After an embarrassing home loss against divisional rival Tennessee on Sunday, the Colts had a lot of proving to do. While their dominant-ish primetime performance on Thursday night is a good start, there is still much to be done.
The biggest theme of the game is that the Colts' offense started five-for-five on offensive possessions resulting in touchdowns. One consistent theme throughout was a heavy reliance on the running game and domination in the trenches by the offensive line. Indianapolis set the current season record for rushing yards in a game with 261 yards.
Leading the way was Jonathan Taylor with 172 yards on 19 carries with touchdowns. He added 28 receiving yards to get to 200 all-purpose yards in the game. Backfield mate Nyheim Hines rushed for 74 yards on just six carries, including a career-long 34-yard rushing touchdown. He caught four passes for 34 yards to get over the century-mark on offense.
Joining them as a major offensive producer was Michael Pittman Jr. with five receptions for 64 yards and another touchdown. He has been on a roll and in his second season and continues to ascend as one of the league’s most dominant receivers.
In the first half, the Colts defense was joining in on the fun. The New York Jets weren’t able to get anything going on the ground and there was regular pressure on Week 8 darling Mike White, who suffered an injury to his throwing arm that led to an early exit.
Speaking of Colts’ start playmakers, Darius Leonard is on fire forcing turnovers. His master of the “Peanut punch” has been impressive to witness this season. It’s difficult to imagine how much better Leonard could get this season if he could get fully healthy.
The downside of this performance is that the Colts defense consistently loses its killer instinct while playing with a lead. Too often this season, this had led to unfathomable collapses. There is a weakness in the zone-heavy concepts that opponents are able to regularly exploit. It has been way too easy for tight ends to feast in short areas of the field.
It’s sad to feel that allowing three straight Jets touchdown drives in the second half is a blemish on an otherwise dominant performance. Mike White, a backup, and Josh Johnson, who is his backup, threw for 412 combined yards and four touchdowns with only one late-game interception to close things out.
The Colts will get a bit of an extended break after the short week to continue getting some work done. If they cash in against the Jacksonville Jaguars, they’ll get their record to .500 in time to face the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in back-to-back weeks.