This one stings a bit. Up 10 with less than 8 minutes to go and the Indianapolis Colts allow the Arizona Cardinals to get it back. The Colts were a solid team much of the day — they were scrappy, getting pressure on Carson Palmer and were largely very good against the run.
The Colts simply gave up too many big plays and allowed the Cardinals to get back into a game in which they were outplayed through 52 minutes. We can talk about how Chuck Pagano deserves to be fired, or that the Colts didn’t adjust at halftime — or any other issue with the game’s result for that matter — until we’re blue in the face, but this Week 2 game was all about watching the new talent progress as a unit.
With that said, we can all remember some of the plays that didn’t go so well for the Colts, but here we’re going to take a look at some of the better plays of the game.
Our first clip is pretty self-explanatory. The excitement with this play in particular is that it was so early on in the game and the crowd was still pumped up and this only compounded the atmosphere with the Colts’ faithful.
It was second-and-eight, John Simon gets a full head of steam and just abuses the Cardinals right tackle by getting good initial push, and simply being more physical at the point of attack. In my eyes John Simon has been the most impressive signing from the offseason. His motor never stops, he’s consistent and he makes plays. Loving the Simon signing for plays just like this.
Of course the Colts first drive of the game was likely their best of the day as well. The Colts were originally going to have to settle for a field goal, but the Cardinals were called for leveraging on the kick and the Colts were given another shot.
This touchdown from Frank Gore was the second play after the automatic first down following the penalty. After an incompletion to Donte Moncrief in the back corner of the end zone, the Colts dialed up some read-option with Jacoby Brissett.
The beauty of this play is that it doesn’t work with that other quarterback (rhymes with Shmott Sholzien) under center. The defensive end clearly was there to watch the exchange between Brissett and Gore, and there’s no reason for him not to go for Gore with the other guy at quarterback. Nice selling of the fake by Brissett, and nice run from Gore.
Aren’t we all glad Quincy Wilson finally got the start? The rook showed exactly why he deserved to be in the game too. In real time I legitimately thought this was a pick, however, Wilson didn’t quite get his hands close enough together to pull it in.
It was a big play at the time too. Colts are up a touchdown and Wilson gets a big stop on third-and-five. This shows Wilson’s athleticism, his ability to run the route for the receiver and his ball skills in getting up so high for the rock.
It was very impressive live, and I hope that it was just as exciting while you were watching at home.
Here was another one of my favorites from the game, and for multiple reasons. Initially we see Jabaal Sheard get some good pressure off of the edge which forces Palmer to step up in the pocket. The beaty of that, is that there’s no room for him to step into any sort of throw because, both, Johnathan Hankins and Al Woods are all up in his business when he does.
It was a somewhat pivotal time in the game as well. Less than 3 minutes to go in the first half and the Colts were protecting a 7-point lead. Aside from that, why is this so nice to see? Because the Colts rushed only 4 defenders and 3 of them breached the pocket. I can’t remember the last time I saw that from a Colts front-four.
This was only a few plays after the previous one above. This does a great job of showing the read-and-react skills of our rookie safety in Malik Hooker. As soon as Palmer turns his body to commit to the left side of the field, Hooker was already in motion, sniffling and slobbering to get his first interception of his career.
Hooker showed some of his return skills as well and with around 1:22 left in the half, it left the Colts offense plenty of time to make a play to put additional points on the board. A holding call, a sack and a couple incompletions kept it from being so though.
The Colts could have really used a field goal in that spot now that we look back on it.
I’m going to be honest, on this third-and-sixteen I honestly thought the Colts put one of the best sequences together from front to back. Their was less than 6 minutes to go in the third quarter, the Colts were still nursing a 7-point lead, but I thought this would be the turning point.
First John Simon swings in and attacks the center giving Margus Hunt some help with the double team. Hunt waits patiently for Simon to drive the center back and Hunt makes his move to the right. Hunt was able to get some pressure from the interior and forces Palmer to release the ball with huge human in his face.
Though Palmer does deliver the ball accurately, the next portion of this clip is every bit as impressive. Rashaan Melvin is exactly where he needs to be to challenge the catch, but then he doesn’t give up and fights to jar the ball loose and nearly getting rookie Nate Hairston an interception.
I loved seeing this type of resilience all the way through this play.
I’m so proud of Sheard. He really hadn’t done much to get anyone excited about his spot on this defense last week in Los Angeles, but he assisted in getting the interior defensive line another sack. Sheard immediately puts the right tackle on skates and pushes him back into Palmer, again, leaving him nowhere to step up into the pocket.
Additionally, Hasaan Ridgeway BLOWS UP the double team from the jump and all Palmer can do is duck and hope that Ridgeway goes right over the top of him. Again, this looked like a pivotal play on first down with the Colts now holding a 10-point lead with less than 10 minutes to go in regulation.
If this wasn’t enough, the very next play should have been the proverbial nail in the coffin.
Here you can see that Palmer fakes the screen to the left and takes it to the right hoping to get the Colts defense to fall for it. Fortunately, Bostic was the only one who really bit hard on it. Hunt gets some pressure on Palmer, and Sheard stays home here which is exactly why he’s in position to squash this play before it gets started.
This was a second-and-sixteen forcing a third-and-twenty with 8 minutes and change left on the clock. Despite freezing some of the Colts’ defenders with the fake, there were enough in the area to make a play even if Sheard wasn’t the first to hit him.
We understand what happened next, but that doesn’t take away these two plays that were as much about closing out the game as it was showing that the team had a semblance of a pass rush which they desperately needed prove.