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INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1070TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.
The Colts are on the brink of playoff elimination after the Buccaneers came back to beat them, 38-35, in Week 14.
What was the good and bad from the Colts (6-7) losing their fifth game in the last six weeks?
-Marcus Johnson Delivers Some Chunks: Who would have thought 13 games into the 2019 season for the Colts, their two 100-yard receivers have been Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson. The inability to create enough chunk passing plays has been a problem for the Colts all year long. Well, Johnson provided some big ones on Sunday. He caught a 50-yarder and a 46-yarder, while also drawing a 45-yard pass interference penalty. Job well done by Johnson in coming off of the practice squad last month and sparking this offense a bit.
-More Chances Taken From Jacoby Brissett: Going along with the point above, we did see some good moments from Jacoby Brissett on Sunday. Brissett took chances down the field early on and made some tremendous plays in keeping things alive with his feet. We’ve been saying all year long that ‘good things can happen’ when you take some shots down the field. Those opportunities on Sunday helped the Colts score 35 points and play from ahead for virtually the entire game.
-Zone Coverage: This was a ‘miss’ far too often in 2019. We’ve seen the Colts evolve defensively in 2019. More man coverage has sparked better moments from this defense. But Sunday brought too much zone, and not enough effectiveness from that coverage. Of course, the help in the pass rush wasn’t there either, with the Colts sacking Jameis Winston just one time despite him dropping back nearly 50 times. Even with top receiver Mike Evans exiting at the end of the first quarter, the Colts couldn’t slow down Tampa’s passing game at all.
-4th Quarter Finish: For a third straight week, the Colts were boat raced in the game’s closing stretch. And every unit is to blame for the failing in the final quarter. You had a missed field goal, the defense was unable to get stops and the offense barely moving the football. The Colts have now lost 5 of 6 games, with leads in the 4th quarter of all of those contests. Playoff teams find ways to win games late, but the Colts haven’t found that and it’s why they will likely be starting their off-season vacation before January arrives.
-Dominant Offensive Line: You won’t see this unit high on a list for reasons of why the Colts lost to the Bucs. But it still should be noted how this group got owned in the ‘strength vs. strength’ battle on Sunday. The trio of Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins combined for just 40 rushing yards on 18 carries. Yes, the Bucs entered Sunday ranking 2nd in the NFL in rush defense, but that still doesn’t excuse the Colts’ backs for averaging just 2.2 yards per carry. An offensive line that continues to start every game together this season couldn’t find any sort of meaningful production.