The tale of the first half is one part defense and another part officiating. It has grown to epidemic levels of awfulness and is really starting to take away from the product the NFL is putting onto the field. Another woefully wrong call against the field goal unit, which will likely get another “apology letter,” gave the Broncos a chance to keep an offensive drive alive.
Adam Vinatieri badly missed a 45 yard field goal that would leave the game tied only to come back and hit a 55 yard attempt at the end of the half.
Numerous calls that have been made against the Colts secondary are ticky-tack at best and the calls are not going the other way. One Colts drive ended on a Jacoby Brissett attempted pass to Eric Ebron with a Broncos defender draped on him. Importantly, well before the ball arrived the Broncos defender grabbed Ebron’s right shoulder and pulled it away from the play.
This was a no-call that would have kept a Colts drive alive.
With that said, there has to be something Frank Reich does at half time to correct some of the play-calling. There have been signs of life and plays that have worked. For some reason, there appears to be an ongoing hesitation to run the football. Mack has run 8 times for 39 yards and has a 4.9 yards per carry average. Nyheim Hines had a nice run up the middle but Reich gave him two additional runs up the middle on a key second quarter drive that didn’t make any sense.
This game is going to come down to who wins in the trenches. This game will be primarily decided by which team is more effective running the ball. Right now the Colts are running effectively, at least when the calls are semi-intelligent, but not capitalizing on it.
If the officiating isn’t quite as one-side in the second half, the Colts have time to turn this around. Defensive play-makers may need to step up and give the offense a short field to do real damage.