The game went back and fourth, it was competitive and the final few minutes of the game shaped up to make for an exciting finish. What we ended up getting is a result that was worse than any single loss we could have suffered. We’ll all be watching the injury report this week and I for one will be dreading what it might say. We have the Titans next week and this isn’t the way you want to go into your first divisional matchup.
Things started well
The Colts started the game with good field position, drove the ball down the field and got stopped at the one yard line on four straight plays.
Turnover on downs
The Bears had 4 turnovers on downs vs the Rams in week one. The Colts moved the ball just like the Bears. Hope they don't repeat everything else the Bears did last week. #ForTheShoe#LARvsIND#RamsHouse— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 19, 2021
via #NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/6HOJ6hg31X
A lot of fans will probably point to the decision to go for this one, especially given the final score. While that might be a fair criticism, I still like the decision Frank Reich made on this play. He believed in his offense and decided to be aggressive. Had the Colts punched this one in, they would have had a ton of confidence moving forward.
Ultimately, I like the decision even though I know the outcome of the game. I can live with a poor outcome because my coach made an aggressive decision and it failed far more than had he made a conservative decision that failed. Impossible to know what ripple effects this would have had either way, because of that, I’ll live with this one.
Great play design from the Rams
If I coached football at any level I would spend a lot of time every week studying Sean McVay’s offense. Here he gets Cooper Kupp in a one on one matchup with Khari Willis by lining Kupp, up as a running back before the snap. Khari Willis is a nice player but he isn’t someone you want to rely on in man coverage against one of the best route runners in the world. Kupp gave Willis a double move and Khari probably still isn’t exactly sure what happened to him but Cooper Kupp got in for his first touchdown of the day.
I will not accept Carson Wentz slander after today’s game (for at least a week)
Carson Wentz had a great day as a Colts quarterback. Anyone who tells you otherwise; A. didn’t watch the game. B. doesn’t understand football at an even basic level. C. is lying because they’re an Eagles fan and the need Carson Wentz to play poorly. D. is trying to get Colts fans to react angrily, also known as, trolling.
Another bright spot today was Michael Pittman Jr.. He emerged today as a consistent, tough receiver who could be counted on in multiple ways. Pittman had career highs in targets (12), receptions (8) and yards (123). Had the outcome been different his performance would have been what people were talking about in this one.
Colts on the board. Glad we took the points. They were lucky to be in field goal range after Wentz to Pittman Jr. bailed them out. #ForTheShoe#LARvsIND#RamsHouse— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 19, 2021
via #NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/iO5tXdxWj0
Rodrigo Blankenship truly kept us in this game, especially early.
Signs of a pass rush
Tyquon Lewis is someone Colts fans have all been waiting for to become an impact player. The defense had its fair share of struggles today but Lewis caused this interception by getting some inside penetration, getting a hand up and deflecting this ball at the line. It’s tough to tell given this camera angle, on replay from an end zone angle, it was apparent that Lewis got just enough of the ball to make it float high and into the waiting arms of Khari Willis, whose day started rough but obviously improved on this one.
I’m going to celebrate this play for a while
I told everyone the Colts should look to run a similar play where they wham block Aaron Donald. Frank Reich and the Colts offensive staff agreed. From this week’s Opponent Scouting Report:
Using his aggressiveness against him pic.twitter.com/AR0G160Nb5— Not Chris Shepherd's Burner Account (@NotShepsBurner) September 15, 2021
Here the Bears target Donald and you can see he believes a trap coming, no one touched him and the ball carrier is coming his way. On a normal trap block the right guard would have pulled to his left to try and kick Donald out of the hole. You see Donald start to square up to try to keep from getting pushed out. Instead Donald gets whammed from behind and instead of going inside of him, the run was designed to go outside of Donald. Wham concepts that target Donald and use his quickness and aggressive nature against him, could pay dividends.
Jonathan Taylor went the opposite direction, he still picked up a nice gain but the play was blocked to go the other direction. Either way the Colts saw the Bears do this last week and tried to exploit Aaron Donald in the same way. I really like the fact that they tried to run at Aaron Donald as he struggled against the run in week one. He did better this week but I like that the Colts tried to break his will, early.
Don’t worry Aaron Donald fans, we all recognize he’s amazing
Here Donald, somehow, seems to recognize what play concept the Colts are running. He sees the guard pulling around him, sees Wentz look to pitch the ball, has the awareness to get his hands on Doyle as a result it slows Doyle down, his feet get tangled and he hits the ground. This is a timing play for Wentz, he pitched the ball where he should have but it was impossible for him to know that Aaron Donald made it impossible for Jack Doyle to get to his spot. What results is a Carson Wentz interception.
Colts defense gets a third down stop
When the pass rush was “on” the Colts defense looks really effective. I haven’t figured out exactly when they’re “on” when they are and why they seem to be “off” most of the time but my best guess at this point is that it’s a personnel issue.
Closing out the half
The Colts did a good job getting into field goal range and giving Rodrigo Blankenship a chance to drop the Rams lead to four points before the half.
I’ve never done halftime highlights but this week it seemed fitting. The Colts had a halftime ceremony for a couple of all time greats. I don’t have video clips but here are a few of the pictures I have access to:
Call me crazy but Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James still look like they can play.
Edge’s bust is absolutely perfect.
You guys think Peyton could suit up next week? We might need him.
The first drive of the second half
This was the exact opposite of what the Colts needed to do to start the second half.— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 19, 2021
Also Muhammad is struggling to set any kind of edge on the left side. pic.twitter.com/dqBXgGjjgK
I won’t pretend I thought the Colts had any chance to keep this game competitive after I saw this drive to start the second half.
The offensive line was bad
The biggest takeaway from this play is that the Colts offensive line was bad, again, today. The other takeaway is how was this not a flag? This was a third down play. The Colts would go on to punt. The Colts defense came out and got a stop on the Rams next drive. After getting the ball back, it seemed like Carson Wentz flipped a switch.
Wentz wanted to win
MPJ, once again
Seeing Wentz connect with Pittman Jr. felt like we were seeing the first signs of a fun duo.
We were so close to not taunting him but we just couldn’t help ourselves
Losing Kenny Young was far more costly for the Rams than losing those five yards were for the Colts.
Zach Pascal just catches TD’s
I didn’t think Zach Pascal would end up being the guy that the Colts went to in the end zone this year but through two weeks Pascal has three touchdowns.
Great play from Jack Doyle here
The ball got tipped and Jack Doyle just went up, got the ball and forced his way into the end zone. This is a stereotypical Jack Doyle play- he didn’t use superior athleticism, he wasn’t really the guy the quarterback wanted to throw the ball to but he out-fought the defender for the ball and then he proceeded to make a play no one thought he should have been able to make. It’s hard not to like Jack Doyle.
It felt like things were starting to turn in the Colts favor
Al-Quadin Muhammad struggled against the run today but it didn’t keep him from winning on this sack. It was a great play against a good tackle that helped set the stage for the second, three and out the Colts defense had forced in a row.
At this point the Colts were getting the ball back and everything seemed to be going their way. That promptly stopped with the Colts own three and out. But then the Colts defense came back out and forced another three and out.
Then, this happened
I cannot begin to describe how amazing this play is, how did the personal protector not get out of the way? Just how? I guess I really don’t care as it resulted in a touchdown and the first lead of the day for our Colts.
All good play must come to an end
The Rams were back up by three but it felt like Carson Wentz was going to be able to drive back down the field. Sure enough Wentz went out and did just that.
Then we got yet another quarterback hurt
Carson Wentz' ankle takes a nasty turn after Aaron Donald rips him to the ground. pic.twitter.com/ChjIgulcMU— The GIF Guy (@IHaveFourBalls) September 19, 2021
I don’t have anything to say about this play. On the next snap the Colts kicked a field goal and tied the game at 24 apiece. The Rams got into field goal range, made the kick and then Jacob Eason saw his first snaps as a professional quarterback.
It didn’t go well
But hey, there’s always second down, amirite?
There would be no third down
No part of me wanted to see Jacob Eason throw another pass, but Frank Reich was trying to win the game and the only chance he had at all was if he let Eason keep throwing.
I’m just going to show you all of the Eason attempts just so I cover his performance as completely as possible.
He got a completion here but he floated the ball and it came out late. Michael Pittman Jr. is a big guy but he took an unneeded hit.
The fifth and final attempt
Nyhiem Hines was a block or two away from breaking this one for a game winning play. It didn’t end up working but it was a good try in an all but impossible situation.
The loss wasn’t really that disappointing. It wasn’t that unexpected. These Rams figure to be Super Bowl contenders and while I think most Colts fans believed this would be a playoff team if everything went according to plan, I don’t think most of us believed they would be on the same tier as the Los Angles Rams, not this year anyway.
This is the most disappointing part:
Once again the Colts have gotten another quarterback injured because they failed to protect him in the pocket. Of all the disappointing things for a Colts fan, this is the most disappointing of all. #ForTheShoe#LARvsIND#RamsHouse— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 19, 2021
One final request for the week:
So are we going to all agree that #EasonSZN is finally dead?— Chris Shepherd (@NFLscheme) September 19, 2021
Is it too much to expect everyone who, for some reason, believed Eason was going to be a revelation at the position to stop talking about the guy?
He's young. He could get better. But it's not #EasonSZN#ForTheShoe
I’m begging you.