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Indianapolis Colts Championship Fever: Week 11

The Colts had an overtime thriller on Sunday when they played the Green Bay Packers in what turned out to be the game of the week. It was one of the Colts toughest contests of the season, as they came out with a 34-31 victory after Rodrigo Blankenship made a 39 yard field goal in sudden death overtime.

Let’s check in on the thermometer this week.


NEGATIVES

Right now the Colts have a lot going for them, and they seem to really be hitting their stride. With that being said, there are always things that teams can improve upon.

One major storyline from this game was the unacceptable amount of penalties that the Colts received, specifically towards the end of the fourth quarter.

The Colts, who were the least penalized team in 2019, took 8 penalties on Sunday for 116 yards in favor of the Packers. Many of those penalties came during the Colts’ final drive in the fourth quarter. They had an opportunity to put the game away, but were called for a constant flow of holding penalties that would set the offense back 10 yards over and over again.

After every single called penalty, the broadcast would show the replay and even zoom in on the hold. While some of them seemed a bit nit-picky, they were all shown as legitimate penalties. There were a multitude of situations where the Packers offensive line appeared to have similar and sometimes even more obvious holds that were not called, but I guess that’s just the human error of a football game. Not much you can do about it.

The only other long term negative that has kind of been a problem all season long is the injuries. They never end for Indy, and it might start to catch up to the team this week in a game against their AFC South rival, the Tennessee Titans.

The Colts did not hold an official practice on Thursday, so the injury report is only an estimation of who would have participated.

Six players were under the did not practice label for Thursday which includes several of the Colts top players on both sides of the ball. Rest is important to getting the players healthy, so I have no problems with the rest, but it is concerning that we are only a couple days from the most important game of the season, and all six players on this list are key contributors to the team every single week.

Not to mention, DeForest Buckner is now on the COVID-19 list, and it was just announced that it is due to a positive test. He will not be available for Sunday’s game which immediately makes it more difficult for Indy to stop Derrick Henry and the Titans offense.

We’ll have to see how everything plays out, but there is a chance the Colts are missing a couple major players this Sunday.


POSITIVES

The defense.

I mean come on. Isn’t it weird being a Colts fan and having the defense be the prime unit for the team?

Don’t get me wrong, the Colts have had some really good defenses over the years but they have been outshined by Peyton Manning and his offenses. Andrew Luck came around and the defense was certainly not the top dog. The last couple seasons, though, the defense is what keeps this team in games.

After giving up 28 first half points to the Green Bay Packers, the Colts were down by two touchdowns with just 30 minutes of regulation football to play.

I thought the game was relatively over, and I was just waiting for Aaron Rodgers to come onto the field and continue to dominate. That wasn’t the case. The Colts gave up just three points in the second half.

They forced two punts, a fumble, and a turnover on downs in the second half, as well as another forced fumble on the second play in overtime.

These second half stands by the Colts defense is nothing new either, they have been doing this for weeks now. They had a similar performance against the Titans in week 10, and weeks ago against the Bengals. The defensive unit continues to impress. Expect more of the same for the remainder of the season.

On the offensive side of things, another strong performance. I obviously mentioned the holding penalties which was honestly the only major negative on offense this week.

Philip Rivers came to play once again and he put up 288 passing yards with three touchdowns and an interception.

Michael Pittman Jr. recorded his first touchdown of the season and his career, after promising his fans on twitter that it was coming soon. He tweeted this after his 100 receiving yard game against the Titans…

Trey Burton had a nice touchdown catch, T.Y. Hilton made some plays, Jonathan Taylor ran for 90 yards, even Jacoby Brissett came onto the field for a few snaps and got a couple first downs.

I’m writing all of this to really show how much of a team effort this was on Sunday. Every single player appeared to contribute in some way in this game. It is this exact type of performance that the Colts will look to for the remainder of the season.


FEVER

The purpose of this series is to offer my thoughts on if the Colts could really compete to win the Super Bowl. They currently sit at 7-3 which is tied by record with the Tennessee Titans for the lead of the AFC South. The Colts are however given the advantage because they have the head-to-head victory against the Titans. That makes this week’s game all the more important. Unfortunately, I feel as though the injury concerns and the official loss of DeForest Buckner this week may be too great and I fear that the Colts could be in for a troubling path to the Super Bowl if they lose to the Titans this week. Keep in mind, they still have the Las Vegas Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers on their schedule, two more tough opponents. As much as the Colts proved this past week against Green Bay, I can’t heat up the thermometer due to my foreboding of what is to come. Biggest game of the year on Sunday, let’s see what the Colts can do.