I wish I could tell you that I didn’t see this coming. I thought the Colts would still be able to pull this game out but the Oakland Raiders were a serious match-up issue coming into this game and I thought there was a chance this one could be ugly and it was.
If you were completely shocked by this game and the outcome, I’m just saying, maybe you should read better content leading up to the game.*
*shameless self promotion. Please ignore all of the times I’ve been really wrong.
It isn’t easy to find much to be excited about in the first but Jabaal Sheard is back
Sheard made several plays near the line of scrimmage and he was a welcome addition to a struggling defensive front seven.
We should all Tweet at Derek Carr and thank him
I don’t really have analysis for this. Justin Houston fell on the ball. You know, the way you should when there’s a ball on the ground.
Frank Reich up to his old tricks
This play looked like a split zone run. The Raiders thought it was a split zone run and instead Brissett pulled the ball out and tossed the ball to a sprinting Jack Doyle who got in for an easy six points.
Chris Ballard finds good players pic.twitter.com/M98uGOaFkh— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
Between the plays Willis made tackling and his near interception later in the game, it seems obvious to me that Willis should be starting next to Malik Hooker when he returns.
No idea if this happened in the 1st or 2nd quarter
"He's extremely athletic" things guys that don't know what they're talking about, say. pic.twitter.com/Ccyxe2Sdnn— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
You can criticize Jacoby Brissett for a lot of things, and I’m sure there will be plenty who do. But it’s impossible to deny his ability escape pressure and pick up smart yards on the ground.
Vontaze Burfict, same guy, different uniform
He was ejected for this hit. He will be fined and it’s possible given his history he’ll be suspended. Vontaze Burfict deserves every bad thing that happens to him on a football field and I don’t wish ill of anyone else. Just Vontaze Burfict.
I took a shot at Eric Ebron
If you're getting blocked by Eric Ebron you didn't want to tackle anyway pic.twitter.com/fPpFwkhUC3— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
But this really was a good block. Also it’s pretty cool to see the fact that the three impact blocks on this play came from three Colts tight ends. Mo Alie-Cox gave up some ground to a defensive end, but he stayed in front of his man and gave Marlon Mack a chance to pickup yards. You can’t ask for much more from your tight end room on this play.
I’ll be excited to stop recording field goal attempts
Even though it was short, it appears Adam Vinateri has fixed the issues he was facing early in the season.
Didn’t get pressure nearly often enough
Get pressure, force bad throws. The formula is simple. pic.twitter.com/WJFJ2KQF68— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
I took some heat for calling the Colts pass rush “inconsistent but ultimately productive” earlier in the season. Again, sometimes being right isn’t much fun.
The Colts come out and call a flood concept to attack all three levels of the Raiders zone defense. Brissett read the play well and hit the open man for a nice gain.
This play should look familiar
Same concept, slightly different result, still a nice gain.
Could have done without this
Parris Campbell has been about what you expect from a second round rookie WR. Wide Receivers usually take time to develop into effective players and Campbell is proving that to be true. He has made some catches, made some plays, the fumble isn’t indicative of anything other than he needs to improve his ball security. Eventually this guy is going to break out, we might have to wait a while, but he has all of the tools and given what we’ve heard about his work ethic, I wholeheartedly believe it is coming for Campbell.
Amazing. The fortitude of Frank Reich. pic.twitter.com/xwSlv1lLmQ— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
Pascal had a big game. Unfortunately it came in a loss but the second year pro has had a big impact in the box score the past couple weeks.
People were upset about this miss
You can't even be upset with this miss. 57 yards is insane. pic.twitter.com/yYOdgjiX4k— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
Our 46 year old kicker who had the two worst games of his nearly 2.5 decade career earlier this season missed a kick from 57 yards. Imagine missing a 57 yard field goal. Somewhere a 72 year old Tom Dempsey is rolling his eyes.
The officials let the DB’s play in this one
Nice play by Ya-Sin. No flag. Got the incompletion. pic.twitter.com/N11aK4P1T5— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
For most of the day there weren’t many flags thrown in the defensive backfield. Ya-Sin had good position and didn’t let himself get beat. He needs to do a better job not letting his man get that step on him but otherwise this rep ended in an incompletion.
Our lone play in the 3rd quarter
Great back shoulder throw and catch pic.twitter.com/PD14htVgvn— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
Brissett threw this ball up so that Chester Rogers could turn around and make this catch before the defender knew anything had happened. It was an accurate pass that put the ball in a place where only his receiver could get it and Rogers made a great play to go up and get the ball.
Nine minutes left, on your own 18
I really hate this call but I can't really start questioning Reich now. pic.twitter.com/mLecW7rTHO— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
It worked out and I can’t really start questioning Frank Reich now, but eventually this will hurt the team. Though given the flow of the game, if you punt this ball away, the Raiders may not have given the Colts another chance in the fourth quarter.
This guy has been contributing on special teams and in the run game, giving 100% effort all the time. Seeing him make catches and watching his team first hard work pay off is really cool.
Brissett with another escape and smart play for positive yardage
Jacoby Brissett is tough to sack. pic.twitter.com/BtHHIOYvbN— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
Having a quarterback who can do this a few times a game is huge in today’s NFL.
It wasn’t a special route
Chester might have redeemed himself... maybe. pic.twitter.com/BMXUhEhYlg— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
But it was effective. Brissett threw the pass low and away and made sure to protect this ball while Rogers adjusted to the pass and hauled in a touchdown the Colts had to have.
The Colts defense was bad
But Jabaal Sheard came up big on this 3rd down stop that gave his team a real chance to go down and tie the game with just under three minutes remaining in the contest.
Brissett’s pick six
A lot of people are going to point to this throw and tear Brissett down. I understand the desire to do that but it’s shortsighted.
Another angle of the Brissett INT. pic.twitter.com/5KcrlO12ST— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 29, 2019
Rich Gannon, though terrible for most of the day, offered solid analysis on this play. Brissett is still an inexperienced passer in the league. It’s tough to remember that but he really is. This is a great play by that defender and there are a lot of quarterbacks that throw this interception on this play. Sometimes the defense calls a perfect play. Sometimes the defense executes perfectly. And sometimes your promising young quarterback throws an interception that seals the game for their opponent.
Don’t overreact. It’s one game. Brissett didn’t play great but this was the lone mistake he made in a game the Colts had no business being in that late in the fourth quarter.
I said it wasn’t over
I was wrong. It was over but this play was still nice to see.
This is what I said in my final look at the Raiders last week:
So far this season the back end of Matt Eberflus’ defense has looked much different than what we saw in 2018. Malik Hooker has been tasked with playing more single high coverage, something he excels in while the team is playing significantly more man coverage. The Colts’ issues on defense haven’t been with the pass as much as they have struggled to stop the run, ranking 13th in passing yards allowed and 20th in rushing.
With Hooker set to miss extended time, Eberflus is going to have to go away from the single high looks that Gruden had yet to see and revert back to more cover 2, man cover 2 and quarters coverage, like we saw in 2018. When you couple that with the fact that the Raiders offensive line is their strongest position group on that side of the ball and their stud rookie running back, all of a sudden this game doesn’t seem like such a walk in the park.
After all of that I still have more concerns. T.Y. Hilton has drawn more targets (25) than the next two players (Eric Ebron 11, Nyheim Hines 10) combined. If Hilton is unable to play Jacoby Brissett is going to have to find a new favorite target and fast. The other concern I have is that despite the feeling all Colts fans are riding after their week three performance against the Atlanta Falcons, not many are taking into account just how many times the Falcons bailed the Colts out with penalties. The Falcons had 16 penalties that gave the Colts 128 additional yards compared to the 39 yards the Colts gave up on their four called penalties. Seven times the Falcons committed penalties that resulted in a first down for the Colts. They negated one first down of their own on an offensive pass interference call late in the third quarter. The Colts were bailed out by penalties eight times that resulted in either a first down on offense or a negated first down for the defense.
Pretending that didn’t have an impact on the game is foolish. Pretending we can count on such a lopsided number of flags going against every opponent this season is foolish. This Raiders game is trouble.
Now I’ve said all of that to say this; this Colts team, even without Hilton, Hooker and Darius Leonard (if he doesn’t clear concussion protocol) is a far more talented team than the Oakland Raiders. They’ve played better football on offense and defense. Frank Reich has coached offensive circles around Jon Gruden in 2019. I think in the end the Colts pull this game out, but it has a chance to be very ugly.
It’s always disappointing when the Colts lose but I can’t say I didn’t see this as a possibility. I also predicted the score would be 31-27 with the Colts on top. I thought the Colts would get it done, I was wrong about that but I was a missed 57 yard field goal away from getting the score right, just in reverse.
There were a lot of big plays for our Colts but there were more for the Raiders. Don’t panic Colts fans, we’re going to lose to the Chiefs next week and get healthy over the bye. If you gamble, watch for Jared Malott’s advice these next few weeks. I feel like Vegas is going to overreact to this and the Chiefs loss and Colts fans will have a chance to make some smart bets in the middle part of the season.