Corner > Colts Coverage > Hits And Misses: Zach Pascal Steps Up Without T.Y. Hilton

Hits And Misses: Zach Pascal Steps Up Without T.Y. Hilton

Let’s take a look at the good and the bad from the Colts (5-3) falling 26-24 to the Steelers (4-4) in Week Nine.

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.

In their sloppiest game of the season, the Colts (5-3) still had a chance at the end, but they couldn’t pull out the road victory, falling 26-24 to the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-4).

What was the good and bad from the Colts ending the first half of the season with a loss?



-Red Zone Defense: This was a staple from the Colts in the second quarter of the season. Pittsburgh was just 1-of-4 in the red zone on Sunday. Matt Eberflus has his defense playing terrific inside the 20-yard line. We know things aren’t going to be dominant for the Colts defense, but they have to be great situationally in order to play complementary football. That’s been true as of late. After allowing 9-of-12 red zone opportunities in the first four games of the season, the Colts have given up just 5-of-15 the last four weeks.


-Zach Pascal: The new WR1 until T.Y. Hilton returns (yes, seriously) had 5 catches for 76 yards on 6 targets. It was consistent semi-chunk plays from Pascal as well on Sunday. He had impressive catches of 18, 14, 17 and 19 yards. Pascal is one of this team’s most important players right now, given all the responsibility that he has in playing 67-of-71 snaps against the Steelers. Pascal played 21 snaps more than the next wide receiver playing time, which is another reminder of how the Colts think of No. 14.


-Several Defenders Shine: Individually, I wanted to mention a few defensive players that caught my eye. Anthony Walker led the Colts with 10 tackles (1 for loss). Kenny Moore had 8 stops, an INT, a pass defensed and helped out majorly in limiting JuJu Smith-Schuster to just 3 catches for 16 yards. Justin Houston had a sack/forced fumble, which resulted in a safety. And Malik Hooker’s presence in run support was noticed as well. The defensive effort wasn’t perfect on Sunday, but that unit did enough for the Colts to earn a win.




-QB1 Injury: It doesn’t look anywhere near a season-ending injury, but a sprained MCL for Jacoby Brissett on Sunday did knock the quarterback out of a game for the first time in his career. All things considered, Brian Hoyer came off the bench and performed pretty solid (yes, the pick six was really bad), tossing three touchdowns to try and make up for a terrible turnover. After the Colts had been pretty healthy this year offensively, they ended yesterday without their starting quarterback, No. 1 wideout and starting center.


-Pass Protection: For a second straight week, the Colts got beat up front in the pass protection department. While the Pittsburgh offensive line allowed just 1 sack Sunday, the Colts gave up 5 sacks in 31 pass attempts. The loss of Ryan Kelly led me to think that if the Colts had a breakdown up front it would come from mis-identifying rushers or Josh Andrews being overwhelmed at center. Instead, they had 1-on-1 protection issues from their other linemen up front. When you have issues at so many other spots (see more below), you expect better from your team’s best unit.


-Sloppy Colts: The penalties (7 for 89 yards) and the turnovers (3 giveaways leading to 17 Pittsburgh points) were at numbers we aren’t used to seeing from the 2019 Colts. Unlike so much of this season, the Colts were the more undisciplined football team on Sunday. Again, when you are dealing with some key personnel losses, your fundamentals must be present and pristine to earn a road victory. They weren’t on Sunday. And, let's not forget about the kicking issues we saw on Sunday, which fall into this category.


-Darius Leonard: Penalties aside (and that committed penalty to end the first half was beyond awful), Sunday was one of Darius Leonard’s poorest games. On two critical moments (Trey Edmunds running for 45 yards and Vance McDonald catching a 9-yard touchdown pass), Leonard missed opportunities to make a play. Whether it was the wrong run fit or over running a pass play when breaking out of zone coverage, Leonard wasn’t his usual on-point instinctual self. Leonard has set a really high bar for himself, but against the Steelers he didn’t reach that, with no game-changing moments or even halting the important plays mentioned above. In 15 games last year, Leonard recorded 27 ‘big-time’ plays (interceptions, sacks, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, tackles for loss). In 5 games this season, he has just 5 of those plays.

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