#1: Letting Marlon Mack loose in the second half
Mack exploding in the second half of a game was a common trend last season. In fact, his 5.6 YPC after halftime ranked second in the entire NFL, so Reich’s decision to pound the ball paid great dividends as the Colts offense seemed unstoppable at times, and Mack gained 116 yards in the 3rd quarter alone.
As Brissett will need a couple more starts before he is truly acclimated to the starting quarterback position, having a stout running game like the Colts had on Sunday will be key for winning games early on in the season.
#2: Adjusting the offense to help Brissett
Even though Reich stated that there was not a single play they would call for Luck and not for Brissett, it was evident at times that the Colts offensive plan for Sunday was created specifically for Brissett.
The Colts passing game relied mostly on crossing routes and getting yards after the catch, which is exactly what Brissett excels at, getting the ball to the receiver in a position where he can get extra yards. The Colts, surprisingly, did not call many play-action passes even though the rushing attack was on a roll; perhaps this was to avoid putting Brissett on a position where he would have to hold on to the ball for a long period of time, something he has struggled with.
#1: Calling overly complex blitzes
A play that stuck with me throughout the game was on a 2nd and long, where cornerback Quincy Wilson moved in front of the center and rushed Rivers from the inside. The play resulted in an easy first down for the Chargers and was one of several plays were the Colts tried to get too fancy on blitzes and gave up easy yardage.
The decision to throw Rivers blitzes he’d never seen before in an effort to get him off his game was not such a horrible one, but the execution was very poor, and as a result the secondary struggled on passing downs.
#2: Having safety Clayton Geathers play away from the box
Clayton Geathers is a solid safety, but on Sunday, he looked completely lost on the field. Geathers is a sure tackler that excels in the box against the run, he is not a coverage safety and he struggles playing away from the ball, as he tends to take poor angles in the open field. This was evident on Sunday, where the Colts played Cover 2 throughout the game, asking Geathers to play alongside Malik Hooker in the back field.
There were many rushing plays were Geathers failed to reach his spot on time, allowing the Chargers running backs to run freely, and he also missed a couple coverages. The Chargers exploited Geathers’ inability to properly read the quarterback on passing downs and his impact as a run defender was almost non-existent.