Well Colts fans, here we are again trying to figure out what happened after a head-scratching loss Monday night to the Tennessee Titans. In a game that was a crucial one to secure their place in the division, the Colts got off to a good start, with a game that looked much less competitive than the first half scoreline.
The Colts went into halftime with a 13-9 lead and the ball to start the second half, against the team that should be the class of the AFC South. That was a pleasant surprise. Then the offense punted on the 3rd quarter and hung the defense out to dry, again. Shortly afterward, the fourth quarter happened and the Colts collapsed like they have made a habit of doing.
Which brings us to winners and losers. I’ll find some winners, I promise.
Have I mentioned how much I like John Simon? At one point I referred to him as the Jack Doyle of the defense on the Colts Cast, but I feel like given Doyle’s season so far, that is more an insult than a compliment, so I won’t do that anymore. However, he is a beast. Listen to this stat line: 11 combined tackles, 1 sack, 3 QB hits, 1 interception, 1 pass defended. Oh yeah, and that interception was taken to the house for a touchdown. Short of forcing and recovering a fumble was there anything else he could have done to contribute in this game?
There is absolutely no doubt that Simon is the best free agency pickup GM Chris Ballard made in the offseason. He might be the best free agency pickup across the whole of the league. He just keeps making plays and is in on everything. I even noticed he had a pretty sweet little spin move that very nearly got him a nice sack on Mariota. Looks like he has been studying hard under Robert Mathis.
Melvin has just kept having good performances to the point where it is fair to ask: Is he the Colts’ best cornerback? 4 combined tackles, 1 for a loss, and 3 passes defended in a game where he struggled with leg cramps is pretty impressive. Melvin is one of the few older players and has bounced around the NFL, but in a year when both he and Vontae Davis have potential paydays coming, it is hard to see what would compel you to pay Davis and not Melvin. Like John Simon, Melvin has been as consistent on the defensive side of the ball as the Colts could ask for, and they need him to keep it up.
Well, the bad news is that he can’t play very well in coverage. The worse news is that he has a tendency to miss tackles and take bad angles when playing the run. But you know it is really bad when he catches a case of T.J. Green disease and starts popping his own teammates. That’s exactly what happened when Morrison crushed Rashaan Melvin instead of the ball carrier Monday night, which eventually resulted in Melvin leaving the field to be checked for a concussion. He was able to return to the game, but few players short of Jon Bostic have made such a strong case for the idea that their position deserves top consideration in the draft as Morrison.
Something is wrong with Jack Doyle. Seriously. A season ago he was as dependable as a Chevy truck (I’m not above shameless plugs, @ me Chevy) . But now he has had about as bad a stretch of games as we have had from any Colts tight end. Dropping the ball has been completely uncharacteristic of him, and his fumble was a killer. I don’t know what is going on, but he has to get it straightened out because he has been a big part of this offense and right now that part is broken. It would not surprise me to learn he is dealing with some sort of injury that is not being disclosed because the guy just has not looked like himself.
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What an upsetting (and gross) way for Turbin’s season to end. Turbin has been extremely effective in the role he has carved out for himself as a short yardage and third down back. He always fights for more yards and seems to have a knack to turn losses into gains. Going down with a nasty elbow injury was not what anyone wanted to see for such a reliable contributor. With Marlon Mack showing he has a lot of untapped potential, this may be the last we see of Turbin.
For a guy who wants to get paid, Donte Moncrief is doing his best to show he doesn’t deserve it. While Moncrief did not have a bad game overall, he dropped a gimme touchdown in the first half. The Colts offense is not in a position to miss out on points, and Moncrief has been a non-factor to this point in the season. As the player who ought to be a solid number two wideout for the Colts, Moncrief actually seems to be moving backward in production. With Chester Rogers looking like he might make a return to play this coming week, Moncrief may be in a fight to keep his job.
Marlon Mack is definitely a loser here. Why? Because his incompetent coaching staff is wasting his abilities. According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, Mack is tied for 2nd in the NFL in runs of 20 yards or more, with just 27 carries.
Marlon Mack is now tied for 2nd in the NFL in 20+ yard runs. On only 27 carries— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) October 17, 2017
The fact that he is not getting used more is absolutely criminal. I don’t want to hear about how he doesn’t have the same capabilities in pass protection. That is complete nonsense. If he can’t pass protect as well as some of the other backs, but he offers the ability to break games open, you better teach your quarterback to get the ball out quickly.
You don’t sit your most explosive player because he poses a possible risk. Especially when I have yet to see Mack put the quarterback in any kind of serious harm. I’ve watched him pick up defenders, and I’ve watched him miss some, but he isn’t giving up untouched blindside hits or anything. Again, let’s just shut that narrative down, it is nonsense. He needs to be getting 10-15 touches minimum every game. Make it happen.