Despite reports before the game that rookie Quincy Wilson would start opposite Rashaan Melvin, T.J. Green got the nod. He played with a sizable cushion, like he did in preseason, which resulted in Jared Goff’s biggest completion of the Rams first drive to Robert Woods for 21 yards. the defense stiffened up at the end of the drive to hold St. Louis to a field goal.
Veteran backup Scott Tolzien picked up where he left off after an uninspiring preseason. His first pass was badly underthrown and had all kinds of air under it. Trumaine Johnson was trailing the obvious target T.Y. Hilton and look up to catch a soft ball in his gut.
For all of the grief Chuck Pagano gets for one of the most embarrassing special teams gaffes in history, he managed to one-up that ridiculous mistake in the first half. Rookie Marlon Mack made his first NFL catch and took it for over 20 yards to a touchdown. Well... wait, what? No, not for a touchdown.
Let’s be clear here that the official was an absolute embarrassment in his own right for calling the play on the field the way he did. Consider that calling the TD results in an automatic review, which is the safe way to make the call. Instead, he spots the ball short of the end zone and it is clear on the replay that he should have challenged the play.
Instead of waiting to see the replay, Pagano’s offense hurried to the line, snaps the ball, and gets nothing on first down. The next two downs were just as ineffective as the first and the Colts were left to settle for a short field goal. The ineptitude of the Colts coaching staff cost Indianapolis 4 points on a key drive for the offense and stole Marlon Mack’s first touchdown as a rookie.
On the next offensive drive, the line started by opening up holes for Frank Gore. Tolzien then completed a pass to T.Y. Hilton on a crossing pattern only to have Hilton stumble and then have the ball knocked loose trying to reach for the first down. The fumble was recovered by the Rams.
The Rams had the sloppiest offensive line performance in the first half that I’ve seen in some time. Multiple false starts and holding calls did the Rams offense no favors. However, the Colts defensive line looked pretty good overall. Unfortunately, the secondary is getting picked a part and making the defensive line and potential for some pass rush irrelevant.
One of the more surprising defensive stories of the first half is that T.J. Green not only got the start at corner but he took almost all of the reps across from Rashaan Melvin. This has to make you wonder if something is wrong with rookie Quincy Wilson. Green is still being misused in off coverage and shows that, when he is forced to cover receivers downfield, he is a liability.
Similarly, it is painfully obvious how much the Colts miss Vontae Davis. If he was on the field there would be significant improvement in coverage on the outside. Green would be off of the field, Wilson could rotate with Melvin and if Geathers was able to play it is possible Butler could rotate with Hairston at nickel. Missing your best defensive back has a domino effect and Colts fans are watching it today.
The Rams lead the Colts into half time 27-3. Both teams are playing sloppy football but unless the Colts can get their secondary under control, there is no turning back.