Reich Faith-Meter = 6.25/10
This was Reich’s best-called game this season, as I really struggled to find any clear mistakes from him and the coaching staff. Let’s just hope he can keep it up against tougher opponents and not fall back on the same mistakes that are a big reason why the Colts are 1-3.
Focusing the running game towards the left side
Eric Fisher and backup guard Chris Reed were excellent in the run game against the Dolphins. Against a tough front 7, no less. When running to the left the Colts did considerably better, so it was nice watching Reich recognize this and focus the running game towards the left side of the field. Once the offensive line gets back to full health, Reich will be able to balance out the run direction, but with Smith out, running to the right side is almost a lost cause.
Passing plays looking sharper
The passing game is starting to look a bit more polished as the season progresses and Wentz gets more reps in with his receivers. On Sunday there were some good-looking pass concepts, like the scissors route that resulted in a massive Zach Pascal catch, crisper routes in the redzone, and more open receivers.
Taking away the checkdown from JB
As we Colts fans know all too well, Jacoby Brissett loves checking the ball down either to the running back or a tight end, and after the first drive where the Colts defense gifted him those easy 4/5 yard passes, advancing little by little, the Colts defense made the proper adjustments and after the first three drives, the Dolphins went 5 drives with less than 10 yards gained and just one first down.
Leaving either a running back or a tight end to cover more
Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack, Mo Allie-Cox, and Kylen Granson combined for 10 pass-block snaps, compared to just 7 per game over the past two games. As a result of this added protection, and the benching of Julie’n Davenport (another great decision), Wentz looked more comfortable in the pocket and was able to have an efficient game passing the ball.
Benching Hines because of a special teams fumble
After the first Dolphins drive of the game stalled, Miami’s punter Michael Palardy booted a massive kick towards Nyheim Hines, who muffed it after apparently struggling to locate the ball properly in the air (after Jakeem Grant’s fumble in the same spot, my suspicion is that it was because of the sun). Reich decided he had seen enough, and seemed to bench Nyheim, who got just 2 carries and 2 targets after that. Hines then played the same snaps as Marlon Mack but got considerably fewer touches. When on the field, Nyheim has looked like the Colts' most explosive player and the perfect complement to Jonathan Taylor, so benching him in favor of a rusty Marlon Mack, who gained just 22 yards on 10 carries (with 12 of those on a single carry!), does not seem like the smartest choice.
Failing to double team DeVante Parker late in the game
This is just nitpicking, but considering how good DeVante Parker is at catching 50/50 balls or drawing penalties, and watching how he was torching either Isaiah Rodgers or Xavier Rhodes, I was surprised to see just how the Colts did not double team him, especially considering he was the only Dolphin doing damage. Once again, though, this is just nitpicking. Kudos to Reich and Eberflus for not underestimating the opponent and getting their first win of the season.