Colts WR-Michael Pittman runs in the open field.
ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 09: Michael Pittman #11 of the Indianapolis Colts carries the ball as Xavier Rhodes #27 and Mario Addison #97 of the Buffalo Bills defend during the first half of the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Bills Stadium on January 09, 2021 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Hits And Misses: Michael Pittman, Jack Doyle Cap Season With Strong Games

INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s our latest ‘hits and misses’ piece on 1075TheFan.com highlighting the good and bad from the previous game.

For long stretches on Saturday, the Colts looked like the better team but committed too many mistakes to move on in the postseason.

What was the good and bad from the Colts’ 2020 season coming to an end on Saturday?

Hits

-Michael Pittman, Jack Doyle Show Up: Two players who had some quieter moments this season stepped up in the receiving department on Saturday. Jack Doyle had 7 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown and Michael Pittman had 5 catches for 90 yards (plus a carry for 11 yards). Both pass catchers delivered in different ways. Pittman showed more to his game and was a clear focus of the Colts’ offensive approach. It was needed with T.Y. Hilton (2 catches in 5 targets) not catching a ball in the final 50 minutes. Doyle made a couple of critical contested catches and led a strong day for the tight end group.

-Overall Game Plan: This ‘hit’ is more on the Colts’ approach in trying to win this game, and not evaluating specific situations that we’ll get into more below. Frank Reich and Matt Eberflus had strong early game plans that helped the Colts gain control and stay very much in the mix. Now, adjustments were made, and the Bills seized control eventually. But the coaching staff deserves some credit when you dominate in field position (15-yard advantage in average drive start) and time of possession (had the ball for 34:17 to 25:43).

Misses

-Winning Key Situations: And this is where the coaching staff + execution failed. We can point specifically to the red zone, more than anything, honestly. The Colts went 2-of-5 in the red zone, scoring just 16 points on those drives. Buffalo went 2-of-2 and scored 14 points on those drives. The Colts didn’t win 4th down (Kemoko Turay’s idiotic penalty falls here) and had poor timeout management in the second half. While the Colts were vastly better on third down than the Bills, they were outclassed in the most important area of the game and that was the red zone.

-Drops: Entering the playoffs, the Colts had the 6th fewest drops in the NFL this season. Playoff pressure seemed to get to several Colts pass catchers though. The Colts had 5 definite drops and you could say they didn’t come up with another couple of catchable ones. Jonathon Taylor, Michael Pittman, T.Y. Hilton and Nyheim Hines were all culprits. Overall, the pass catching group didn’t do enough for the Colts this season.

-Rookie Kicking Battle: We mentioned the kicking matchup on Saturday (Buffalo rookie Tyler Bass vs. Colts rookie Rodrigo Blankenship) as something to watch. It certainly mattered. Bass connected on field goals from 46 and 54 yards, while Blankenship missed from 33 yards and hit from 30 yards. Obviously, this was a huge aspect to the one-possession game. Hot Rod had a lot of solid moments as a rookie, but he did have a couple of big short misses that led to losses in the season’s first game and the last.

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