With the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens tied at 10 apiece at the half, the Colts received the second half kickoff. And it just keeps getting worse for Colts’ gadget player/return man, Nyheim Hines. Once again, Hines coughed up the ball on a return (he actually recovered one of his own fumbles earlier in the game) and this time it led to a touchdown for the Ravens.
This is a situation that needs addressed in some way or another. This can’t be the Colts’ answer to their return game.
Jackson got some initial yards with his legs, and finished with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore in the back corner of the end zone. Chris Milton was in coverage, and was there to challenge the catch about as tightly as you could hope for, but Moore hauled it in despite being in heavy traffic.
Just like that, the Colts were down 17-10.
The Colts started their next drive with three penalties; a holding call on Braden Smith, a block in the back by Seantavius Jones and a delay of game penalty on Brissett. Simply put, the Colts looked awful immediately out of the locker room.
Matthew Adams tried to get the Colts back in it, though, as he was there on an impressive punt return from Janarian Grant as he stripped the ball and gave it back to the Colts offense. A nice play for the rookie when he could be in line for a roster spot in the coming weeks.
Brissett attempted to energize the Colts firing a bullet to tight end Ross Travis for a big 22-yard gain across the middle of the field. Brissett led the Colts to the 16-yard line and went for the throat targeting Zach Pascal in the end zone drawing a pass interference penalty.
The Colts couldn’t close, though. Wilkins was dropped for a short loss, then Daurice Fountain couldn’t handle a low Brissett pass and a fade to Travis was thrown too early and off target. Frank Reich chose to go for it as well, to no avail and no points on a promising drive for the Colts when they really could have used points.
This is something that we should expect to see more of with Reich’s willingness to be aggressive in the red zone, but we’ll hope for some better execution in the regular season.
The Colts were able to stymie the Ravens next drive with some very solid play from Matthew Adams who added quality tackling, Tyrell Adams forced some pressure on Lamar Jackson and Quincy Wilson broke up a third-down pass intended for Jordan Lasley.
Austin Howard showed us why he’s been struggling to stay in the competition at right tackle as well. Immediately on the Colts following drive he became a negative piece giving up a sack, a pressure and was flagged for holding which ultimately killed any hope at a quality drive early in the fourth quarter.
The final quarter of the game was quite difficult to watch. Jordan Lasley beat Lashard Durr down the sideline for what would have been a 30-yard touchdown from Robert Griffin III, but Lasley couldn’t haul it in. Again, the Ravens settled for a field goal to extend their lead to 20-10.
For all of the mishaps, second chances, fumbles causing the Colts to get away with allowing field goals instead of touchdowns, there was a lot of luck involved in that. The Colts should have probably been down by at least two scores at this point.
There was a bright spot in the Colts receiver corps though late in the game. Rookie Steve Ishmael added a couple very nice receptions for 52 yards including a 39-yard catch over Jean-Baptiste on a 50-50 ball. The Colts were able to put another field goal on the board to get it back to a one-score game at 20-13.
With Grant looking lost half the time, K.J. Brent and Krishawn Hogan currently sidelined with injuries, having Ishmael emerge as a viable No. 4 or 5 receiver would be a very welcome situation.
Hassan Ridgeway added a second sack, Tarell Basham finally had a standout moment blocking a punt, Zach Pascal added a fantastic touchdown catch with 2:24 to go in the game — to make it 20-19 Ravens — which you could say added a bit of positive to such a lackluster preseason performance overall from the Colts.
Jacoby Brissett finished 15-of-26 for 189 yards and aside from his lack of touch he had a pretty good night all things considered. The Colts passers, though, didn’t throw a single touchdown, the running game was quite uninspiring as a unit and the Colts have a real issue in the return game with Hines back there.
The Colts looked very sloppy for large stretches in this one, and maybe the largest issue was how they came out of the locker room in the second half. Missed opportunities, a serious lack of execution and quite honestly, an obvious need for more talent on this roster.