Frank Reich Hot Seat Meter: 60% (The defense saved his behind this time, but the seat is still hot)
This defense has been dominant over the past 3 weeks. They capped off what very well might be the best 3 week stretch I have seen from a Colts’ defense in ages, and they faced some dangerous opponents, its not like they were going off against bottom tier teams and trash quarterbacks.
I mean the numbers speak for themselves, and it gets even more dominant when you exclude the drives where opponents were starting on the Colts’ side of the field, as they allowed just two touchdowns on such drives. What Gus Bradley did with this unit is remarkable, as the defensive line rotation is starting to work really well, with Buckner and Ngakoue starring, Grover Stewart and Kwity Paye taking some big steps forward, and depth players Odeyingbo, Odenigbo, and Banogu getting some productive snaps in. The linebacker room is even better, Bobby Okereke has made the leap and is solid not only in the running game but is also much improved in pass defense, Zaire Franklin has surprised and should still see consistent snaps once Leonard eventually returns (oh yeah, Bradley managed all this without his best defensive player). The secondary is as remarkable. We all knew that Gilmore was going to be good, as we are talking about a former DPOY of the year winner, but look at what he did with rookie 7th rounder Rodney Thomas, who played 100% of the snaps the past two weeks, and did so without skipping a beat. That is just good and proper coaching, so kudos all around to Gus Bradley for the coaching of this defense.
Once again, yikes. Everything I said for the defense, make it the exact opposite for the offense. This unit has been literally the worst in the entire NFL. No sustained drives, no blocking (pass or run), no creativity, not getting the playmakers open at all. Seriously, look at every positive play the Colts made on Thursday, it was just rookie receiver Alec Pierce catching contested passes. Putting Matt Pryor at right tackle was a terrible decision, as he managed to somehow look even worse on that side of the line, allowing 9 pressures (a single game high this season for offensive linemen, he should not be starting next Sunday no matter what). This is just abhorrent to look at. At least with Carson Wentz it was exciting, now it just seems like every single time the Colts get the ball I am amazed if they manage to get a first down. While I strongly dislike Reich, and think he should not be the head-coach of this team next season no matter what, I expect him to get it together and at least make this an average unit. Think about it, if the offense were at least below-average the first 5 weeks, we could very easily be sitting at 4-1 right now.
Overall, this was a really tough game to try and analyze, because the difference between defense and offense was just so evident. Basically the defense came out with a gameplan, and executed it to perfection, while the offense once again laid an egg. At the very least I expected offensive line coach Chris Strausser to get fired for such terrible performances, but he somehow managed to keep his job another week.