John Simon is the Jack Doyle of the Colts’ defense. He just keeps making plays. Whether he was directly making the play or just disrupting things so someone else could, this might be the best pickup of the offseason by Chris Ballard. Nice to see that kind of consistent production on this defense.
Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson are names you are going to be hearing a lot of, for a long time. With that said, these guys are young and inexperienced. There was a lot of hot and cold play for the young defensive backs, one play they are breaking up tough passes or picking the ball, others they are giving up big plays. That is to be expected and it’ll probably continue all season.
Jacoby Brissett is worlds better than Scott Tolzien, but he isn’t Andrew Luck. Brissett consistently was hesitant to pull the trigger on longer throws despite having receivers open. It certainly didn’t help that he had a lot of passes dropped, with Donte Moncrief being the worst offender.
The offensive line did not get much push and the run game never got off the ground against the tough Cardinals defense. Apart from Jack Doyle, no one in the Colts receiver corps was really very worrying to the Cardinals defense. There was never the sense that the offense could move down the field and score effectively, despite Brissett’s abilities. They repeatedly put the pressure on the defense back onto the defense.
Penalties were killers for the Colts. They gave up 70 yards to penalties and repeatedly bailed out the Cardinals or gave them better field position. These are mistakes you cannot make when you are without your franchise quarterback and still hope to win. This team has to be more disciplined in this area or they will constantly lose close games.
Chuck Pagano got thoroughly outcoached again. What was a pretty well-executed game plan in the first half resulted in being completely outcoached after Arizona made their half-time adjustments. The playcalling all through the second half was poor and that is on him. It seems that he simply does not have it in him to be better. Not sure whether that is more an indictment of him or of the person who keeps him on staff.
Overall, this game was a dramatic improvement over the previous week, and there were a lot of things on the defensive side specifically that you can look to and be excited about. However, good teams win close games, and this is not a good team.