The Colts get their first win of the season at home against the Cleveland Browns. In many respects, though, it was a tale of two halves. In the first half, the Colts came out aggressive with Brissett pushing the ball down the field. The results spoke for themselves, with TY Hilton abusing the Browns secondary for 145 first half yards and a touchdown.
The second half saw the Browns make some defensive adjustments and the Colts came out conservative. A lot of runs, a lot of short routes, a lot of predictability out of the Colts offense. Indianapolis made it very easy for Cleveland to play defense and did all they could to punt away the game.
As a football fan it is very frustrating to watch. Sure, a win is a win but playing not to lose will get you beat by better football teams. Some teams play to put the game away but the Chuck Pagano and Rob Chudzinski led Colts teams do not.
The upside is that Jacoby Brissett was successful getting the ball downfield today. He finished the game 17/24 for 259 yards, 1 passing touchdown, and 2 rushing touchdowns. A very good effort by the second-year backup quarterback on the whole.
His biggest weakness was holding onto the ball too long and taking unnecessary sacks. There are times that he simply does not get through his progressions fast enough and does not locate and utilize his check-downs early enough. He stumbles around in the pocket and ends up finding himself engulfed.
Veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton also saw his season come to life with 7 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown. Donte Moncreif caught two passes for 44 yards.
The biggest disappointment for the Colts pass-catchers in the game was tight end Jack Doyle. For two years he has been the most reliable safety valve in the Colts offense but today dropped two passes that he should have caught and fumbled away a possession on another opportunity. He will want to forget this one and move on.
In many respects, you can completely ignore what you see out of the Colts rushing game. For a whole half of football it was obvious that they were going to sell out to be conservative and the Browns were able to pin their ears back and clog rushing lanes without fear of being punished over the top.
That said, Frank Gore rushed 25 times for 57 yards and a touchdown. Robert Turbin ran 5 times for 18 yards and Matt Jones ran once for 3 yards. Throwing in Brissett’s 5 runs for 14 yards, the Colts finished the day with a total of 92 yards for a paltry 2.56 yards per carry.
While Rashaan Melvin had a good game on paper for the defense, hauling in two interceptions, he also had some big penalties that helped keep Browns drives alive. The defense also struggled against the Browns on the ground. Cleveland rushed for 111 yards on 21 carries — a horrible 5.3 yard per carry average.
Again, not to belabor the point too much, but the Colts play horrible football with a lead. The Browns were on their heels in the first half and the Colts offense had a good game plan that abused rookie safety Jabrill Peppers.
In the second half, they completely got away from everything that worked, they failed to adjust to foreseeable defensive adjustments, and instead of attacking underneath of the deep secondary to continue chunk yardage plays and pick up first downs, they were content with three-and-outs and keeping the clock rolling.
It is a good thing this game didn’t go to overtime because there was no semblance of offensive momentum or rhythm to carry into an extra period.
Colts win 31 - 28.