What Went Wrong On The Colts’ Blocked Field Goal That Led To Their Loss To The Titans?

What Went Wrong On The Colts’ Blocked Field Goal That Led To Their Loss To The Titans?

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What Went Wrong On The Colts’ Blocked Field Goal That Led To Their Loss To The Titans?

In Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Titans, a 46-yard blocked field goal was the difference. What went wrong on Adam Vinatieri getting his second blocked field goal of the game?

Zach Bolinger | Getty Images


INDIANAPOLIS – The calendar no longer reads September, or October, or November, yet the Colts’ refusal to make any changes to their place-kicking unit continues to cost them football games.

A season-long issue showed up again on Sunday, albeit in a different, yet equally as excruciating, way.

Sunday’s kicking problems were not completely on the Hall of Fame shoulders of Adam Vinatieri. Vinny was wide right from 55 yards and got a 53-yarder blocked, on a kick that had no look of going in. So, yes, you do expect an NFL kicker to make 1-of-2 indoors from those distances.

But the bigger story in Sunday’s loss to the Titans came from Vinny having no chance to connect on a game-changing 46-yard field goal with 5 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.

That was when the Colts field goal protection unit allowed multiple free Titans rushers into the backfield for about as easy of a block and return you will see in the NFL.

In looking at the blocked kick, you see the Titans use 6 rushers to the right side of the Colts’ formation, where just 4 Indianapolis blockers are aligned. With the numbers in Tennessee’s advantage, the Colts four-man grouping on the right side of Quenton Nelson, Grover Stewart, Margus Hunt and Anthony Castonzo broke down.

That occurred between Hunt and Castonzo, the two widest blockers.

Afterwards, Hunt took the blame for letting in a free rusher, even though he was already occupied with blocking another Titans defender.

“I single handedly messed it up,” the veteran Hunt said. “I got caught up on a guy who I should haven’t been caught up on.”

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Frank Reich said the Colts should have blocked ‘inside-out’ there, and forced an outside rusher to cover more ground in order to get a potential block.

“(The Titans defender) should not get through that (D-gap),” Reich said of the blown assignment.

Even though the Titans rushed 9 guys, against the Colts’ 9 blockers, they still were able to execute the block and easily return it 63 yards for the game-changing play.

With the Colts having gobs of issues in the placekicking department this season, they’ve seen overloads on the side where Vinatieri must kick it.

“It’s the way they’ve been attacking us and especially me, with everything that’s been going on (with the field goal operation),” Hunt added.

Earlier in Sunday’s loss, on Vinatieri’s other blocked kick (which wasn’t a good kick to begin with), you can see the Titans also overloading the side where Vinny is kicking towards.

In total, Vinatieri missed 3 kicks on Sunday (2 were blocked), with his miss total now rising to 14 on the season. That’s a career-high with 4 games remaining. Vinatieri has missed 6 extra points and 8 field goals.

 

The year-long issues this operation have faced since Week 1 are still showing up in Week 13, and they now have the Colts nearing elimination from playoff consideration.

 

“We’ve got to do better," Vinatieri said after the Colts lost their 4th game in the last 5 weeks. "I mean that’s all there is to it. There’s a lot of little things that have to be cleaned up I think. We have to look in the mirror and make sure we all do it.”

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