INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1075TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.
The Colts recorded their best win of the season on Sunday, in playing their finest 20-minute stretch seeing in quite some time.
What was the good and bad from the Colts (6-3) beating the Titans, 34-17, for their first divisional game of the season?
-Up-Tempo Approach: (Cough, cough), this was exactly the offensive jolt the Colts needed offensively. For their own good, and with the opponent reeling a bit having played so many plays last Sunday, the Colts wisely decided going up-tempo, and using it a whole lot, was the right way to attack the Titans. Philip Rivers thrived in it, going 29-of-39 for 308 yards, leading 7 straight drives to start the game—all of which got into Tennessee territory and had multiple first downs. With some questions personnel wise offensively, the Colts needed to try something different, so they smartly when back to the bread and butter that is using a quicker pace, which helped to get Nyheim Hines involved more, too.
-Blocked Punt: As if the Colts needed more special team highlights in 2020, they added another on Thursday night. It was second-year linebacker E.J. Speed making the biggest play of his young career. A missed assignment from the Titans sent Speed free towards Titans punter Trevor Daniel. Speed did a great job laying out and using his long frame to easily block the punt, which T.J. Carrie recovered for a touchdown. The Colts have largely dominated 4th down this season and they did that on Thursday night.
-Grover Stewart Appreciation: I don’t know if Thursday’s performance calls for Grover Stewart to definitely be listed here, but this is more of a ‘year-long’ appreciation for the big fella. He did have a tackle for loss and recorded an impressive 5 tackles for a defensive tackle. Stewart has emerged from a list of about 12 starters who are playing in a contract year as the guy the Colts have to re-sign this offseason. He controls the middle of the line of scrimmage on a weekly basis.
-Michael Pittman’s Arrival: This is the type of rookie wide receiver performance the Colts never got from Philip Dorsett in 2015 or Parris Campbell in 2019. Pittman had 7 catches for 101 yards on Thursday, and a 21-yard reverse, too. When the Colts took Pittman No. 34 overall back in April, they made it clear that he was more than just a big body/jump ball type of receiver. He looked like a smooth and fluid athlete on Thursday and runs like the son of an NFL running back.
-Rock Ya-Sin: It wasn’t a great night for Rock Ya-Sin in coverage or in the penalty department. Ya-Sin’s been better this season, but hasn’t taken the second-year jump that many in the organization thought he would. It goes without saying how important he will be next Sunday against Green Bay, and in a possible playoff matchup with a Kansas City or a Pittsburgh. If Kenny Moore (ribs) has to miss time, that’s going to thrust T.J. Carrie into the nickel/slot role and mean Ya-Sin will be the definite outside corner opposite Xavier Rhodes.
-Run Defense: I think this is the first time that we’ve placed the run defense in the ‘miss’ category this season. Derrick Henry is Derrick Henry, but he still had a better than average day against the Colts—running 19 times for 103 yards with 5.4 yards per carry. With the Titans down a couple offensive linemen, I thought the Colts control Henry a little more than they did. This isn’t a worry moving forward, but it will be interesting to watch this great matchup again in two weeks.