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5 takeaways from Colts 20-16 loss to Eagles

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Indianapolis Colts v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts traveled to face the Philadelphia Eagles on a rainy day in the city of brotherly love, but the Colts showed a little too much love in this Week 3 matchup. Penalties, yards allowed after contact and missed opportunities in the red zone were the most glaring issues today for the Colts.

The defense, again, did enough for the Colts to get the victory, but the offense was embarrassing inside the Eagles’ 20-yard line and were not taking advantage of Eagles’ mistakes when they needed to.

Plain and simple, the Colts cannot average less than 3 yards per pass attempt and expect to win on ANY Sunday this year. This was as pathetic as I can remember a Luck-led Colts offense being in one game.

Colts didn’t deserve to win today

In total, the Colts notched 11 first downs on the day, they gained less than 175 total yards, averaged 3.6 yards per play, possessed the ball for 20 minutes less than the Eagles and played mindless football when it counted the most. For any team, 11 penalties is way too much, but when most of the penalties on the defense went for first downs and extended Eagles’ drives — in critical situations nonetheless — it makes it even worse.

The Colts played an awful game today, on the road, in one of the most difficult road venues in the leagues, yet still had multiple chances to put this game away. The Colts have themselves to blame for not starting the season 3-0 in a season they were expected to lose them all.

The most telling stat of the day, perhaps, is that the Colts were 1-5 in the red zone. Colts fans should be livid with this performance.

Colts offense missed Jack Doyle’s presence in a big way

Especially early in the game, the Colts weren’t able to get anything going through the air. The offensive line couldn’t sustain their blocks despite often being rushed with only the front four of Philly’s defense, and the receivers weren’t able to gain separation early in their routes.

Andrew Luck’s passes were affected by batted balls as well as getting hit as he released the ball early and often. Additionally, Luck wasn’t even good when he did have time. Without Doyle in the lineup, the Eagles were able to trust their secondary to lock up the Colts receiver corps which allowed their linebackers to play more free and the defensive line to create the push on the pocket.

On top of that, without Doyle, the Colts running game lost the unpredictability that he brings to the play-calling. Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines were largely ineffective in any aspect, only gaining 37 yards on 11 carries. The Colts weren’t able to win enough in the trenches for the running game to create many holes.

Anthony Walker has quietly had a very good start to the season

A player we weren’t even sure would get starting reps when he returned after being injured for the majority of training camp, Anthony Walker, has begun his 2018 campaign very well. Today Walker was very active with 9 total tackles, held his assignments to very few yards after the catch, and picked off Carson Wentz early in the second half which turned into the Colts’ first lead of the day.

Walker has started the season with 23 total tackles and has become quite consistent, both, against the run and in coverage for this young Colts defense. He’s not been Darius Leonard by any stretch, but the chemistry these two are creating at the second level of the defense has been fun to watch develop.

Colts run defense continues to be hit-and-miss

After the Colts front seven put up a stingy front in Week 2, their Week 3 performance resembled more of what they allowed in Week 1 — and then some. The Eagles didn’t have their top two running backs (Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles), but were extremely successful with Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood just the same.

It may actually be defending the running backs in general, as these two earned 54 yards on 6 receptions.

The Colts’ front four slants so hard, and so often — the second level defenders are starting to over-pursue a little too often as well — in this new scheme we’re watching, that this is ultimately what we should expect throughout the season.

The Colts allowed 101 yards on the ground in Week 1, only 65 in Week 2, and today the Eagles put up 152 yards in the ground game. One of the most troubling issues today was how many yards the Eagles’ running backs were able to churn out after contact. That is something that the Colts can control and will need to going forward, because it was awful and likely was one of the core reasons for a loss in a very winnable game.

Too many first downs after contact, and not enough heads up football by the Colts today.

Margus Hunt is playing out of his mind

Is there another way to describe the way Margus Hunt is playing right now? Hunt has been an absolute stud up front for the Colts defense in his second season with the team. Before Hunt came to Indianapolis he’d notched a total of 1.5 sacks in four years with Cincinnati.

Last year he notched a sack with a move to the 3-4 defense the Colts were running, and in going back into a 4-3 base this year, Hunt has already put up 4 sacks this season including his 2 sacks from today against the Eagles. He hasn’t just been getting to the quarterback either, he’s been stopping, and re-routing the opposing running backs which has allowed the rest of the defense to make some plays as well.

The Colts notched 7 quarterback hits, and Hunt played a large role in that effort.