The Colts have won six of their last eight games including a dominant 44-27 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders last Sunday. With only three games remaining on the season, the Colts hold the second of three Wild Card spots heading into week 15. The Texans, Steelers, and Jaguars are the three teams remaining on Indy’s schedule. Going 2-1 in these last three games should put them in the playoffs, but 3-0 would give them a shot at winning the AFC South.
Let’s check in on the thermometer coming out of week 14.
I want to start with the negatives this week because quite frankly, there are not too many negatives to discuss.
Coming off a week where the Colts had five sacks against the Texans, the Colts had zero this week. While there was some pressure on the quarterback from time to time, Indy never got to the quarterback and only recorded two QB hits.
Defense is a full 11-man effort. Every single guy has a job, and when the defensive line can’t get to the quarterback, he has more time to throw. When he has more time to throw, his wide receivers have more time to break away from their defenders and get open for a catch.
Bottom line is, Derek Carr had over 300 yards passing in this game. Granted, a bunch of those yards and a touchdown pass came in garbage time at the end of the fourth quarter.
I don’t believe this to be a serious problem whatsoever for the rest of the season, but it is imperative once the Colts start playing strong playoff teams for them to pressure the quarterback and give them little time to make a play.
The only other thing I have for the negatives this week is that DeForest Buckner was limited in practice on Thursday. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure he will play and I am sure this limited participation is just to give him time to heal up a bit, but he has to stay game ready.
It is just a slight bit of caution because we know after the Titans game a few weeks ago just how important Buckner is to this team. His health is of the utmost importance, so getting his ankle healthy should be a priority for Indy.
If you watched the game, you know just how dominant the Colts played on Sunday. It felt like they could not be stopped on offense, and the defense made multiple impact plays that gave momentum to the Colts and ultimately put the game away.
Starting with the defense, I had already mentioned the one negative that came with them. However, Kenny Moore put a stop to the Raiders' offensive energy with his impressive interception in the end zone.
KENNY MOORE HOW IN THE WORLD— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 13, 2020
It was this incredibly athletic one-handed grab from Moore that kept the Raiders from putting up another 7 points and taking the lead.
The other major defensive play was an interception returned for a touchdown by Khari Willis in the fourth quarter to solidify the victory, if it hadn’t already been locked up.
The defense overall played well, but have shown an ability to play much stronger in some of their other games this year.
Offensively, I have been impressed for weeks now. Everything seems to be clicking at the right time for the offense with the playoffs just a few weeks away.
Philip Rivers has been nothing short of fantastic, especially recently where he has not been turning the ball over. Turnovers were a major concern about Rivers early on in the season, but he has been able to take care of the football and make really good decisions recently.
Since Week 6, Philip Rivers and the Colts' offense is:— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) December 16, 2020
— 5th in 20+ yd completions
— 5th in all-purpose yards
— 5th in 1st down %
— 6th in TD drives
— 7th in points
— 2nd-fewest QB pressures allowed (thank you, Oline)
To climb into the Top 10 minus Mack + Campbell = impressive.
The offense has been on fire for weeks now, and against the Raiders, they scored on all but one of their drives on Sunday if you exclude their two kneels to end the game.
TY Hilton continued his hot streak with another strong performance. His five catches counted for 86 yards and another two touchdowns.
Jonathan Taylor had his best game of the season with 150 rushing yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns of his own. He blasted through for a 62 yard rush in the third quarter that has been the talk of the game.
The offensive line gave Taylor so much space at the line of scrimmage, and Taylor took it to the house with his impressive speed. Getting Taylor going heading into the playoffs will be huge for this team.
The bottom line is that the offense could not have started to get hot at a better time. It feels like every player on the team knows their role and has the confidence that they can and will perform every single week.
I didn’t heat the Colts up last week because I was still bitter from the Titans loss, and the win over the Texans was not by any means convincing. I also wanted to see how they would perform against the Raiders because if they lost on Sunday, their playoff chances would be significantly smaller. This win proved to me that the Colts really can contend against any team in the NFL and I think all three of their final games are winnable. I am going to heat Indy up on the thermometer this week. I think they deserve it after this type of win and it feels as though if they play like they did this past Sunday, they will go 3-0 to end the season and potentially take the AFC South from the Titans. The Colts are home this Sunday against the Texans. Should be a good game to watch, but it should be a win for the Colts no matter how you look at it. Hopefully both sides of the ball, for the Colts, can continue their success.