The first of the Colts 3 consecutive home games is in the bag, and with a win over the Jaguars the Colts have extended their winning streak to 3. Ahead of the game we looked at a few specific matchups and how they would impact the outcome of the game. Now we are going to jump back into those matchups and break down how they panned out in this week 10 contest.
Andrew Luck vs Jalen Ramsey
This was definitely a matchup we were intrigued by. It was probably on Andrew Luck’s mind whether he would admit it or not, as soon as the infamous GQ article came out. Once the dust had settled, it was pretty clear who had the better day.
The first score of the game happened early, and Ramsey was the guy who let it happen, according to his coach.
Marrone indicates CB Jalen Ramsey was responsible for the coverage bust on TE Eric Ebron’s 53-yard TD; SS Barry Church was responsible for Ebron’s 12-yard TD. #Jaguars— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) November 12, 2018
Eric Ebron was running free down the sideline with no one near him and gave the Colts an easy 53-yard touchdown to kick the game off.
Later in the game Luck hit Hilton down the left side for a 35-yard completion where Ramsey wasn’t even in the same zip code as T.Y. Whether it was effort, or whether Frank Reich just put the offense in position to expose Ramsey, it was clearly not his day.
Colts Offensive Line vs Jags Defensive Line
Well, this one was a bit surprising. The Jaguars completely destroyed the Colts’ offensive line last season. The Colts gave up 14 sacks to Jacksonville last season. In this game they didn’t give up a sack, extending their streak of games with out a sack give up to four. There was definitely some pressure, but Luck’s pocket was largely clean and he was able to step up and avoid the hits with relative ease. The pass blocking on this line has really developed some swagger, and it is making a big difference.
SCREAMING HELPS. pic.twitter.com/hYkcDAcXJ0— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) November 12, 2018
It wasn’t all perfect, however. The run blocking left something to be desired. The Colts rushed for 81 yards, and 53 of that was on one run from Jordan Wilkins. On the whole, the Jaguars defensive line won the battle up front against the run. They’ll need to be able to consistently run the ball, but if they can keep Luck from getting hit, I imagine they’ll take the tradeoff.
Darius Leonard vs Leonard Fournette
By Darius Leonard standards, this was a relatively quiet and low impact game. He had 8 tackles and 1 for a loss. No turnovers, no highlight reel plays, and nothing really spectacular to speak of. Still, Leonard played a solid game. The real battle did end up being between a linebacker and Fournette, but it ended up being Anthony Walker who really stepped up to challenge Fournette.
The defense was able to limit Fournette’s ground production, holding him to 53 yards and just 2.2 yards per carry. The commitment to stopping Fournette though, allowed Bortles to take a lot of shots at the short-range passing game and move the ball relatively effectively. Fournette added another 56 yards in the passing game and definitely was the focal point of the offense.
If we are comparing impact of the two players, this one went to Fournette in this game, but you can bet this will be a fun matchup for several years to come.
Bortles vs Colts Cornerbacks
This was an ugly matchup. Bortles first score was an 80-yard embarrassment of Arthur Maulet who got completely beaten by Donte Moncrief in his most impressive play in Lucas Oil Stadium. Then Malik Hooker wasn’t able to recover in time to make the stop. It was as impressive a throw as I’ve ever seen Bortles make.
Most of the plays the Jaguars made were less about the prowess of Bortles and more about the failure of the cornerbacks to make good tackles after Bortles hit his receivers for short passes and let them work to create more yards after the catch.
In the 3rd quarter, Quincy Wilson let Fournette run free into the end zone for what might be Bortles easiest touchdown pass of his career. There was rarely a point where a cornerback consistently won their matchups and Bortles had a pretty easy time moving the ball through the air.
The lone exception was Kenny Moore, who had a couple crucial pass breakups and generally played a good game. When your corners make Blake Bortles look like a competent passer, it is time for a gut check. That’s what this group needs, because they did not look good. In this game, Bortles did fine, it was his defense that let him down.