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Reich’s Best/Worst Decisions: Week 9 @Steelers

Tough loss, but this one was not nearly Reich’s fault. He had the Colts in a position to win after losing the quarterback and the center on the first quarter. Reich had a good game.

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Best Decisions

#1: Parris Campbell’s involvement in the game

With T.Y Hilton out for at least a couple of weeks, the Colts desperately needed rookie Parris Campbell to become a productive piece in the offense. The speedster out of Ohio State had his best game yet, finishing with 5 catches for 53 yards and 3 rushes for 27 more. Even though he fumbled the ball twice, Campbell showed his game-breaking speed and made several Steelers players miss. Reich managed to get Campbell involved in the game and the Colts offense looked much more explosive as a result.

#2: Dealing with two offensive starters going down in the first quarter

The Colts lost starting quarterback Jacoby Brissett and center Ryan Kelly due to the injury in the first quarter. For any other team, that would be enough to get the offense out of sync, but Frank Reich made the necessary adjustments to the game plan and Brian Hoyer actually looked decent running the Colts’ offense. The fact that the Colts had a strong chance of winning this game in a hostile environment without 3 of their top offensive players is incredible, and it is mainly because of Frank Reich.

Worst Decisions

#1: Going for it on 4th and 4 to start the second half

The Colts were up 16-13 to start the second half, and after a productive start to the drive, were stopped for 4th and 4 on Pittsburgh’s 35 yard line. This was way out of field goal range for Vinatieri, specially at Heinz Field, so Reich decided to be aggressive and go for it. The Colts offense was without T.Y, Brissett, and Ryan Kelly, so why go for it? Hoyer is a good backup quarterback, but I don't trust him at all in that scenario, especially without the best receiver and starting center. Ultimately, Hoyer fumbled the ball and the Steelers recovered it. Pittsburgh went on to score a touchdown on the following drive. Considering how good the Colts punting unit is, I would have tried to pin them deep, and forced them to go on a long drive.

#2: Challenging DPI on Marvell Tell

Late in the fourth quarter, Rudolph attempted a deep pass to Diontae Johnson that drew a flag from the refs for pass interference, resulting in a 24 yard gain for Pittsburgh. Reich challenged the ruling on the field. To be fair, it did not seem like pass-interference at all. The problem is that the refs simply are not overturning these calls unless there is an absurd amount of evidence that the call was wrong. There is a possibility that Reich wanted to get his defense ready to make a red-zone stop, and instead of just using a timeout, challenged the call, but in the end the Reich just wasted a timeout.

Reich did not have many key decisions this game. He was excellent in keeping the Colts offense in the game after losing two key starters, and had it not been for 3 dumb individual mistakes, the Colts would have escaped Pittsburgh with a win.