INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1075TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.
The Colts are in, although it wasn’t the cleanest performance in Sunday’s 28-14 season finale victory over the Jaguars (1-15).
What was the good and bad from the Colts (11-5) getting back into the postseason?
-Jonathan Taylor’s Historic Day: The 253 rushing yards set a franchise record and marked the 2nd highest total by a rookie in NFL history. And, man, was it needed. The rookie bailed the Colts out from what could have been such an embarrassing loss. Outside of Derrick Henry, there’s no running back playing better in the NFL than Taylor. The production speaks for itself. But it continues to be how Taylor looks running it. It’s the vision, the cutting and then the sprinter speed in the open field that has the Colts believing they can ride Taylor to January success.
-Flash From Kemoko Turay: This was easily the best and most productive we’ve seen Kemoko Turay and the pass rush be here as of late. Turay had 3 quarterback hits and 1 sack in just 15 snaps. Yes, the Jaguars had a backup left tackle in there and a pretty immobile quarterback, but anytime you hit an opposing QB 11 times, it’s notable. We know the Colts can rush from the interior of the pocket, but they need an edge presence to complement things. Turay gave them that to the best level we’ve seen from him this season.
-Shaky Philip Rivers: When a run game produces 273 rushing yards, you don’t expect a ton of output from the passing offense. But you do expect an acceptable level of efficiency from the pass game. That part of the game was not there with Philip Rivers going 17-of-27 for 164 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. It’s the 6.1 yards per attempt that is the cringe worthy number. That’s something we saw too often last season, with the Colts not being able to capitalize on a historic rushing performance. Going 3-of-10 on third down is also a negative mark on how Rivers and the passing offense performed.
-Putting Bad Teams Away: I guess this doesn’t matter now that the postseason is here. But the Colts have been far too inconsistent in games as of late for that to continue in the playoffs. Leading 20-0 on Sunday, the Colts let off the gas pedal and played with some fire deep into the 4th quarter. For this team to win on the road in January, you can’t have the offensive lulls we saw on Sunday or the defense playing passive.
-Hot Rod’s Leg? In going 32-of-37 on field goals and 43-of-45 on extra points this season, Rodrigo Blankenship has had a really good rookie season. But there is a question to be asked on his ability from longer distance. Hot Rod has attempted just 4 kicks from longer than 45 yards this season (49, 50, 53 and 56). He’s 1-of-4 on those kicks, with all of those kicks happening indoors, and two of those coming up short. Now, the kicks haven’t been that far off accuracy wise, but you do wonder how this might impact Frank Reich’s decision making come Saturday, with keeping pace against the high-powered Bills so vital.